SAN FRANCISCO — Bad Bunny offered up a Latin party at Chase Center on Sunday, beckoning thousands of fans with rhymes, rhythms and overflowing energy with an expression of Latin synchrony on the tour for his album X 100PRE.
Extravagance and a lot of energy were the main ingredients for the Puerto Rican artist, who began his show with an introductory video that served as an entry for “Ni Bien Ni Mal,” off the album, which was released last year. The album goes through passages of a certain calm toward the more explosive and infectious sounds of his trap songs.
The Latinx trap and reggaeton singer, who’s also known as El Conejo Malo and whose real name is Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, is riding high as one of the biggest acts in the genre, with hits worldwide, a recent Latin Grammy win and two nominations for the 2020 anglo Grammy Awards.
The former grocery store bagger has also been active in political protests that led to the resignation of Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, who was embroiled in corruption investigations. Bad Bunny paused a tour to take part, inspiring fans along the way. More recently, he voiced opposition of the Latin Recording Academy for excluding many reggaeton artists from nominations while accepting an award for Best Urban Music Album.
Bad Bunny is so popular that his debut album, X 100PRE, and J Balvin collaboration, Oasis, were both nominated for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. Bad Bunny received his first Grammy nomination in 2019, for his role on “I Like It,” alongside Cardi B and J Balvin.
He’s written numerous hits since breaking onto the Latin music scene in 2016, but more impressively, he successfully crossed over to U.S. audiences, racking up more than 1 billion streams here in 2019 alone. Single “Mia”—with Drake singing in Spanish—was played regularly on American pop radio, and he worked with Ricky Martin on “Cántalo.”
The next song on Sunday was a complete release of energy; the Diplo-produced “200 MPH.” The singer was accompanied by eight dancers, and the stage and catwalks lit up, used as a projection screen. The audience wore bracelets that changed color with the music.
Bad Bunny’s extensive setlist included a singles and two albums, like “¿Quién Tú Eres?” and “Estamos Bien,” which had a more joyful and chill vibe, rather than Benito’s usual confrontational, hard verses. The tone radically changed when he introduced “Diles” with “Prende otro phille bebé.” With a more sexualized theme on the song, this showed the evolution of Bad Bunny. His earlier songs had a different feel altogether from his latest release.
“Without you, none of this would make any sense,” he said by way of introduction to “Caro.” “We’re all important and valuable. How many of you are expensive like me?”
Bad Bunny continued with the chorus of “Tenemos Que Hablar” and “Otra Noche en Miami,” “Vuelve” and “Amorfoda.” Upon his request, fans sang the line, “nobody else talk to me about love” (“nadie más me hable de amor”) with him.
Following “Si Estuviésemos Juntos” and “Solo De Mí,” he got to “Te Boté,” a song with Puerto Rican singer Ozuna and “Dura,” which features Daddy Yankee. “Soltera” was dedicated to women in the audience.
Though Drake wasn’t present to sing his feature on the hit “MIA,” the crowd picked up the slack, with fans singing at the top of threat lungs.
“Qué Pretendes” and “La Canción,” from Oasis, proved to be one of the emotional peaks of the night.
“Where are the Latinos of San Francisco!” he demanded to know after asking people from Latin countries to scream. He then said Latinos need to be proud of their heritage in his introduction to “I Like It,” which included the J Balvin feature but not Cardi B’s.
The show ended with “La Romana,” during which he invited the audience on a trip to the Dominican Republic, “Chambea” and massive hit “Callaita.”
Editor Roman Gokhman contributed to this story. Follow photographer Joaquin Cabello at Instagram.com/joaquinxcabello.