Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, was one of the surprise guests during the Super Bowl Halftime Show on February 2, 2020.
The Puerto Rican reggaeton and trap singer took the stage alongside Shakira. Bunny performed portions of “I Like It” and “Callaita.”
Here’s what you need to know about Bad Bunny.
1. His Stage Names Stems From a Rabbit Costume He Had to Wear As a Child
Why the name “Bad Bunny?” The name dates back to his childhood. He was forced to wear a bunny rabbit costume for Easter when he was in first grade and was apparently very unhappy about it. There is reportedly a picture of him with a scowling look on his face.
Bunny explained in an interview with the “Before They Were Famous” YouTube channel that the annoyed face inspired his relatives to call him “”Bad Bunny.” After he stumbled across the photo again as an adult, he decided to use the moniker as his stage name.
On Christmas Day 2018, he shared a picture of himself wearing the aforementioned costume as a young child. In the picture he shared on Instagram, Bunny appeared to be smiling as he posed with his little basket.
2. Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio Sang In the Church Choir as a Child
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, aka Bad Bunny, has said that he fell in love with singing at the age of 5. He explained to NPR that his earliest musical influences came from his mother, a former teacher. Bunny said that his mom would play salsa and romantic ballads on the weekends while she was cleaning the house. “On Sundays and Saturdays… when I heard those records, I knew I would have to at least mop the floor or something.”
Bunny also lists Puerto Rican artists such as Daddy Yankee and Vico C. as key influences on his musical taste, as well as American singers Marc Anthony and Victor Manuelle. He says he listened to everything he could get his hands on, including rap, reggaetón, salsa, rock, and pop.
Bunny honed his singing talent in the church. His mother, a devout Catholic, reportedly took her children to mass every week. He was asked to sing in the choir as a young boy, a practice he continued until he was 13.
As a teenager, Bunny began to experiment with different music and started writing his own songs. He also was known to practice freestyling with his friends.
His Facebook bio notes that Bunny never had formal training. “He never took formal music lessons or studied any instruments, but his passion led him to learn and perfect his talent on his own. He is a singer, composer and creator of his own songs by his own knowledge, and his music emanates a much more special internal rhythm that any musical training could have had.”
3. Bad Bunny Was Working In a Grocery Store & Attending College When He Began Attracting Attention Online For His Music
After high school, Bad Bunny enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo and majored in communications. To make extra money, he bagged groceries at a local market. A Peruvian newspaper published a photo of Bunny wearing his uniform alongside a coworker.
As a college student, Bunny continued to experiment with his own music. He started uploading singles to Soundcloud and quickly gained recognition. His self-produced song “Diles” was his first major success. It racked up more than a million streams and ultimately was the catalyst for his meteoric rise to stardom.
DJ Luian explained in an interview with Billboard that he came across the song on social media. He said he recognized that Bunny had a unique sound and signed him to the record label Hear This Music.
4. Bunny’s Collaboration With Cardi B Soared to the Top of the U.S. Charts; He Won His First Latin Grammy In 2019
Bad Bunny has quickly become known for popularizing Latin Trap. The genre, which is heavily influenced by southern hip hop and reggaeton, began in Puerto Rico has been gaining steam for about a decade.
Since signing on with Hear This Music, Bunny has vastly expanded his reach through collaborations. He teamed up with Cardi B and J Balvin for the hit song “I Like It” in 2018. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list and was designated as the most popular song of the summer by YouTube.
In November of 2019, Bunny was awarded his first Latin Grammy for his debut album, titled “X 100Pre.” He won Best Urban Music Album.
Bunny has also garnered attention for his clothing style. He has been known to wear bright colors and showcase painted nails at times. Condé Nast Mexico & Latin America senior editor José Forteza told CNN Style in 2019, “Bad Bunny embraces the femininity that all men carry within, and this is one of the things I find most interesting about him, as he is sending a very powerful message in a time when a lot of people are discussing all things related to equality … I think that the symbols he’s assuming are able to diffuse frontiers between genders, he carries a message of inclusion and acceptance.”
5. Bad Bunny Has Used His Platform to Raise Awareness About Issues Impacting Puerto Rico
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio has used his newfound fame to call attention to serious issues in Puerto Rico. In September of 2018, he used his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to raise awareness about how much help communities still needed in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
His performance began with footage of the storm. Bad Bunny then appeared on stage and began by stating, “After one year of the hurricane, there are still people without electricity in their homes. More than 3,000 people died and Trump’s still in denial.” As he sang “Estamos Bien,” scenes from the music video were interspersed with more clips of Puerto Rico post-Maria.
The tragedy of the hurricane and the debilitating damage hit home for the musician. According to Fader, his family’s home in Vega Baja relied on three generators for power because one year after the storm, their neighborhood still lacked electricity. The magazine added that Bunny helped to distribute food, water, and generators to other community members after Maria hit.
In July of 2019, Bunny also joined hundreds of thousands of protesters to demand the resignation of then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Bunny shared photos on Instagram from the marches. Part of his caption, translated from Spanish, read, “A united people will never be overcome.” The post embedded above includes a picture of Bunny standing with fellow Puerto Rican musician Ricky Martin, who also joined in the demonstrations.
Bunny wrote in an earlier post on July 18, 2019, “Yesterday marked me forever. I had never felt so much pride in my life! However, the fight continues PUERTO RICO! WE WILL NOT LEAVE!!! WE WILL CHANGE HISTORY!!”