On 2022’s Album Of The Year-nominated Un Verano Sin Ti, the iconoclastic Puerto Rican reggaetonero dabbled ably in dream pop, dembow, dub reggae, merengue and whatever other genre came to hand. His creative abandon reflected that of a bedroom producer, rather than one of the biggest stars in the world with everyone watching him.
This all makes perfect sense, because Bad Bunny is still a completely independent artist. Whatever it is — adventures into norteño-cumbia, donning a backless white suit with a train and body jewelry, or professional wrestling — el conejo malo will pull it off. Bad Bunny is clearly on a new level and in his new album Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, out today, he declares: “Ya no estoy en mi peak, ahora estoy en mi prime” (I’m no longer at my peak, now I’m in my prime.)
Clearly, he knows he can do whatever he wants and how to do it. Bad Bunny’s fifth record is a look at what happens when he confidently embraces this freedom. Here are five takeaways from Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana.
Bad Bunny might have killed the crossover (he at least called it in a recent interview with Vanity Fair). He was never interested in being a “crossover” superstar, singing in English and tailoring his style for non-Latin audiences, even on his own terms. Instead, he created a new mold for a global pop star. He established himself quickly on the international scene as music’s enigmatic trickster hero, the pure embodiment of chaotic good, and used his music as a plaything — a tool for creating chaos of genre, gender and language, in essence a toy.
Yet it never seems like he’s chasing a trend: With Un Verano Sin Ti he made a Latin indie album and on El último Tour Del Mundo he rocked out and made an emo rap album with exquisite tropigoth flourishes. On Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, Bad Bunny returns confidently to his roots in Latin trap, having played the major role in raising the genre’s global profile. He brought the entire scene to join him on the album from the OGs Arcángel and De La Ghetto, to newcomer Young Miko. This time around he’s mixing in drill, Jersey club and other electronic beats.
As the album title nonchalantly states, no one knows what will happen tomorrow, but if you are looking for clues, the latest Bad Bunny album is a good place to start. So, keep your ear to the ground for Latin drill. From its birthplace in Chicago to its spread to South Korea, drill is quickly becoming the lingua franca of youth — and that includes the Spanish speaking world.
Benito would have to at least dip a toe in, but “No Me Quiero Casar” finds him diving straight into frigid synths and a rumbling drill beat. “Mr. October,” with its jackhammer production and horror-movie vibes, is also squarely in that cold blooded vein. Like everyone else who takes up the menacing mantle, he seems to find it cathartic.