Two years ago, audiences declared to Bad Bunny as the great favorite of urban music. He did it by hand with “YHLMDLG“, “The ones that were not going out” Y “The last tour of the world“, three albums that appeared in the middle of the pandemic and obtained an excellent response from a public nostalgic for the nights of partying and perreo. The Puerto Rican could have rested on his laurels, but it was not like that. Because this 2022 came to light “a summer without you“.
Released in May of this year, the new album by ‘Bad Rabbit’ not only won the applause of his followers, reaching the top of the Billboard and Spotify music charts, but also from critics. Supported by specialized magazines, such as rolling stonesand for international awards such as the Latin Grammy or Grammy (where he made history by being the first album in Spanish to compete for best album of the year), this fifth title consolidated him as a global artist.
‘Despite being sung entirely in Spanish,’a summer without you‘ is not purely reggaeton nor is it based solely on the dembow rhythm. Yes, there are songs, like ‘Tití me pregunta’, but there are others that have merengue, house, pop. It is an album that covers many genres, both in Latin American popular music and in global pop. That’s part of its charm: without losing its Latin identity, it appeals to being a universal pop record,” he told RPP News music critic Francisco Melgar Wong.
Rosalia advances steadily
Another project as important for urban music as “Un verano sin ti” was “Motomami”, by Rosalia. Perhaps it did not have the commercial success of the work of Bad Bunny, despite breaking some records in reproductions, but it did earn him praise among music critics, as Melgar Wong pointed out. He even surprised at the 2022 Latin Grammy ceremony, when he beat the Puerto Rican and the Uruguayan Jorge Drexler in the album of the year category.
“‘motomami‘ is the album that I’ve had to fight the most to make, the one that has cost me the most to make, but the one that I pushed forward and that has given me the most joy. Thank you for always supporting my music, even though my music is always changing.” said on that occasion the artist. And he was not lacking in reason: his third studio album meant a commitment to explore new paths in that omnivorous genre that is pop.
For Melgar Wong, Rosalia’s latest album “has ingredients of experimental music”, something that will always capture the attention of specialized critics, especially in the United States. “‘Its charm comes from its signature elements, from the cover art, which is extremely suggestive, to how it uses synthesizers. It’s a little more conceptual without having a narrative and wanting to push pop to the limit. ‘Motomami’ is Rosalía wanting to say something from his place in the world”, he reflected.
Spanish-American music to power
Beyond its own merits, there is a third point that explains the rise of “a summer without you” Y “motomami” to the global market, or the fact that both Latin urban music albums are at the same time the best pop albums worldwide. The phenomenon, according to Melgar Wong, could go back to 2017, when “Despacito”, that collaboration of Daddy Yankee with Luis Fonsi, reached reproduction peaks in the United States.
“Since then we were seeing urban Latin music songs entering the global pop market. But these songs had Latin artists sharing the bill with artists from the North American industry, such as Beyoncé, Cardi B or Justin Bieber. The unique thing about the current phenomenon is that Bad Bunny, with ‘A summer without you’, has not needed the support of an Anglo-Saxon artist to enter first place in the global market. He has done it independently. Same with rosalia“, he explained.
However, just as 2022 marked the pinnacle of the careers of these two Spanish-American singers, it was also the farewell to one of those who helped pave the way for them. Daddy Yankee said goodbye to a career of more than 40 years with “legendaddy“, his latest project in a discography that has made history in reggaeton. “It is a record that gives the post to other figures. I think it’s a cycle that is closing in Latin urban music,” said the expert.
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Bad Bunny and Rosalía reigned in 2022: Why were their albums the best in urban music this year?