Review of Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG

Latin Trap hasn’t just been around since Cardi B’s “I Like It.” Puerto Rican artists like Arcangel and De La Ghetto have been combining reggaeton with down south beats since the mid-2000s. Since the end of the 2010s, however, this music has reached a new audience. Bad Bunny has released the biggest key work of this wave so far: “YHLQMDLG”, “Yo hago lo que me da la gana” (in English. “I do what I want”). A boy wearing a white cap with round Mickey Mouse ears leads through all music videos and visuals of the album. The opener “Si Veo a Tu Mamá” tells of lovesickness in the times of the followers: “I didn’t delete your photo, I just put it on private”, sings Bad Bunny. In the video, the boy with the earmuffs stops a man from committing suicide. An unusual introduction. For most of its running time “YHLQMDLG” is a party album. It’s about off-whites and champion sweaters, good sex and good weed.

Bad Bunny makes statements apart from his lyrics – in the Jimmy Fallon show he wore the name of Alexa Negrón on his T-shirt, a Puerto Rican woman who had been murdered shortly before out of hostility towards transgression. In contrast to the debut album “X 100PRE” and the J-Balvin collabo “Oasis”, the trap elements have been pushed into the background. On “YHLQMDLG” Bad Bunny deals with reggaeton – not in the form of generic summer hits, as one associates them with the genre in this country, but with genre-historical, experimental productions. With a Dembow rhythm, “A Tu Merced” pays tribute to the roots of reggaeton in Jamaica. On “Soliá” Bad Bunny’s characteristically necessary singing becomes a polyphonic choir through vocoder effects, in between a synthesizer can be heard, which sounds like a detuned flute. This has nothing to do with “Gasolina”, although Daddy Yankee is also represented on “YHLQMDLG” – and everyone else who is famous in Puerto Rico. English language features? Nada. Bad Bunny really does what he wants. On a 20-station tracklist, the reggaeton rhythm might get boring at times, despite the versatile production. But that’s not the point at all, as “Safaera” proves with almost ten beat-switches, Bob Marley as well as Missy Elliott dies of thirst and leads randomly through the history of the genre in five minutes. “YHLQMDLG” is the spotify version of a reggaeton megamix – and a very good album to boot.

What do you think?

Written by Emily

Emily is currently finishing her studies in journalism and popular media abroad in the School of Media studies in Tel Aviv. In free time she writes for several popular magazines and loves hip hop culture very much.


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