2022 is the year of Bad Bunny. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Puerto Rican rapper’s success worldwide, especially this year. His fourth album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” debuted atop the Billboard 200 with career-best album units and has held the top spot for 10 weeks as of this writing, the most for any album this year. The album is on track to be the most consumed of the year in the US, and is already the biggest event in music across the globe, breaking streaming records. The album has also notched four top-10 hits in the US, including the top-five hits “Moscow Mule” and “Tití Me Preguntó.” With all of this success, what will the Grammys do with the Latin artist come nomination’s morning, and is there a chance for him to go all the way?
Even among non-Latin albums, it’s rare to see a record have such staying power on the charts, achieving more than 100k album units (based on combined sales and streams) almost every week of its run since its May release. And keep in mind that for most of these weeks he has been competing with massive names in the industry like Jack Harlow, Harry Styles, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar. His album success has also translated into singles success; he consistently posts multiple songs in the Spotify US and Spotify Worldwide top 50 charts.
This amount of commercial success rarely goes unnoticed by the Grammys. Out of the last 10 Year-End number one albums on the Billboard 200, six have gotten Album of the Year nominations, and this despite the now-defunct nomination review committees likely filtering out albums that otherwise would’ve made it in. And now there are 10 nomination slots for Album of the Year compared to the five there were for most of the last decade. The Grammys also love rewarding artists at their commercial peaks, like with Taylor Swift’s “1989” or Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”
The record is also critically acclaimed, scoring 85 on Metacritic. A lot of the acclaim comes from the fact that Bad Bunny is the sole credited songwriter on most of the songs on the album, a very uncommon feat these days. Furthermore, Bad Bunny also has a lot of esteem within the industry, being a two-time Grammy winner and a four-time Latin Grammy winner, not to mention victories at the VMAs, BBMAs, AMAs, and EMAs. At the Grammys, he’s managed to break out of the Latin field too, getting a Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nomination for “Un Día (One Day)” alongside Dua Lipa, J Balvin, and Tainy, as well as a Record of the Year nomination for his Balvin and Cardi B collab, “I Like It.” So, it’s safe to say Grammy voters are Bad Bunny fans themselves.
Awarding “Un Verano Sin Ti” is also a way to make up for the outrageous lack of diversity among Grammy nominees. Latin artists are among the most underrepresented groups when it comes to general field nominations. Only two have contended for Album of the Year this century: Santana (“Supernatural”) and Cardi B (“Invasion of Privacy”), and both of those albums were mostly in English. “Un Verano Sin Ti” would be the first all-Spanish album to even get a nomination, which is wild considering the number of excellent records in Spanish that have come out through the years.
It would also be just the third Latin music album primarily in a non-English language to be nominated, after Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s Album of the Year-winning “Getz/Gilberto” in 1965 and Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd’s “Jazz Samba” in 1963 — and two of those three nominees weren’t even Latin artists themselves. As such, the Grammys could use this opportunity to honor Bad Bunny’s glass-shattering success as well as make up for years of ridiculous snubs when it comes to Latin artists and albums.
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