In “El Apagón”, Bad Bunny tackles gentrification and blackouts

Bad Bunny waves a flag during a 2019 national strike demanding the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello.

Bad Bunny waves a flag during a 2019 national strike demanding the resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello.
picture: Eric Rojas/AFP (Getty Images)

Puerto Rican artist Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio – AKA bad bunnyHe dropped his fifth album on May 6thAnd it’s already 2022 Most streamed album. its title, en verano sin te, Translates to “Summer Without You”, and the atmosphere remembers a languid beach day and its day After-party: There are songs about dancing, drinking, pinning, and lost love.

Then there is ‘El Apagón’, or The Blackout, where Bad Bunny exchanges verses about why he loves his home with ferocious attacks on his mainland political leaders and construction workers: ‘Maldita sea, otro apagón. Vamo ‘pa’ lo ‘bleacher a prender un blunt antes que a Pipo le dé un bofetón.” Damn, another blackout. Let’s go to the stands and light up eloquently, before I give Bebo a slap.

“Bebo” is a nickname for the island current ruler, Pedro Pierluisi. that it Former coal lobby member Operating an island that suffers from frequent power outages. Last year, Pierluisi promised residents that there would be fewer energy disturbances in the future… Then in early April, A fire broke out in the Costa Sur The power plant, plunging millions into darkness. Schools forced to close, the intensive care center of a medical center in Mayagüez Temporarily lost power.

Both residents and businesses are tired of blackouts. Last month, four major companies filed a lawsuit against LUMA, the island’s power authority $310 million in damages. Angry residents rallied outside the LUMA office in San Juan and threw bags of food That was rotten inside their refrigerator. Finally, the April blackout cost Puerto Rico’s economy up to $500 million, according to El Nuevo Dia.

Pipo isn’t the only person who has been given a job at “El Apagón”. At the end of the song, Bad Bunny’s partner Features Gabriela Berlingeri singing “Yo no me quiero ir de aquí, no me quiero ir de aquí, que se vayan ellos,” or “I don’t want to leave, I don’t want to go, that they They should leave”—presumably referring to the island’s new residents including mainland Americans, social media influencers, andCrypto colonizers“who made many indigenous people feel unwelcome in their homes.

Other songs in the album, like “AndreaIt also deals with the tug-of-war between loving the island, its people and its culture, but understanding the reality of having to live there.” Quiere quedarse en PR, no irse pa ‘ningún estado pero todo se ha complexado,’ Bad Bunny sings: ‘She wants to stay in relationships. general, not to go into a state, but everything became complicated.”

Despite the complaints, the lyrics to “El Apagón” also remind listeners that “Puerto Rico está bien cabrón” or “Puerto Rico is so great”. The song balances the joys of island living and the trials of living with displacement, unreliable politicians, and regular blackouts – and reminds listeners that they are worth fighting for.

This is a particularly important message in light of Recent protests. Last year, environmentalists and residents of the popular beach town of Rincon protested at a residential site to stop pool construction That cut off access to shore and threatened endangered turtles that lay their eggs nearby. Earlier this year, beachgoers Meet the wealthy homeowners Indigenous Puerto Ricans organized a partisan protest. A month later, another protest party called “ghetto beach“In Dorado. People danced, sunbathed, and chanted “Yo soybean borrecoa, pa que to lo cepas” / “I’m Puerto Rican, just you know.”

Like protest parties, Bad Bunny’s “El Apagón” gives listeners a ray of light amid the island’s literal, social and economic darkness. Things aren’t perfect, but at least Puerto Rico is Capron’s standing.