There were a few fantastic albums that were snuck into the fray at the end of the year. One of them came from breakout star Bad Bunny, who is coming off of a majorly successful year with multiple high-caliber collaborations. X 100PRE is the dazzling debut album from the latin trap force. After working with the likes of Cardi B, Drake, and the indomitable Will Smith, the Puerto Rico native ventured on his own to create a full-length work that totals in a length of just six minutes short of an hour. Deciding to join forces, Noah and I listened to the album in its entirety and decided to share our thoughts together.
1. What was immediate thought when you first started the album?
Noah Johnson: I should have put this on my top five albums of 2018.
Matthew Ritchie: I really hoped that my six years of Spanish in high school and one semester in college would allow me to fully understand the lyrics. They did not.
2. What was the best song on the album? The worst?
Noah: The award for best song is a tossup. “Otro Noche En Miami,” “200 MPH,” and “La Romana” are all so good. I think I’m gonna have to go with “La Romana” for this one, though, cause it’s like two songs in one. It’s pretty, ahem, fuego. However, the worst song is without a doubt “Tenemos Que Hablar.” I feel like I’m listening to the latest pop punk record. It just doesn’t fit the vibe of the rest of the album.
Matthew: There are a lot of choices for best song. Everything was fantastic. However, I think the standout for me is the opening track, “Ni Bien Ni Mal.” It is the perfect intro for this album, as he floats effortlessly over the trap beat. It was the perfect mixture of vocals and production. Bad Bunny had a certified banger right off the bat, to the point where I replayed it multiple times the first time through.
I don’t really think there was a bad song in the album. I guess I could have gone without Drake singing in Spanish on “MÍA,” but I did not necessarily hate it. The song was still good. There were really no holes in the album.
3. Was this your first time listening to Bad Bunny?
Noah: Yes and no? I heard him for the first time on “I Like It,” but I don’t think it was a good representation of how talented he is. I also had heard “Chambea” before, which is a mf banger. If you haven’t heard it, highly recommend checking it out. After I heard that, I started looking for more of El Conejo Malo’s music and I came across this album.
Matthew: It was the first time I had ever intentionally made the effort to listen to his music. Much like Noah, my only foray into Bad Bunny was through “I Like It” and “Chambea,” but goodness were my eyes opened. I had been lazy and ignorant to the talent that he holds. It almost makes me mad that I had waited this long to actually dive into his music, because I’ve been missing out immensely.
4. What does Bad Bunny do best on the album?
Noah: I loved the diversity in styles of songs. Even though I didn’t like the song itself, I appreciated the experimentation of having “Tenemos Que Hablar” (and other songs with different vibes) on the album.
Matthew: The meshing of his singing voice and the booming production is perfect. His singing is flawless, full of charisma and emotion. Any time his voice rang into my eardrums, I was floored and captivated. The background that coincides with his voice is the dangerous mixture of Latin music and rap influences. The pounding trap beats chopped together with the traditional guitars is a matched made in music heaven. The combining of the two elements of his voice and the production was beautifully done.
5. Did the fact that you probably didn’t understand the lyrics affect how much you liked the album?
Noah: Nope! I listen to probably what most people would consider a weird amount of foreign language music. I love hearing how similar but also how different other culture’s music is to American music.
Matthew: If anything, it made the listening experience more enjoyable. You’re able to just groove along and drown yourself in the unfamiliar sounds.
6. Has this album opened your eyes to Latin pop/rap music a little more?
Noah: If anything, this was the result of me opening my eyes to this genre of music. I’d been put on by a few friends this summer, and I wanted to hear more. So no.
Matthew: Due to an experience with a bunch of Dominican teenagers (shoutout to Lindos Sueños), I became a huge fan of two Dominican rappers, El Alfa, who featured on the album, and Ceky Viciny.
This Bad Bunny album will only serve to deepen my fandom for Latin rap.
7. What’s the most memorable moment from X 100PRE.
Noah: PÁSAME LA HOOKAH.
Matthew: I don’t want to seem like I’m copying Noah but…PÁSAME LA HOOKAHHHH.
8. What is your final rating for the album, from 1-10?
Noah: Solid 9.
Matthew: As close to a 10 as possible, so 9.5.