Bad Bunny Credit: Courtesy of the artist

As the face of Latin trap, Bad Bunny needs no introduction. More important, he needs no definitions. The Puerto Rico native born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio has become an international superstar with a major presence across the U.S., and he’s done it all on his own terms, without pandering to America-centric or gender expectations. The 25-year-old croons almost entirely in Spanish, with lyrics that flow between crudely explicit and somberly poetic; he shows off his colorful manicures on social media and has openly criticized the norms of masculinity. And on his debut album, X 100PRE (a stylization of “por siempre,” a Spanish way to say “forever”), Martínez Ocasio refuses to confine himself to any one genre or subject. The album transitions with dizzying deftness from sullen electro-pop to slow emo reggaeton ballads to danceable trapchata (trap-bachata) with dembow beats. The rapper shouts out his roots too, with lyrical references to and samples of Puerto Rican musicians such as Daddy Yankee, Plan B, and La Banda Algarete. He nods to a hedonistic lifestyle, mentioning making love on a jet ski on the Diplo-supported “200 MPH” and bragging about Maseratis and Moët on the synth-driven “Otra Noche en Miami.” But there’s also plenty of depth throughout the album. On “Caro,” a track that seems destined to be a club hit, he radiates confidence (“I’m expensive,” he sings, “What the fuck does it matter to you?”), and its music video, which celebrates plus-size and trans models and models with disabilities, suggests that everyone should enjoy a similar level of self-acceptance. The choice to close with “Estamos Bien,” Martínez Ocasio’s testament to Puerto Rican tenacity after Hurricane Maria, and “MIA,” his smash hit with Drake, seems fitting for an album that shows us not only where Bad Bunny’s from and where he’s going—but also he’s going to leave a colorful mark along the way.   v

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