It will be an understatement to name Puerto Rican city music phenomenon Unhealthy Bunny (born Benito Martinez Ocasio) a widely known artist. Along with his final blockbuster album “Un Verano Sin Ti” rating Billboard’s No. 1 hottest in 2022, Martinez Ocasio has come a good distance from his first track on Soundcloud in 2016.
And but, on the top of his fame, el conejo malo appeared to stumble from grace. From a viral video displaying him tossing a fan’s cellphone away to his controversial relationship with vogue mannequin and so-called tequila culture-vulture Kendall Jenner, Martinez Ocasio turned the guts of quite a few controversies over the previous yr. The scandals had the Web abuzz about dropping Unhealthy Bunny’s music, with some “switching” to that of hit regional Mexican singer Peso Pluma.
However possibly we shouldn’t pivot away from Unhealthy Bunny simply but. Such a substitution flagrantly dismisses the decades-long politically charged histories of each reggaeton and corridos tumbados.
Moreover, Unhealthy Bunny continues to be up and kicking. His Oct. 13 launch, “nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana” (“no person is aware of what is going to occur tomorrow”), contests public opinion and calls again to the darker movement and cheeky swagger of his early entice roots. Its ample 22 tracks lean on this style to discover themes of intercourse, fame, heartbreak and the streets.
On this sense, the album feels acquainted. It accommodates all the identical archetypes we all know and love from Unhealthy Bunny’s previous discography: angsty rants directed at previous lovers, sexual bars set to sultry melodies, bittersweet reflections on progress and assured going-out bops that mainly command you to shake your hips.
In different methods, although, “nadie” is definitely a departure from his earlier launch, worldwide smash hit “Un Verano Sin Ti.” Songs like “Monaco,” “Mr. October” and “Telefono Nuevo” ooze with braggadocio over catchy entice hi-hats and lend this mission a far darker sound than that of its predecessor.
Drill-trap newcomer YOVNGCHIMI joins in to create a daring impression on “Mercedes Carota,” rapping in regards to the energy dynamics of the streets. Menacing cackles punctuate flashy bars; the question-response refrain has the singers dismissing an imaginary third individual for not exercising authority by way of medication, dying or cash. These cocky tracks make for an energizing hear, and so they turned a few of my favorites on “nadie.”
Then again, the “unhappy Bunny” songs on the album don’t fairly measure as much as Martinez-Ocasio’s earlier classics like “Solo de Mi,” “Soy Peor” or “Vete.” Maybe these new songs lack a harder-hitting message, or maybe his flows merely don’t handle to seize the emotion of angst in the identical approach. (The exception to that could be “Gracias Por Nada,” which did transfer my chilly coronary heart to some emotion.)
Equally, the album’s introduction “Nadie Sabe” additionally lacks catchiness and relatability — although possibly that wasn’t the objective with this one specifically.
Martinez Ocasio opens by plainly lamenting sure poisonous parts of his fame, organising an fascinating context for what follows. In gentle of the artist’s discontent, this album’s return to his 2016 entice sound virtually seems like a small gesture of resistance to the worldwide industrial success he earned by way of his reggaeton albums. In any case, Unhealthy Bunny had established his prowess because the king of the Latin entice scene lengthy earlier than “Tití Me Preguntó” was normal faculty get together fare.
However concern not, reggaeton followers — the album’s 81-minute period makes loads of house for a broad palette of sound and power. Strong reggaeton gems pepper the mission. “Perro Negro” is an irresistable bouncing perreíto, and “Hibiki” virtually begs you sing alongside boisterously.
Admittedly, reggaeton gradual jam “Seda” struck me as a lyrically creepier model of Martinez Ocasio’s 2022 hit “Aguacero.” I most popular the extra nonchalant seductive rap observe “VOU 787,” which crafts an elegant beat by sampling Madonna’s “Vogue.”
One of many strongest bops on the album is “Fina,” a coquettish tune that includes rising queer reggaetonera Younger Miko. Between Miko’s signature hoarse movement and intelligent bars from Unhealthy Bunny, there’s a lot to like.
Apparently, although the refrain on “Fina” calls again to reggaeton big Tego Calderón, this album continues Unhealthy Bunny’s shift towards that includes youthful up-and-coming city musicians. Whereas his 2020 mission used copious collaborations with reggaeton founders as an example his rise to stardom, he paves the way in which for others on “nadie.”
Fan backlash however, Martinez Ocasio did safe a chart-topping debut for “nadie,” demonstrating that this bunny is able to bouncing again. A breakdown of public picture does appear inevitable for a lot of celebrities lately, be it over a petty squabble or a deeply regarding sample of abuse. In each circumstances, we should always strategy the parasocial cycle of “stan, scandal, repeat” with warning.
In circumstances like that of Unhealthy Bunny and Peso Pluma, our conversations about artist accountability should keep away from treating these from marginalized communities and genres as disposable, interchangeable commodities.
Editor’s Observe: This text is a assessment and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.