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Bad Bunny: "If I Have The Chance To Say Something, I Will Say It"

Bad Bunny

Photo: Gladys Vega/Getty Images

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Bad Bunny: "If I Have The Chance To Say Something, I Will Say It"

A new profile in GQ highlights the Latin Trap artist's outspoken side

GRAMMYs/Mar 21, 2019 - 02:42 am

Latin trap star Bad Bunny is well into his X100PRE Tour, but a GQ story published Wednesday, March 20 finds him in Puerto Rico immediately prior to bringing his Spanish-language hits across the U.S. 

Throughout the interview, Bad Bunny, born Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, gets into how he hoped his fans would receive the genre eclecticism on his debut album and reminisces about how people saw his bold, eye-catching style when he was coming up.

"When I arrived, at first a lot of people were like, ‘This kid is different,’ ” he tells writer Isabelia Herrera. He also gets deeper into the part of his identity expression that challenges gender norms, including his love of manicures and coin-sized golden hoop earrings. Puerto Rico, where he is from, is not exempt from experiencing machismo culture. It's to the point where he risks making a huge statement, even if he only slightly challenges gender norms.

“There's people that appreciate what I do; there's people that criticize it,” he says. “There's people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There's others that say I'm an opportunist,” he says.

RELATED: How Bad Bunny Is Putting Latin Trap On The Map

Beyond identity, Bad Bunny also talks about the responsibility he feels to use his platform to bring awareness to the socio-economic issues happening in Puerto Rico. 

"Three years ago, I was a citizen like anyone else, and I felt the country's problems just like anyone else," he says. “When the gas prices would go up, I'd scream about it like anyone else; when they'd raise the [expressway] tolls, I'd yell, too. I was broke enough that I depended on scholarships to be able to study. I see the problems up close, and they affect me just the same, because these are people I love.”

But he understands his limits. He continues: "If I have the chance to say something, I will say it—but that doesn't obligate me to always say something, or to shed light on every problem, as if I were a lawmaker."

Read the whole profile on GQ.

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Lizzo, Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and More Celebrate 2023 GRAMMYs Wins on Social Media
Lizzo

Photo: Timothy Norris / Stringer / Getty Images

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Lizzo, Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and More Celebrate 2023 GRAMMYs Wins on Social Media

Following the 2023 GRAMMYs, artists including Lizzo, Beyoncé, Kim Petras, reacted and shared award-winning moments from Music’s Biggest Night on social media.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 07:50 pm

Following the 2023 GRAMMYs, artists including Lizzo, Beyoncé, Kim Petras, and more shared award-winning moments from Music’s Biggest Night with the fans that made their careers possible.

Catch up on the 2023 GRAMMY Awards atlive.GRAMMY.com, where you can watch all of the 2023 GRAMMYs highlights in one place, including GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live red carpet special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, behind-the-scenes backstage moments, and much, much more.

Lizzo

Lizzo honors the legends that came before her ground-breaking ‘Special’ GRAMMY win for Album of the Year.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis makes her younger-self proud with her EGOT-making GRAMMY win.

Kim Petras

Kim Petras makes GRAMMY history with an important first, winning Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for ‘Unholy’ with Sam Smith.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny shares thanks and appreciation for his 2023 GRAMMY wins with fans.

Samara Joy

First-time GRAMMY-winner Samara Joy celebrates tearfully with her fans live on Instagram.

Beyoncé

Queen Beyoncé poses with her 2023 GRAMMY wins that make her the most GRAMMY-winning artist of all time.

10 Must-See Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs: Beyoncé Makes History, Hip-Hop Receives An Epic Tribute, Bad Bunny Brings The Puerto Rican Heat
Beyoncé accepting her 32nd GRAMMY at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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10 Must-See Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs: Beyoncé Makes History, Hip-Hop Receives An Epic Tribute, Bad Bunny Brings The Puerto Rican Heat

The 2023 GRAMMYs marked a triumphant — and historic — return to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena, where modern superstars and living legends came together for a memorable celebration of music in all its forms.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 03:20 pm

A wide, uplifting tapestry of sounds was saluted and rewarded during the 2023 GRAMMYs. The telecast's pluralistic approach delivered a view of the present as a time of musical splendor while also celebrating its past — from hip-hop's legacy, to Latin's cultural influence, to pop's boundary-pushing stars.

Between history-making wins from Beyoncé and Kim Petras, a major victory by a young jazz sensation, and celebratory performances honoring greats, there was plenty to be reveled both on and off the GRAMMY stage. Below, take a look at the highlights of another memorable edition of Music's Biggest Night.

Bad Bunny Sticks Close To His Caribbean Roots

After global star Bad Bunny celebrated a year of extraordinary achievements — both artistic and commercial — the Puerto Rican tastemaker used his GRAMMYs performance to celebrate his Caribbean roots.

Benito could have picked an obvious selection, like the crowd-pleasing single "Tití Me Preguntó." Instead, he focused on the soulful roots of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic by performing electrifying renditions of "El Apagón" and "Después de la Playa." 

Bad Bunny has demonstrated time and again a gift for reinventing Latin genres. And yet, "Después de la Playa" kept its insanely syncopated beats and feverish brass section faithful to traditional merengue. The late Dominican icon Johnny Ventura would have been proud.

The Fans Receive A Much-Deserved Spotlight

The awards, record deals and critical raves are indispensable elements of stardom. But in the end, it is the contributions of average fans that sustain a career. With that in mind, the GRAMMYs organized a roundtable with 10 studious fans, each making a case for their favorite performer to win the Album Of The Year award. 

To their delight — and genuine surprise — host Trevor Noah invited them on stage for the coveted award, asking one of the most devoted fans in Harry Styles' pack to announce his win. The two shared a joyous embrace before she handed him his golden gramophone, serving as a touching closing reminder that the fans mean everything.

The Magic Of Motown Becomes Transformational

A brisk tribute to Motown co-founder Berry Gordy and musical genius Smokey Robinson — three songs, augmented by an inspired Stevie Wonder — proved that words will never be enough to capture the label's contribution to pop culture. A factory of beautiful dreams, Motown gave us a string of timeless hits that combine aural poetry with propulsive rhythms, honeyed hooks and virtuoso arrangements. Seeing the 82 year-old Robinson perform the 1967 classic "The Tears of a Clown" was one of the evening's most dazzling moments. (The performance also featured Wonder's rendition of the Temptations' "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and a duet with country singer Chris Stapleton on Wonder's own "Higher Ground.")

Honoring The Past Shows The Future Is Bright

2022 was a year of artistic triumph, but also of tremendous loss. The In Memoriam segment of the telecast was sobering, also honoring performers who are lesser known in the United States but definitely worthy of a mention — such as Brazil's Erasmo Carlos and Argentina's Marciano Cantero

It began with a stately rendition of "Coal Miner's Daughter" by Kacey Musgraves in tribute to country legend Loretta Lynn, then continued with Quavo and Maverick City Music honoring Migos' Takeoff, ending with an homage to Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie from Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt and Mick Fleetwood. Many artists were lost during the past 12 months, but their music lives on.

A Queen Breaks Records — To A Disco Beat

Beyoncé was allegedly stuck in traffic when she won her third GRAMMY of the evening — Best R&B Song for the joyful single "CUFF IT" — which, as Trevor Noah noted, put her one win away from making GRAMMY history. Luckily, by the time her name was announced for that record-setting feat, she was in attendance — and very much in shock.

Her seventh studio LP, RENAISSANCE, won Best Dance/Electronic Album. The win put her GRAMMY total at 32, marking the most wins of all time. Visibly emotional, Beyoncé first took a deep breath and said "I'm trying to just receive this night"; before heading off stage, she made sure to honor the queer dance pioneers who inspired the album, an exuberant tribute to classic dance format. 

Hip-Hop Shines As A National Treasure

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop — so, naturally, the GRAMMYs put together perhaps the most legendary celebration possible. Featuring the Roots, Run-DMC, Queen Latifah, and many, many more, the nearly 15-minute performance highlighted the genre's influence from past to present.

The parade of legends tracing the history of the genre was breathtaking. From Grandmaster Flash ("The Message") and De La Soul ("Buddy") to Missy Elliott ("Lose Control") and Lil Uzi Vert ("Just Wanna Rock"), the extensive medley gave hip-hop its rightful place of honor as the most compelling musical movement of the past 50 years.

The Art Of Songwriting Stands The Test Of Time

One of the show's most endearing images was the utter shock on Bonnie Raitt's face when she was announced as the winner of the Song Of The Year GRAMMY — perhaps because her competition featured the likes of Beyoncé, Adele and Harry Styles. "This is an unreal moment," she said. "The Academy has given me so much support, and appreciates the art of songwriting as much as I do." 

In retrospect, Raitt's win shouldn't surprise anyone who is aware of her superb musicianship — and her 15 GRAMMYs to show for it. A rootsy, vulnerable song, "Just Like That" is the title track of her eighteenth studio album; the song also took home the GRAMMY for Best American Roots Song earlier in the evening.

Lizzo Dedicates Her Grammy Win to Prince (And Beyoncé)

By the time Record Of The Year was announced, the prodigiously gifted Lizzo had already brought the GRAMMY house down with rousing performances of the funky "About Damn Time" and the anthemic "Special." But clearly the best was yet to come, as the former track took home one of the night's biggest honors.

As Lizzo began her speech, she paid homage to Prince, who both served as an idol and a mentor to the star. "When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music," she said, going on to explain that while she first felt misunderstood for her relentless positivity, mainstream music has begun to accept it — as evidenced by her win for "About Damn Time." 

Before leaving the stage, she made sure to give one more idol a shout-out: Beyoncé. "You changed my life," Lizzo said, reflecting on seeing the "BREAK MY SOUL" singer when she was in 5th grade. "You sang that gospel medley, and the way you made me feel, I was like, 'I wanna make people feel this way with my music.' So thank you so much."

It only takes one listen to the wondrous voice of young Bronx singer Samara Joy to understand that she follows the same path once walked by Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Joy's second album, Linger Awhile, includes atmospheric versions of such classic nuggets as "Misty," "'Round Midnight" and "Someone To Watch Over Me." 

The rising star was already a winner going into the telecast, as Joy took home the golden gramophone for Best Jazz Vocal Album in the Premiere Ceremony. But when she beat out mainstream hitmakers like Latto, Anitta and Måneskin for the coveted Best New Artist GRAMMY, Joy not only set her place in the jazz firmament — it hinted that the genre may be ripe for a revival.

The Pop Concept Album Lives On

It's not only the stunning beauty of its melodies, and the pristine warmth of the production. Harry's House is a special album partly because of its vaguely conceptual sheen — the pervasive feeling that the 13 songs within are interconnected, an intimate journey into the singer's creative soul. 

At the telecast, Styles performed an ethereal reading of his luminous mega-hit "As It Was." His well-deserved win for Album Of The Year confirmed that it's perfectly valid to mix accessible pop with a sophisticated unifying theme — and if you do it really right, you may just win a GRAMMY.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Watch Bad Bunny Win Best Música Urbana Album For 'Un Verano Sin Ti' | 2023 GRAMMYs
Photo of Bad Bunny winning the GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Watch Bad Bunny Win Best Música Urbana Album For 'Un Verano Sin Ti' | 2023 GRAMMYs

Bad Bunny won a GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album For 'Un Verano Sin Ti' at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 02:22 am

Bad Bunny won the GRAMMY for Best Música Urbana Album for 'Un Verano Sin Ti' at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Rauw Alejandro, Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee, Farruko, and Maluma were the other nominees in the prestigious category.

Watch Bad Bunny's speech below, and listen to music from all of the nominees on our official Amazon Music playlist.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Bad Bunny Brings the Heat With A Performance Of Two Songs From 'Un Verano Sin Ti' | 2023 GRAMMYs
Photo of Bad Bunny performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Bad Bunny Brings the Heat With A Performance Of Two Songs From 'Un Verano Sin Ti' | 2023 GRAMMYs

The Puerto Rican mega-star brought a slice of his homeland to the 2023 GRAMMYs stage with a pair of tracks from his latest album, 'Un Verano Sin Ti,' which made history as the first Spanish-language album nominated for Album Of The Year.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 02:16 am

Bad Bunny kicked off the 2023 GRAMMYs by bringing a bit of Puerto Rico straight into the Crypto.com Arena.

The rapper/singer chose a pair of songs from his GRAMMY-nominated album, Un Verano Sin Ti, that cleverly share the joy and reality of life in his homeland. First came a section of "El Apagón," a song that celebrates the spirit of Puerto Rico while balancing that joy with sly references to the island's broken infrastructure, including the blackouts of the title. Bunny led a parade march down the center of the arena, complete with papier mache-headed dancers.

Bad Bunny then cranked up the heat for "Después de la Playa," the full merengue band getting the likes of Taylor Swift and Jack Harlow out of their seats. Once the gleaming horn section kicked in, the whole arena shifted, palm trees and sunset framing the increasing number of singers. Clad in a white T-shirt and jeans, Bunny looked right at home, leading the Arena on an ebullient journey.

Initially hailed as a crossover success, Bunny's ability to win over audiences around the world — while retaining the core of his identity and continuing to deliver songs in Spanish — has become something far greater. His fourth record, Un Verano Sin Ti, shot up the charts in a handful of countries upon its May 2022 debut, landing at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the US — the second of Bunny's records to hit that mark, and only the second all-Spanish language album to do so.

With more than 2 million copies sold, the album has also gone down as one of the best-selling non-English releases in US history. And with "Después de la Playa" and "El Apagón" as the album's 4th and 8th singles respectively, Bunny clearly had plenty of options for this performance, making the perfect union here that much more impressive.

Un Verano Sin Ti helped the Puerto Rican superstar add three more GRAMMY nominations to his resume, as the album is nominated for both Best Música Urbana Album and the highly coveted Album Of The Year, while the record's second single, "Moscow Mule," will vie for Best Pop Solo Performance.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.