Genre: Latin Trap
Favorite Tracks: “Solo de Mi,” “Otra Noche en Miami,” “La Romana”
The holidays are officially over and we have now entered the least artistically pleasing part of the year: January. There’s not much going on, the weather is, at best, uninspiring, and at worst you’ll be blowing snot out of the deepest recesses of your body. But I have a cure for the January blues: X 100PRE.
Listening to Bad Bunny ooze his charisma from song-to-song is a brightly colored, eye-opening experience that’ll take you out of whatever funk you might be fighting through. I mean, the God Ricky Martin even makes an appearance on the album—how can you not be thrilled? Sonically it is a much more ambitious project than any of Bad Bunny’s previously released singles. Songs like “Solo de Mi” and “Otra Noche en Miami” are perfect examples, clearly exemplifying some of the most fully realized vision of his talents. On “Solo de Mi,” he shows his ability to change flows without missing a beat, from singing in a somber tone that feels touching and personal, to a quick-spitting and aggressive MC. It takes him mere seconds to do so on the song, but has undoubtedly taken him years to be able to pull off at the level he does.“Ora Noche en Miami” is a starry eyed look at his late-night thoughts. It sounds like it came directly out of Drake’s playbook circa his TAKE CARE era. Drake, who is featured later on the album for the single “MIA,” has been often hailed for implementing different parts of different genres in his music while changing his sound to fit whatever kind of song he is on, and Bad Bunny takes a somewhat similar approach here.
Now to be completely honest, I can not tell you exactly what he is rapping or singing about, for I am not a Spanish-speaking individual. But what I can tell you is whatever lyrics he is spitting, he one thousand percent owns them, leading to a deep connection between the listener’s eardrums and his voice. Listening to Bad Bunny is a lot like watching someone like Allen Iverson or Steph Curry play basketball for the first time; there is such a fluidity and smoothness to his flow, but it also feels like a new culture-setter. Bad Bunny presents himself with such a large persona that he can’t help but lighten up the tracks, adding a flare as well as deeply emotional backbone to the project. He showcases those more somber and soft-spoken aspects of the album just as well he does with the more loud and positive aspects, and despite being known much more for the latter than the former, it’s quite a treat for the listener. Bad Bunny stunts so hard all over these beats that his charm and swagger basically melts off the production. His ability to play in different styles and switch between them with little-to-no friction is a sensory treat, keeping the album from dragging in parts where it might otherwise.
If X 100PRE has accomplished anything, it’s ascended Bad Bunny into a cross-cultural icon. With his ability to mix elements of trap with elements of traditional pop, some R&B, and reggaeton, there are so many different fan bases he can touch with this record. Speaking of Reggaeton, oh my oh my, does “La Romana” absolutely jump out at you. It is an absolute banger that is very reminiscent of last year’s Cardi B jam, “I Like It,” where he made his first impression on American pop listeners— it’ll have your least coordinated friend trying to do the bachata (to which I can attest, because I am that least coordinated friend). That song, just like the entire album, comes with the club-certified stamp of approval, and I haven’t even talked about “MIA,” the biggest song off the project that is assisted by the biggest pop star in the world at the moment. It is a very calculated song from both of their ends and should bring new ears to each of them respectively. Indicative of the larger, because X 100PRE is nothing if not a calculated album introducing the world to Bad Bunny and his talents.
Ultimately, X 100PRE is a purely fun adventure that will make you feel as if you are going through tropical parts of South America to late-night shenanigans in Miami. Each song has individuality and will take you on separate and memorable journey on its own right. Each listen I think I discover a new song, or leave with something I had previously missed, and while it’s certainly a dense album, it never actually feels it, because Bad Bunny is so charismatic, willing to take on new risks and make some off-kilter choices.