Category Archives: Artists on The Verge

The Drama Of Trauma

Trauma — the damage done to a people through acts of violence, whether in a moment during a massacre or over a prolonged period of oppression — is a thread running through many of the international features competing in this year’s Oscar race: The raw horror of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida?, from Bosnia and Herzegovina; the all-but-forgotten 1962 Soviet state massacre of striking factory workers in Russia’s Dear Comrades!, from director Andrei Konchalovsky; the hidden horror, and thirst for revenge for unpunished atrocities, that seeps through Jayro Bustamante’s genre tale La Llorona, Guatemala’s official Oscar entry; Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings for Ivory Coast that struggles to find meaning in the violent legacy of colonialism and more recent political upheavals through a combination of storytelling techniques both Western and traditional; and Kaouther Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His Skin, for Tunisia, which takes as its central theme the exploitation of Syrian refugees, even the exploitation of their trauma itself.

From left: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Quo Vadis, Aida?, Russia’s Dear Comrades!, Ivory Coast’s Night of the Kings, Tunisia’s The Man Who Sold His Skin and Guatemala’s La Llorona.


It’s notable that this year’s International Feature Oscar shortlist does not include any films on the Holocaust, the central trauma of the 20th century. It’s a rare exception. The Nazi genocide of European Jews, or its traumatic aftermath, is the subject of such Oscar winners as Son of Saul (Hungary, 2015), Ida (Poland, 2014), The Counterfeiters (Austria, 2007) and Nowhere in Africa (Germany, 2002). Instead, this year’s contenders look at national stories that have been largely forgotten or passed over despite their very real and continuing impact on their people and societies left behind.


It was 25 years ago that Bosnian Serbs, led by Gen. Ratko Mladic, gathered up 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys near the town of Srebrenica, bused them to killing sites, shot them and dumped the bodies into mass graves. U.N. peacekeeping troops did nothing. Zbanic, whose 2006 Oscar-nominated debut, Grbavica, examined the aftermath of the massacre — in particular the mass rape of Muslim women by Bosnian Serb soldiers — goes directly to the source with Quo Vadis, Aida? The film tracks the horrific events as seen through the eyes of a Bosnian translator (played by Serbian actress Jasna Djuricic), as she tries to push the U.N. commanders to intervene while racing against time to save her husband and two sons from the coming slaughter.
There have been endless hours of documentary and newsreel footage about Srebrenica. There has been a criminal trial of Mladic — who in 2017 was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity— but Quo Vadis, Aida? has become the definitive film of this European tragedy.


The 1962 Novocherkassk massacre was not covered by CNN. The shootings of peaceful striking factory workers by the Soviet state police — estimates vary, but at least 26 protesters were killed and perhaps as many as 87 wounded — were wiped from Russia’s official history. The cover-up began immediately after the killings, when Moscow imposed a nationwide news blackout. The story remained hidden until 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Konchalovsky reflects that sense of censored memory in Dear Comrades! by shooting his movie in the style of the elliptical, state-approved Soviet films of the period, complete with a tacked-on, deliberately hollow happy ending. Like Quo Vadis, Aida?, it tells its traumatic tale through the eyes of a determined, relentless woman: loyal Soviet apparatchik Lyudmila (Julia Vysotskaya), a faithful Stalinist who initially sees the strikers as traitors to the state, before the guns start firing.
In his Oscar contender, Guatemalan director Bustamante looks at the state massacre of ethnic Mayan civilians in the 1980s (also known as the Silent Holocaust) by reinterpreting the folktale of a vengeful spirit — The Weeping Woman, or La Llorona — into a cry for social justice. In the original tale, the ghost is the guilty one — a mother who drowns her two children and is cursed to walk the world mourning them.


Bustamante turns her into a vengeful spirit, haunting the guilty conscience of Enrique Monteverde (Julio Diaz), on trial for crimes of genocide committed against the Mayan peasants when he was president. Monteverde is a stand-in for real-life former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, who was indicted for genocide but pardoned by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court. In La Llorona, unlike in real life, Mayan victims get to confront the general and bring him to task for his crimes against humanity. As with this year’s Russian and Bosnian entries, the heart of Guatemala’s Oscar hopeful is its strong women, foremost María Mercedes Coroy as the vengeful spirit and Sabrina De La Hoz as the aging general’s disenchanted daughter.
Men — a Syrian refugee and inmates of an Ivory Coast prison — are center stage in the two African contenders for best international feature. Both films — Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His Skin and Lacôte’s Night of the Kings — take a complex approach to telling stories of national trauma. Sam Ali (Yahya Mahayni) is a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon and desperate to travel to Europe to reunite with his lover, Abeer (Dea Liane). In desperation, he enters a Faustian pact: agreeing to let an artist use Sam’s back as a human canvas for an enormous tattoo of a Schengen visa, the document needed to gain entry into Europe. As an actual piece of art and a working commodity, Sam is free to travel across borders, something not possible for Sam the human being. Part political commentary, part moral satire on the art industry, The Man Who Sold His Skin is also a knowing critique of how stories of trauma — like this movie itself — themselves exploit the suffering of the people they depict.


Lacôte’s Night of the Kings is perhaps the most complex film on the Oscar shortlist. Set in Ivory Coast’s infamous La Maca prison, it is a modern-day One Thousand and One Nights. Like Scheherazade, a new prisoner called Roman (Bakary Koné) is tasked with inventing a tale that will keep his audience of fellow criminals captivated until the morning light or face execution. What follows is an intoxicating hybrid of storytelling styles, with Lacôte borrowing from Shakespeare and cinema — Fernando Meirelles’ Brazilian crime drama City of God is name-checked — and combining them with the oral tradition of the West African griot, in which history is told through narrative, music, poetry and dance. Roman’s story knits together the personal and the political. Lacôte at one point splices in clips of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to accept electoral defeat in 2011 plunged the country into violence.
What emerges is the narrative of a man and, by extension, a nation struggling to survive and to overcome the damage of the distant and recent past. As with all the tales of trauma on this year’s International Feature shortlist, the fight is as much about the story as about who gets to tell it. READ MORE: https://apple.news/ANBsEMcsvT4y9XQ795ZR2GA

15 Hip-Hop & R&B Artists to Watch in 2021

After showcasing our fierce 15 last year, Billboard runs the table back and presents this year’s Hip-Hop/R&B Artists to watch Class of 2021.

Last year, Billboard watched a bevy of rookies take a leap forward and graduate into stardom.
Rod Wave, Jack Harlow, and Don Toliver’s chart dominance helped solidify their standing in the hip-hop game while R&B singer Kaash Paige exuded promise on her sizzling debut. Along with standout campaigns in 2020, the hip-hop community mourned the losses of Brooklyn’s Pop Smoke and Chicago’s King Von, as both stars were victims of gun violence. With 2021 currently in session, a new breed of neophytes looks to cause a stir. After showcasing our fierce 15 last year, Billboard runs the table back and presents this year’s Hip-Hop/R&B Artists to watch Class of 2021. Check out our list below.

In 2020, Blxst rocketed to success when fans unwrapped his eight-track project No Love Lost. The Cali polymath doesn’t shy away from messy topics, working through heartbreak and relationship woes with elastic ease. Fortunately, Blxst doesn’t allow his losses to define him, as he proves to be a slithery Casanova on “Wrong or Right,” “Overrated” and “Be Alone.” His skill for hitmaking shines on the project’s deluxe edition, as he recruits West Coast all-stars Dom Kennedy (“Got It All”) and Ty Dolla $ign and Tyga (“Chosen”) for his daily escapades. — CARL LAMARRE

Lil Baby’s My Turn was one of the biggest hip-hop releases of 2020, and featured 42 Dugg, the Detroit rapper with a sprightly flow and knack for riding beats, on a pair of tracks; one of those, “We Paid,” became a top 10 hit on the Hot 100 and served as a mainstream breakthrough. After his mixtape Young & Turnt 2 demonstrated his leading-man appeal last year, 42 Dugg is looking ahead to a new project that will be jointly released through Yo Gotti’s CMG and Lil Baby’s 4PF. — JASON LIPSHUTZ
Raiche is another gifted member of the aptly titled Island Prolific roster, co-founded by songwriter-producer Prince Charlez (Rihanna, Beyoncé, Usher). Gaining favorable notice in 2018 for her smoky, robust vocals on “Money Pies,” Raiche upped the soulful quotient in 2019 with “Complicated,” followed by her EP Drive, issued via GDE/Island Prolific/Atlantic. The title track was featured in Netflix’s Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. Raiche’s hard work and promise are paying off: The singer-songwriter currently ranks at No. 8 on the Adult R&B airplay chart with relationship slow-burner “Pick a Side,” from her upcoming debut album. — GAIL MITCHELL
With the drill scene still commanding New York’s attention, Staten Island’s prized gem CJ barreled his way into the hip-hop mainstream with his explosive hit “Whoopty.” Moving into the top 20 on the Hot 100 this week, CJ’s single not only earned him a partnership with Warner Records earlier this month, but a fistful of co-signs from previous New York greats Cardi B, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and more. With a forthcoming EP executive produced by French Montana en route, expect CJ to bring a healthy balance of drill and melody. — C.L.

READ MORE: https://apple.news/AsjqbK4xlS_-0NZQjTCgcLg


25th Annual SAG Award Nominees

MOTION PICTURE

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • “A Star Is Born”
  • “Black Panther”
  • “BlacKkKlansman”
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • “Crazy Rich Asians”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • Glenn Close, “The Wife”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
  • Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
https://www.tntdrama.com/shows/sag-awards/clips/25th-annual-sag-awards-nominations-ceremony

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Christian Bale, “Vice”
  • Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
  • Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
  • John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, “Vice”
  • Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place”
  • Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
  • Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
  • Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
  • Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
  • Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
  • Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
  • Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

  • “The Americans”
  • “Better Call Saul”
  • “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • “Ozark”
  • “This Is Us”

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series 

  • “Atlanta”
  • “Barry”
  • “GLOW”
  • “The Kominsky Method”
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series 

  • Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects”
  • Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
  • Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
  • Penelope Cruz, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
  • Emma Stone, “Maniac”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

  • Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
  • Darren Criss, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
  • Hugh Grant, “A Very English Scandal”
  • Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear”
  • Bill Pullman, “The Sinner” 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

  • Julia Garner, “Ozark”
  • Laura Linney, “Ozark”
  • Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
  • Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
  • Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
  • Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  • John Krasinski, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
  • Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Alison Brie, “GLOW”
  • Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
  • Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
  • Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
  • Bill Hader, “Barry”
  • Henry Winkler, “Barry”

STUNT

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

  • “Ant-Man and the Wasp”
  • “Avengers: Infinity War”
  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
  • “Black Panther”
  • “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama

  • “Glow”
  • “Marvel’s: Daredevil”
  • “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
  • “The Walking Dead”
  • “Westworld”

Oscars: ‘Roma,’ ‘Favourite’ Top Nominations With 10 Apiece

The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air Feb. 24 on ABC.

The Academy unveiled its 2019 Oscar nominations early Tuesday morning, with The Favourite and Roma leading all films with 10 nods apiece. Both movies are nominated for best picture for the 91st Oscars alongside BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book, A Star Is Born and Vice.

A Star Is Born and Vice also were dominant in the 2019 Oscar nominations, earning eight apiece, followed by Black Panther with seven, BlacKkKlansman with six and Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book with five each. Meanwhile, in the directing category, Spike Lee earned his first-ever best directing Oscar nom for BlacKkKlansman, while A Star Is Born director Bradley Cooper was among the snubs, though he did earn a best acting nomination. Lee will vie with Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) for the honor of best director at the 2019 Oscars.

The Oscar nominations announcement took place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, with Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross hosting. The 91st annual Academy Awards will be presented once again at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The show will air live Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.

A full list of nominees follows. Keep up with all the latest news and analysis leading up to the 91st annual Academy Awards here.

Black Panther (Kevin Feige, Producer)
BlacKkKlansman (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Graham King, Producer)
The Favourite (Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers)
Green Book (Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers)
Roma (Gabriela Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuaron, Producers)
A Star Is Born (Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers)
Vice (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers)

Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book
Amy Adams (Vice)
Marina de Tavira (Roma)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
A Star Is Born (Eric Roth, Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Border (Goran Lundstrom and Pamela Goldammer)
Mary Queen of Scots (Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks)
Vice (Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Mary Zophres)
Black Panther (Ruth E. Carter)
The Favourite (Sandy Powell)
Mary Poppins Returns (Sandy Powell)
Mary Queen of Scots (Alexandra Byrne)
The Favourite (Robbie Ryan)
Never Look Away (Caleb Deschanel)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
A Star Is Born (Matty Libatique)
Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
“All the Stars” (Black Panther)
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith)
Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“I’ll Fight” (RBG)
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Mary Poppins Returns)
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Shallow” (A Star Is Born)
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Black Panther (Ludwig Goransson)
BlacKkKlansman (Terence Blanchard)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell)
Isle of Dogs (Alexandre Desplat)
Mary Poppins Returns (Marc Shaiman)
Free Solo (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)
Minding the Gap (Bing Liu and Diane Quon)
Of Fathers and Sons (Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert)
RBG (Betsy West and Julie Cohen)
Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson)
Mirai (Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito)
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)
Black Panther (Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali)
First Man (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis)
Roma (Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and Jose Antonio Garcia)
A Star Is Born (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow)
Black Panther (Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart)
The Favourite (Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton)
First Man (Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas)
Mary Poppins Returns (John Myhre and Gordon Sim)
Roma (Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez)
Avengers: Infinity War (Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick)
Christopher Robin (Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould)
First Man (Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm)
Ready Player One (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy)
BlacKkKlansman (Barry Alexander Brown)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)
The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
Green Book (Patrick J. Don Vito)
Vice (Hank Corwin)
Animal Behaviour (Alison Snowden and David Fine)
Bao (Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb)
Late Afternoon (Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco)
One Small Step (Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas)
Weekends (Trevor Jimenez)
BlacKkKlansman (Barry Alexander Brown)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)
The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
Green Book (Patrick J. Don Vito)
Vice (Hank Corwin)
Animal Behaviour (Alison Snowden and David Fine)
Bao (Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb)
Late Afternoon (Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco)
One Small Step (Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas)
Weekends (Trevor Jimenez)
Detainment  (Vincent Lambe and Darren Maho)
Fauve (Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon)
Marguerite (Marianne Farley and Marie-Helene Panisset)
Mother (Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy Alvarado)
Skin (Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman)
Black Sheep (Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn)
End Game (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman)
Lifeboat (Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser)
A Night at the Garden (Marshall Curry)
Period. End of Sentence. (Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton)

MORE:https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/oscar-nominations-2019-complete-list-nominees-1172407/item/best-picture-1172473

Next Gen Talent 2018: Hollywood’s Rising Young Stars Revealed

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Meet the 20 up-and-comers — from ‘Black Panther’ star Letitia Wright and ‘Sharp Objects’ standout Eliza Scanlen — whom everyone in the industry is clamoring to work with.

From Killing Eve star Jodie Comer to Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scalen, this year’s crop of Next Gen talent offers a snapshot of Hollywood’s most promising young actors. With seemingly more paths than ever to become the next Jennifer Lawrence (think Noah Centineo and Lana Condor’s rapid rise to fame in Netflix sensation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and former child actor Nicholas Braun’s windy journey to critical acclaim in HBO’s Succession), these 20 rising stars are among the blockbuster breakouts and small-screen discoveries who are shaking up the industry.

READ MORE: https://apple.news/A_JmZRuCaTqSUcRr5W0Fz5w

Bad Bunny and J Balvin Talk Upcoming Joint Album and the Rise of Latin Trap | Complex Cover 1,031,788 views

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Lee en Español.

A mob of people swarm Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican rapper, yelling his name. “Oh my god,  he’s so sexy,” one teenage girl squeals. Another, in complete shock, shouts: “I touched him.” But Bunny isn’t fazed. Dressed in a maroon Alexander Wang anorak jacket with matching shorts, long tan socks, brown Gucci hiker boots, and mirrored sunglasses, with his fingernails painted yellow, he flashes a smile and takes selfies with them.

In certain New York City neighborhoods, Bunny might not be as recognizable. Not here, though. Throughout the shoot for this cover, the predominantly Latino residents of the area surrounding Brooklyn’s Knickerbocker Avenue followed his and Colombian artist J Balvin’s every move. Some even managed to find the nondescript bar where we filmed, waiting outside for hours and screaming every time the door swung open. They wanted to catch a glimpse of Bunny, the 24-year-old Latin trap king, and Balvin, reggaeton’s answer to Drake.

Reggaeton’s long been a fixture in the Spanish-speaking world, but in 2004 it exploded in the U.S. with Daddy Yankee’s hit “Gasolina,” off his album Barrio Fino. The genre’s had its ebbs and flows since then, but it has recently found a massive new market, thanks in part to the global success of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” remix featuring Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee—the most streamed song ever—and, of course, Balvin’s steady hit-making and Bunny’s arrival.

Last year, Balvin (real name José Álvaro Osorio Balvin) released his megasmash “Mi Gente” with French DJ and producer Willy William, followed by a remix featuring Beyoncé. Both songs were everywhere; the original currently has over 2 billion views on YouTube, while the remix has over 79 million. But those two songs weren’t just major successes on the charts. More than that, they helped other Latin rap artists, like Bunny, cross into the mainstream.

Born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, Bunny started his career by uploading songs to SoundCloud while still a student at the University of Puerto Rico. But in two short years, he’s become a phenomenon. “Soy Peor,” the track that established the Latin trap sound, caught the ear of the U.S. audience; it’s been streamed 13 million times on SoundCloud. Balvin’s “Si Tú Novio Te Deja Sola”—a song Bunny first composed with the artist in mind—has been nominated for a Latin Grammy. He’s collaborated with big-name American artists like Nicki Minaj (“Krippy Kush”), Cardi B (“I Like It”), Chris Brown (“Dime”), and Drake on an unreleased song.

Together, Balvin and Bunny are leading the charge in bringing reggaeton to the American market once again. The best part about that is they’re doing it on their own terms—a new sound, painted fingernails, eccentric outfits. We haven’t seen anything like them before, but if you ask them, that’s the point.

 

Bad Bunny and J Balvin, two of reggaeton’s most recognizable faces, are Complex’s latest cover stars. They sit down with Rapetón editor-in-chief Angel “El Guru” Vera to discuss how they first met, the rise of Latin trap, and what they think it takes to be an icon. Bunny also explains why he hasn’t released an album and reveals that he has an upcoming joint album with Balvin.

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Michael B. Jordan Discusses Creed II & Getting In Killmonger Shape | Open Late “The Switch Up” LIVE

“Open Late” is switching things up and headed to ComplexCon. Peter Rosenberg sits down with Emmy-nominee Michael B Jordan to chat Black Panther, the upcoming Creed II, and why he’s getting politically active this year. As always, AraabMuzik holds it down on the MPCs.