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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bad Bunny, No. 1 again, puts a spotlight on inequities in Puerto Rico

By Ben Sisario

Another week, another 100-odd-million streams and yet another No. 1 for Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican pop superstar whose album “Un Verano Sin Ti” has dominated the upper rungs of the Billboard chart since it came out in May.

In its 19th week of release, “Un Verano” notches an 11th time at No. 1, the most at the top since Drake’s “Views” had a 13-week stint in 2016. The runs for both albums are nonconsecutive, but Bad Bunny has the distinction of never dipping below No. 2. (“Views” fell as low as No. 4 during its first 19 weeks out.)

In its most recent week, “Un Verano” had the equivalent of 97,000 sales in the United States, including 132 million streams, according to Luminate, the tracking service that powers Billboard’s charts. Since its release, the album has had the equivalent of about 2.4 million sales, and its songs have racked up 3.3 billion streams.

The accomplishment comes as Bad Bunny is selling out stadiums across North America — including two nights at Yankee Stadium last month — and has become increasingly outspoken about political and social issues in Puerto Rico. On Friday, he released a 23-minute video, which segues from a music video for his song “El Apagón” to an 18-minute documentary by Bianca Graulau, a journalist, called “Aquí Vive Gente” (“People Live Here”).

Her film looks at inequities in Puerto Rican real estate, including the eviction of some low-income residents of San Juan to make way for million-dollar homes that cater to mainland speculators and cryptocurrency traders. “They’re evicting Puerto Ricans to get rich with what’s from here, with what’s native from here,” one woman, who said she was given 30 days to leave her apartment, tells Graulau in the film.

Bad Bunny’s video also explores the long-standing problems with Puerto Rico’s power grid, which has struggled to recover after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Outages this year led to protests against Luma Energy, a private company that took it over in 2021. The video arrived as Hurricane Fiona knocked out power across all of Puerto Rico, and led to widespread flooding.

Three new albums placed high on this week’s chart. Canadian rapper Nav opens at No. 2 with “Demons Protected by Angels,” while Ozzy Osbourne, the 73-year-old metal god and onetime reality-TV star, starts at No. 3 with his latest, “Patient Number 9.” Country singer Kane Brown debuts at No. 5 with “Different Man.”

Also this week, Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” is No. 4, extending its historic chart run with an 87th time in the Top 10.

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