Bad Bunny will not compromise.
The Puerto Rican rapper is on the new cover of GQ, and in the issue he opens up about everything from starring in a movie with Brad Pitt to staying true to himself amid his rise to global stardom.
“I was never on a mission to be like, Oh, this is what I’m going to do,” Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, says. “It happened organically. Like, I’ve never made a song saying, ‘This is going to go worldwide.’ I never made a song thinking, Man, this is for the world. This is to capture the gringo audience. Never. On the contrary, I make songs as if only Puerto Ricans were going to listen to them. I still think I’m there making music, and it’s for Puerto Ricans. I forget the entire world listens to me.”
As a Latino artist, Bad Bunny has also blazed a trail by infiltrating the American mainstream despite sticking to Spanish-language recording.
“The Latino audience would always undervalue their artist,” he says of past Latin pop success. “Sometimes, Latinos would want to record with an American, and because they’re American, they’d think, I have to do it. No, man. He’s not at the level I am, you know? Just because they’re American. But that perspective has changed. You can see it now. People have become aware. They suddenly see, ‘Wow, Bad Bunny has been the most listened to on Spotify for 70 days. It wasn’t the American. It’s this guy, who’s Latino.’”
Bad Bunny is also socially conscious, bringing a feminist point of view to songs like “Yo Perreo Sola” (“I Dance Alone”), whose lyrics take a stand against sexual harassment and abuse of women.
“Latino culture is very machista,” he explains. “So, that’s why I think everything that I’ve done has been even more shocking…. Urban Latin music, reggaeton, is a genre where you have to be the manliest, the baddest. That’s why it’s the most shocking, too.”
Sometimes, he says, people think that if you’re a reggaeton artist, you have to act or dress a certain way. “But why? If I dress this way, I can’t sing this way? Or if I dress like this, I can’t listen to this type of music?”
Amid all the success in music, Bad Bunny has ventured into acting, appearing in the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico”. Next up, he’s starring in the action movie “Bullet Train” with Brad Pitt.
“Brad Pitt was super fire,” he says. “Sometimes, during filming, they’d yell ‘Cut!’ and I would think, What the f**k. I’m here with Brad Pitt!”
Last month, he was also announced to play Spider-Man villain El Muerto, becoming the first Latin Marvel character to get their very own stand-alone live-action film.
“Maybe, for some people, it’s different in that the higher they go, the less pressure they feel, because maybe they’re confident that everything they do will be a success,” Bad Bunny says. “But I’m the opposite—the more I acquire an audience, the more I go up, the more pressure.”