It wasn't that long ago that Bad Bunny was still just Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, a kid growing up in the rural Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, just went of the capital city of San Juan. After all, he only began posting his own music to Soundcloud in 2016.
But here we are, in 2019, and he's gone from just another face in the crowd to Latin trap king, landing two top 10 singles and commanding the stage at Coachella—all while hardly ever uttering a word in English.
Growing up middle class on the island—an American territory sitting about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Fla. in the Caribbean Sea—Bad Bunny began singing young. He joined a church choir at the age of 5 and became enraptured by rap en Espanol around the same time after receiving Puerto Rican hip-hop royalty Vico C's record "Ángel Que Había Muerto" for Christmas.
As a teenager, he spent weekends listening to the salsa legends his mom loved, like Hector Lavoe and Juan Gabriel while doing housework—"On Sundays and Saturdays, when it was time to clean the house, when I heard those records, I knew I would have to at least mop the floor or something," he told NPR through a translator in January—before retreating to his room to lose himself in the sounds of Daddy Yankee, Calle 13, Wisin & Yandel and, inexplicably, Linkin Park.