entertainment

Puerto Rican Slang and Culture Through Bad Bunny Lyrics in Photos

Bad Bunny | YouTube

Puerto Rican reggaetonero and trap artist El Conejo Malo has gone from bagging groceries in his home town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico to a full-fledged award-winning artist in the span of just a couple years. While the 25-year-old has become an international success, he’s committed to his roots and it shows.

His album X100pre Nochebuena is the gift that keeps on giving to the world. For any Boricua that has his album on loop, you might keep picking up on new gems along the way.

Or, if you’re like me and grew up in the U.S., I guarantee you will be delighted to learn what El Conejo Malo was referencing.

Here’s just some of what you might have missed from Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio’s debut album.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

From santería to Puerto Rican world boxing champion Iván Calderón Marrero, his tracks might remind you of that one decade all your tías dressed in white or your machísmo tío’s poster shrine to Calderón.

We all know Bad Bunny se encanta los perreos.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

It’s the most reggaeton and Boricua slang of the whole album, sneaking its way into almost every canción. Perreo is what you might have called “grinding” in middle school.

In “Como Antes,” the Tazos are little collectible discs found in Frito-Lay chip bags.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

“Me puse a jugar Tazo” he sings, in reference to the toys. He also references the exact time Los Simpsons aired (a las cuatro).

Bad Bunny pays tribute to Daddy Yankee all album long.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

In “Cuando Perriabas,” Bad Bunny sings, “Y bum, pa’ atrá’, bum-bum, pa’ alante/Este party es sólo para la gente que aguante.” Remember Daddy Yankee’s 2004 “Donde Hubo Fuego” when he sings the same verses? This whole song is basically a tribute to all the parties that gave birth to the perreos.

In “200 MPH,” BB gives another nod to Daddy Yankee’s appearance in Talento de Barrio.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Remember that 2008 film about Daddy Yankee’s escape from a life of drug dealing through reggaeton? The characters in the film were Dinero and Wichy, which is who Bad Bunny is referring to in the letra “Dinero, dinero, me falta Wichy.”

Unless you a Bori, you wouldn’t know “bichote” is slang for drug dealer.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Another nod at Talento de Barrio, BB sings about his young-hearted dream to become a bichote, a king in the streets. He also calls out the Puerto Rican government for closing down schools, which give way to “puntas” (a.k.a. trap houses).

BB expands from reggaeton to honor Nuyorican pianists and salsa artists también.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Me siento Ray, pero Richie” refers to Puerto Rican pianist and composer Richie Ray who is known as “El Embajador del Piano.” “Rumba buena, timbalero” is about salsa band La Sonora Ponceña’s song “Timbalero,” a song many of us grew up dancing to while we cleaned the house.

In “Ni Bien Ni Mal,” BB pays tribute to Boricua trapero Miky Woodz.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

He sings, “como dice Miky, no te voy a mentir.” That means BB has spooken: if you haven’t heard Miky’s 2017 song “No Te Wa a Mentir,” get to it.

We even hear allusions to santería, a religion only practiced in Afro-Latino Caribbean islands.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Ando de blanco entero, flow santero” paints the picture of Boricuas, Cubanos y Dominicanos walking the streets in all white, in honor of the Yoruba-Catholic religion. Only Boris and our gente de islas know about the altars with bowls of holy water, statues of saints and candles hidden in their abuelita’s closets.

My all time favorite Bori slang is in “Caro.”

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Your Spanish teacher will tell you that “caro” means expensive, but in Puerto Rico, it can mean a beautiful girl who knows her worth and will never sleep with you or more simply, self-worth. In “Caro,” BB flexes this imagery to combat the haters of his gender fluidity.

During the angelic interlude, Ricky Martin’s vocals add even more depth to the song.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

¿Por qué no puedo ser así?
¿En qué te hago daño a ti?
¿En qué te hago daño a ti?
Yo solamente soy feliz

Every Bori remembers the decade of the chismosando dentro nuestros tías, all speculating on Ricky Martin’s sexuality. He was beautiful and everyone wanted to sleep with him, but he refused to comment on his identity until much later. This ballad touches on an inter-generational pandora’s box of emotions around Latino culture’s rigid expectation of sexuality and gender expression. BB knows his worth, and that “con dinero y sin dinero, mi flow es caro.”

“Otra Noche en Miami” is all about achieving the dreams BB had from his vantage point in PR.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Pa’l Khalifa Kush tengo la conexión. Pa’l avenue Miami Beach, e’ mi dirección” Everything is going his way, but the shine of his Rolex doesn’t shine brighter than a loved one’s smile. This is the list of the dreams he had in Puerto Rico realized before he comes to the realization that they meant nothing.

“Estamos Bien” was released as a tribute to Puerto Rican resilience post-Maria, sí.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

It’s about PR’s notorious potholes, courtesy of a lackadaisical government, and the determination and hard work of Boricuas regardless: “La Mercedes en P.R. cogiendo boquete, eh.” It’s also about BB’s own return to self. He gets the dream and becomes bored with the threesomes. It is also about the return to his island with his sanity restored.

“Solo de Mi” has quickly become the poster song for well-known cultural issues domestic violence in Latino homes.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Venezuelan actress Laura Chimaras seems to be invisibly beaten while singing about her self ownership. Eventually, the bruises clear and we head straight into a perreo where we hear references to Hector y Tito’s “Noches de Travesura” when BB sings “Hoy e’ noche ‘e travesura/hoy e’ pata’ abajo.”

“Baby me siento down” in “Si Estuviésemos Juntos” is love for his teenage emo heart for RKM & Ken-Y’s 2006 hit “Down.”

Bad Bunny / YouTube

The album goes from high beat perreos to raw emotionality instantaneously. We get to have “Quien Tú Eres?” and then listen to “Caro” right after. In BB’s breakup song of the album, he isn’t defaulting to the trend of move on already pop hits. He wishes he did things differently and acknowledges his part.

“La Romana” is an ode to the DR, no question.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

His collabs with Dominicano El Alfa prove that, but we still get a little spice of PR with “Ojalái, ojalái que esta noche tú sea’ mi mai, eh, hey“–an interlude in Voltio and Residente’s “Chulin Chulin Chunfly.”

“RLNDT” is about a lot of heavy mental health issues, but Boricuas hear an underlying societal message.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

In 1999, a 5-year-old Puerto Rican boy, Rolando (Rolandito “RLNDT”) Salas Jusino went missing. He was never found, no matter how much attention the entire island gave the story. In BB’s music video, we just see a still of a 5-year-old baby Bad Bunny.

Your favorite aggro workout song “Quien Tu Eres?” embodies the energy of Iván Calderón Marrero.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

BB is a self-professed fanatic of boxing. His music video for this song is just him punching this bag with a Puerto Rican flag behind him. Calderón was the Puerto Rican two-weight world boxing champ and untouchable hero for Puerto Rico.

Finally, “MÍA” both launches BB into the guy that got Canadian superstar Drake to sing in Spanish and still lift up Boricuas.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Yo soy tu Romeo, pero no Santo” makes perfect sense on it’s own–he might be a romantic but he wants to have his way with you. It also gives a subtle shout out to bachatero Romeo Santos. Nice one, BB.

All we can say is, gracias, BB, for this time capsule tribute to the ’90s and early 2000s and a 2018 classic.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

We’re still playing X100 PRE on repeat and earning our keep en La Neuva Religión. Mil gracias.

Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

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Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

badbunnypr / ricardorossello / ricky_martin / Instagram

Governors in the U.S. have tried and failed multiple times to enshrine discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by passing “religious freedom” bills. At the heart of these bills is the idea that someone’s religion is enough to discriminate against those of different faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Puerto Rico tried to follow the same failed path as Indiana and the backlash was swift and victorious after Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny (Benito Martinez) spoke out against the bill forcing Governor Ricardo Rosselló to backtrack on his bill to discriminate.

In April, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló presented the Puerto Rican House of Representatives a “religious freedom” bill.

Credit: @lgbtpr / Twitter

The bill was months in the making and Gov. Rosselló showed his full support for the bill, House Bill 2069. The bill would have allowed for government employees to openly discriminate against people who went against their religious beliefs.

Ricky Martin spoke up against the measure and called out the Puerto Rican government and their willingness to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defense of human rights, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above and it encourages division, prejudice, hatred and the lack of respect for individuality,” Martin wrote on his fan website. “It does so under a premise that undermines the constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of race, sex or belief, and in its place, justifies an irrational protection of the religious convictions of government employees.”

“As a member of the LGBTT community, I join the constituency that affirms that there has never been a willingness among our LGBTT people to allow for the validation or legalization of discrimination against us.”

“House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, achieve nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t  have the same color skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures.”

“Authentic religious freedom calls for respecting everyone equally.”

Bad Bunny also used his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico.

Credit: badbunnypr / Instagram

“While we ‘bad guys’ do out to unite people and try to send a message of respect and tolerance, the leaders of my country work to do the opposite,” he wrote on Instagram. “We cannot take steps backwards, NEVER! @ricardorossello you make excellent coffee, I know that you can also make an excellent decision.”

Calle 13’s Residente joined his Puerto Rican peers to call out the Puerto Rican government’s wishes to strip LGBTQ+ people of their humanity with the law.

These calls against the action came during Pride month when the U.S. is supposed to be celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, which still faces discrimination and violence.

After the outcry, Gov. Rosselló reversed his support for the bill and ordered the Puerto Rican House of Representatives to shelf the bill.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“WE WON! The recent years, Western countries have made significant advances in guaranteeing equal right for the LGBTT community,” Martin tweeted.

Martin celebrated the decision by educating his followers about what the measure would mean for the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“These advances were threatened recently in Puerto Rico, where the House fo Representatives passed legislation that endangered the progress won in the last decade and risked feeding the division, prejudice, and tensions between the communities.”

He did not sugar coat the true meaning behind the legislation.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“By granting government employees the power to act in accordance with their religious convictions, personal values, and principles, this regressive legislation would have sanctioned the practice of institutional discrimination on the part of those who committed themselves to a life in public service.”

Congratulations, Ricky!

Credit: ricky_martin / Instagram

It just goes to show that enough public outcry can make politicians listen to the majority instead of the vocal minority.

READ: After Delay Caused By Border Wall And Trump’s Feud with Puerto Rico, Congress Finally Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Package

These Celebs Are Pushing The Concept Of Gender Further Than Ever Before And That Is Something To Celebrate

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These Celebs Are Pushing The Concept Of Gender Further Than Ever Before And That Is Something To Celebrate

ricodalasam / allaboutvalentina / Instagram

Non-binary individuals, also known as genderqueer, encompasses a spectrum of gender identities that escape the traditional definitions of masculine and feminine. In short, their gender identity falls outside the man/woman gender binary, outside cisgender paradigms (cisgender refers to a person whose personal identity and gender both correspond to their birth sex). For years, genderqueer folks were forced to live in the shadows, either due to conservative social norms or due to lack of awareness of this identity.

Recently, a group of celebs have come out as non-binary and we think that’s fabulous. We can think, for example, of Australian model Ruby Rose (remember their steamy affair with Piper in “Orange is the New Black”? Just this month “Queer Eye”hairstylist extraordinaire Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary. He told OUT magazine: “The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to. I always used to think ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves and they can like be.” This pretty much sums up what genderqueer identity is all about.

Because we celebrate identities of all forms, here are some genderqueer POC stars that make us proud and happy! Some of them have identified as genderqueer while others have broken the paradigms of cisnormativity. Bien por ellos, muy bien!

Rico Dalasam, the Brazilian rap dynamo

Credit: ricodalasam / Instagram

This Brazilian rap artist and former hairdresser has taken his genderqueer identity to powerful lyrics of political resistance. He told Vice: “All the marginal communities I’m a part of—young, black, gay—all of these identities are forced to be ashamed by the oppressor. But I’m the potential of resistance.” With a career that started in 2014, Rico Dalasam has achieved success thanks to his high couture looks and remorseless combative attitude.

Bad Bunny, the boricua marvel

Credit: badbunnyofficial / Instagram

Bad Bunny wears long nails and jewelry that would commonly be associated with a feminine aesthetic. As we have reported, he is unbothered by those who criticize his non-binary moda. He identifies as a straight man but finds inspiration in the queer community. He has talked about his fashion choices in a GQ interview: “There’s people that appreciate what I do; there’s people that criticize it,. There’s people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There’s others that say I’m an opportunist.” Be what it may, Bad Bunny is challenging the role of masculinity in urban culture and in a musical genre, reggaeton, that is often criticized for its often sexist lyrics.

Valentina, global drag phenomenon

Credit: allaboutvalentina / Instagram

“I identify as nonbinary,” Valentina told Out in an interview. “I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman. I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender.”

The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” superstar is one of the most recognizable faces in the drag world. We are so proud of the Latino representation Valentina has been able to bring to the drag world.

Chaska Sofia a.k.a DJ Precolumbian, the amazing Peruvian music powerhouse

Making it in the electronic music scene is not easy, and much less so if you are a genderqueer Peruvian DJ. Bue Chaska Sofia has played in the creme de la creme of the London underground scene. They told the magazine Electic Llama: “I feel like I identify more as a woman now; I’ve been transitioning for almost five years. I like the term ‘genderqueer’ because it challenges not just sexuality, but also gender.”

Aja, bruja extravaganza

Credit: ajathekween / Instagram

Aja’s experience coming to terms with her gender identity was a long one.

“When I was 18, I actually lived as a trans woman for almost a year,” Aja told Them. “I thought I was trans, and then I learned through the education of the queer community about being non-binary, genderqueer, and all these different [identities]. I realized that I do feel like a woman, but I feel comfortable in my body. I don’t feel the need to change anything. I don’t feel the need to appear more feminine to society’s standards.”

Amandla Stenberg, from “The Hunger Games” to queer advocate

Credit: amandlasponsored / Instagram

This amazing African-American young actress openly uses they/them as pronouns. She came out as non-binary on Tumblr (before she came out to her family!), by writing: “I honestly don’t know… I mean they/them makes me feel comfortable but I know that the media and the general populace that follows me will critique it/not understand which makes me feel sad and almost more uncomfortable. So I guess she/her for now”. Not in the cisgender closet anymore, dear Amandla! 

Jaden Smith, the prodigal son

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The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith first gained notoriety regarding his non-gendered persona in 2016, when he started using women’s clothing. Even though he identifies as a straight man, Jaden has become an ally of genderqueer individuals in that he epitomizes the rejection of constrictive gender norms. Good for him. When he was criticized for wearing dresses, he tweeted: “If I Wanna Wear A Dress, Then I Will, And That Will Set The New Wave… -JADEN SMITH #ICON.” 

Liniker Barros, the Brazilian soul star

Credit: linikeroficial / Instagram

Samba and Latin rhythms find a nice home in the tender voice of this musical prodigy. Liniker is the lead singer if the band Liniker and the Caramelows, and many of their lyrics focus on the joy and tribulations of those who are not cisgender. They told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Why should I wear jeans and a T-shirt and present myself as just a voice? My body is political. I need to show my audience what I’m living.” Liniker is well aware of the fact that they represent a wider community. They told Now: “[My] visibility as a singer helps me occupy spaces that aren’t the usual ones for trans women. That representation is so important. Brazil remains a very transphobic, chauvinist, racist country, with a lot of hate speech. When a trans woman takes the stage, that alone is political.”

Angel Haze, rapping for freedom

Credit: angelhaze / Instagram

Born Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson, this rap artist identifies as pansexual and agender. Angel Haza has said: “I sound like four people when I get written about as ‘they.’ It drives me crazy. If you call me ‘him’ or ‘her’ it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience.” Quite an interesting and revolutionary approach! Angel Haze used to date Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. 

Jenny Shimizu, the norm-defying model

Credit: jennyshimizu / Instagram

This Asian-American model has defiedCredit: linikeroficial / Instagram the looks that are “acceptable” on the catwalk. With her short hair and fluid identity she defied the expectations of the fashion industry. She is rumored to have had a relationship with Madonna. A genderqueer style icon for the ages. She loves being called “handsome”, which says a lot about her genderless philosophy. 

Grace Jones, the queer icon

Credit: gracejonesofficial / Instagram

During the 1980s, in the midst of the conservatism of the Reagan era, Grace Jones was a gender-bending phenomenon who became a queer icon. Jones was born in Jamaica and now, even being over 70, she is still a fashion pioneer. Long live Grace Jones, the patron saint of genderqueer! She said in her memoirs: “Those who demand that you conform the most to how they live are the ones who are the most scared and intimidated by life.” Preach!

READ: Marvel Is Bringing More LGBTQ Characters To The Universe

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