In the first three years of his nascent career, Bad Bunny put out enough singles and did enough guest features to fill out several albums. As an audition for pop superstardom, it’s been impressive. He can adapt to seemingly any style—trap, R&B, reggaetón, bachata, dembow—with a heavy, nasal croon perpetually drenched in Auto-Tune. He became a huge star in 2018, circumventing terrestrial radio and government censorship to become the third-most streamed artist in the world on YouTube. Why does Bad Bunny even need to release an album?
In some ways, X 100PRE (a stylization of “por siempre” or “forever”) presents a new Bad Bunny, a bellwether for the new stars of urbano. Like his contemporaries J Balvin and Daddy Yankee, he’s refused to pick a lane or to repress parts of himself that might seem antithetical to an urbano audience historically resistant to deviations from traditional masculinity. He bucks gender norms (wearing cutoff shorts and nail polish) and uses his massive platform to decry domestic violence. With X 100PRE, we’re finally able to see all of these sides of Bad Bunny in a singular statement.
Free of bloated posse cuts and seven-minute remixes, X 100PRE’s guests are expertly calculated. There’s an absolutely filthy low-slung trap beat from global gentrifier Diplo (“200MPH”), a hook in Spanish from Drake (“MÍA”), a hookah-bar anthem with Dominican dembow don El Alfa (“La Romana”), and even a secret cameo from Latin music’s ultimate crossover artist, Ricky Martin (“Caro”). He’s also parted ways with DJ Luian and Hear This Music, who were instrumental in helping him bridge the gap between the reggaetón OGs and the new-school Latin trap artists. DJ Luian may have helped catapult Bad Bunny from the SoundCloud underground to the YouTube mainstream, but he also prevented him from making an album. Upon X100PRE’s release, he told Beats 1 he “never had the support” to do an LP. It’s a little crazy to think that, even as we witnessed Bad Bunny’s incredible pre-album run, we were watching an artist who felt like he was being held back.
|A1||NI BIEN NI MAL||3:56|
|A3||¿Quién Tú Eres?||2:39|
|B1||Tenemos Que Hablar||3:44|
|B2||Otra Noche en Miami||3:53|
|B4||Si Estuviésemos Juntos||2:49|
|C1||Solo de Mí||3:17|