The regional Mexican takeover has officially reached the highest stretches of the Billboard Hot 100. Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma‘s “Ella Baila Sola” hit the top five last week, and now they’re joined there by Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny’s “Un x100to.”
The song moves 15-5 on the Hot 100 this week (dated May 6) in its first full week of release, marking the first top 10 hit for the regional Mexican group. While it’s far from Bad Bunny’s first such hit, it’s his first integrating his Latin trap sound into his collaborators’ cumbia-norteño framework.
What does the song’s success mean for the respective artists? And just how much will regional Mexican continue to grow? Billboard staffers discuss these questions and more below.
1. Grupo Frontera have already had several hits of increasing size in the past year, but “un x100to” sees them reaching a new level entirely. Does this success officially make them stars, both stateside and globally?
Griselda Flores: I want to say that because of their massive success with “No Se Va,” they were already stars stateside. That track peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart in November. Then, a few months later, they scored their very first No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs and Latin Airplay with their Fuerza Regida team-up “Bebe Dame.” They’re also currently on a 23-date U.S. tour, their first-ever trek following their breakout just last year. So, I would argue that they were already local stars in their own right. However, collaborating with Bad Bunny obviously gives them that global push.
Jason Lipshutz: Hard to say: Grupo Frontera has scored Hot 100 hits before this, both on their own (“No Se Va”) and with other artists (“Que Vuelvas” with Carin Leon, “Bebe Dame” with Fuerza Regida), but they’ve never come close to the top five of the Hot 100 prior to “un x100to,” which just happens to be a team-up with one of the biggest stars on the planet. Bad Bunny’s turn on “un x100to” has undeniably broadened its appeal, and whether Grupo Frontera helped engineer a smash or simply benefited from his presence is in the eye of the beholder; as the song starts its chart run, it will be interesting to see if Grupo Frontera downplays the commercial gains of this collaboration, or grabs hold of their brighter spotlight.
Isabela Raygoza: Yes. Although Grupo Frontera were well on their way to bigger success in their own right — and with their nearly quarter-billion streaming “Que Vuelvas” (2022) alongside Carin León, among other big hits — this collab sees the Mexican stars become supernova-like. Thinking back to 2019, when Natanael Cano was buzzing on SoundCloud and beyond, Bad Bunny jumped on his remix “Soy El Diablo” — and I believe that became a turning point for Cano and corridos tumbados, without sacrificing the integrity of the regional style. This success makes Grupo Frontera a household name beyond original regional Mexican music fans.
Jessica Roiz: I’d want to say it’s 50/50. I don’t doubt “un X100to” is making them a known name globally ,but the truth is, Grupo Frontera was a force to be reckoned with way before the Bad Bunny collaboration. They first gained traction in the summer of 2022 with their norteño cover of Morat’s “No Se Va” — which, thanks to its massive virality on social media, reached corners outside of the states. Their collaborations with Carin León “Vuelve” and Fuerza Regida “Bebe Dame” were also viral hits that kept pushing them onto the international radar.
Andrew Unterberger: I think so. Obviously Bad Bunny is Bad Bunny, but when you look at his other collabs from the past six months you can see that they’re not all automatic smashes just due to his presence — “La Jumpa” with Arcangel only peaked at No. 68 on the Hot 100, while “Gat de Noche” with Nengo Flow reached No. 60. The fact that “Un x100to” zoomed to the top five in its first week of release means more about Grupo Frontera’s rising profile and increasingly mainstream-embraced sound than it does about their global superstar collaborator’s golden touch, I think.
2. Bad Bunny has little left to prove in his superstardom at this point, but he’s less established within regional Mexican as a collaborator. Do you think he sounds at home in the genre in “un x100to,” or are his contributions to the song more in terms of the added exposure he brings?
Griselda Flores: I would say that because of the lyrics, which are very modern and super Bad Bunny-esque (even the title is so him — he named his first album X 100pre), he does sound at home. When it comes to the sound, he doesn’t — because it’s a style he’s never recorded in. But he sure does sound really great in a cumbia norteña.
I’d say that having Bad Bunny on a song will always contribute to global exposure no matter who the other artist is. I think with this collab, Bad Bunny proves that he’s a well-rounded artist who is really paying attention to what is up-and-coming. We already know he’s a fan of the genre, after collaborating on a corrido with Natanael Cano in 2019 — so this is just another nod to the genre that again, has always been strong, and now the numbers are there to prove it.
Jason Lipshutz: Bad Bunny is arguably the most sonically adventurous Latin pop superstar of all time, and last year’s Un Verano Sin Ti – which became one of the biggest albums of the year by hopscotching across genres and stylistic motifs – serves as an Exhibit A. The fact that he fits comfortably into the regional Mexican tradition on “un x100to,” adopting Grupo Frontera’s sensibility and the song’s tempo, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Bad Bunny, and his chameleonic streak, over the course of his career.
Isabela Raygoza: I think it’s a bit of both. When Bad Bunny comes in at the 1:35 minute mark, he sounds like his usual self, delivering a very similar attitude that we’ve heard him in his pop-reggaetón and Latin trap songs. What I hear at that mark is that producers Edgar Barrera and Mag adjusted the production on Bunny’s verse to accommodate his passionate flow as he entered, wouldn’t Benito having to sacrifice losing his signature essence. When the regional Mexican rhythm comes in at the 1:57 minute mark, Benito sounds like a natural. Also, the BPM is at 83, and “Amorfoda” is at 74 BPM while “Trellas” at 91. I think this is a sweet spot for the Bunny, and a tempo that he can get down to. Benito’s participation still gives Frontera and the song a whole lot of further exposure, IMO.
Jessica Roiz: Personally, although he’s the biggest Latin urban act in the world, I feel that Bad Bunny can easily blend well into any genre. He’s a chameleon. He dropped a dembow track with “Titi Me Pregunto,” a merengue track with “Despues de la Playa, a samba tune with “Yo No Soy Celoso,” and I feel that his first-ever norteño with “Un X100to” is not the exception. The collaboration might not be everyone’s cup of tea — but to my ears, he sounds at home.
Andrew Unterberger: I don’t know if the sound is quite seamless — and the beat switchup upon his entrance kinda sounds like the producers putting up the bumpers at the bowling alley for Benito, which I doubt he really needs. But the more important thing here is that Bad Bunny has proven himself such a musical omnivore — and really, such a good hang — that he doesn’t sound totally out of place anywhere; he could show up on Luke Combs’ next album and you’d just go, “Oh cool, Bad Bunny’s doing radio country ballads now.” He’s got an all-access pass within popular music now, and he’s earned it.
3. A year ago, “Un x100to” wouldn’t likely have been anyone’s guess for a Hot 100 smash — at least in terms of its sound — but this year it’s already a top five hit in its first full week of release. Do you see it growing even further into that kind of summer-dominating smash?
Griselda Flores: I think this will for sure be a song that will continue dominating into the summer. One because of its star power but also because it’s really just a good song: catchy lyrics with an infectious sound. Plus, Mexican music is on top of the world right now so this song — along with others like “Ella Baila Sola” — will be on repeat for many listeners, in the U.S. and globally, throughout the summer.
Jason Lipshutz: We’re in such uncharted territory with the explosion of regional Mexican music on the charts – while also currently in a moment where betting against the commercial success of Bad Bunny feels like a fool’s errand – that I can’t help but conclude that “un x100to” has a real shot at summer-smash status. We’ve never really had a big summer hit like it, but with Bad Bunny and regional Mexican music continuing to rewrite history, who says that they won’t keep going with this new single, which is already a top five hit?
Isabela Raygoza: I do! I think by this point, the general public — who recently discovered this historic genre, and previously non-regional Mexican music fans — are now embracing regional Mexican music like in no other time. (Which is crazy, since I grew up with this style of music being from the San Diego-Tijuana region.) We saw Los Tucanes de Tijuana appear in Coachella in 2019, and “La Chona” (1995) went viral that year because of a TikTok challenge. There were many other trending and cultural moments that have kept regional Mexican music relevant. But now we’re talking about a Hot 100 smash; that’s unprecedented. I strongly believe there’s a very solid foundation to the century-old style, with many young newcomers updating the formula in exhilarating ways that will keep it rocking this summer and beyond.
Jessica Roiz: Definitely! Because of the Bad Bunny push, it’s not only putting Grupo Frontera on the map but also spotlighting the infectious norteño and cumbia genre and a new wave of Música Mexicana artists. The song’s lyrics on heartbreak and regret may not be that feel-good but its uptempo beat is without a doubt one that can be played at any party, carne asada, club, and event, and will have everyone dancing and singing at the top of their lungs.
Andrew Unterberger: Maybe not for the whole summer, since both artists are so prolific they might have newer music commanding attention within a month or two’s time. (Hell, Grupo Frontera already has another new Hot 100 hit this week with their Yahritza y Su Esencia teamup “Frágil,” a No. 82 debut.) But the song definitely is hitting the warm-weather months with all the momentum in the world, and still plenty of potential converts out there waiting to fall under its spell.
4. Collabs have become such a massive part of Latin popular music in the past decade-plus, with artists constantly helping each one another cross-pollenate their sounds and audiences. If you could choose two Latin artists who’ve yet to work together who could really add something to the culture by collaborating, who would you team up?
Griselda Flores: Wow, the possibilities are endless. Karol G, who’s recorded two regional Mexican songs in the past (“200 Copas” and “Gucci Los Paños”) would pair nicely with Grupo Frontera in a cumbia. I think that would be huge. Becky G, who is recording her first Mexican music album, could also surprise with a collab that we didn’t know we needed. I’d love to see her doing a heartbreak sierreño track with Eslabon Armado.
Jason Lipshutz: Late last year, Shakira stated that she wanted Bad Bunny to call her up with a track; since then, she’s scored a pair of top 10 collaborations alongside Karol G and Bizarrap, respectively, yet her team-up with Bad Bunny has yet to materialize. Considering Shakira’s recent chart renaissance, Bad Bunny’s red-hot streak and their penchants for collaborations, a pairing makes all the sense in the world, and could smash the world if and when it finally arrives.
Isabela Raygoza: Indeed — collabs have become essential to the ever-growing boom of Latin music, especially post “Despacito.” At this point, I think collaborations are totally expected, or even necessary for plenty of Latin artists. What still comes in as a welcoming surprise are when Latin acts collaborate with non-Latin acts: Snoop, Drake, Beyoncé, The Weeknd… But if I had to choose, I’d say Julio Iglesias and Enrique Iglesias 🙂 Fans will know why.
Jessica Roiz: OK, hear me out: Karol G and Grupo Firme. I think it can work. Karol is another urban artist who has already tested the regional Mexican waters. She teamed up with Danny Felix for her heartfelt corrido “200 Copas” and worked with Edgar Barrera on her banda track “Gucci Los Paños.” Needless to say, Karol has already invited Firme to sing with her during one of her shows — and if the group’s version of “Tusa” is any indication, Firme is a huge Karol fan.
Andrew Unterberger: Feels like only a matter of time until we get the Peso Pluma & Yahritza y Su Esencia team-up — and when we do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up dominating the Hot 100 more than any of the other hits we’ve discussed here.
5. Between this and Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma’s “Ella Baila Sola” in the Hot 100’s top five right now — and plenty of other songs from these artists and their peers below them on the chart — do you think regional Mexican is going to be the sound of the summer in the U.S.?
Griselda Flores: Without a doubt. This is the just the beginning for Mexican music. I think, in the upcoming months, we’re going to see many more non-regional Mexican artists wanting to record with these new Mexican music hitmakers, which will continue to fuel the genre’s global takeover.
Jason Lipshutz: Absolutely. It feels like we’re just scratching the surface in terms of the hits being mined from the regional Mexican scene, and the national consciousness that this trend is quickly becoming so dominant – but it’s here, the songs are legitimate smashes, and I’d reckon that a lot more are coming. Regional Mexican fans, rejoice: this summer will be all yours.
Isabela Raygoza: I think it’s going to be like how reggaetón sounded in 2015, in terms of mainstream radio airplay, late-night TV and chart presence. But on the streets, if you live in L.A. or southern California, that has already been happening for many a decade — also in Chicago and Jackson Heights in New York City. But if you live in Miami, although there’s a strong Latin presence, regional Mexican music wasn’t the buzzworthy genre. I think regional Mexican music is going to be a strong sound this summer in the U.S. But the dominant? Not so sure. I think that spot is still reserved for the Miley Cyrus’, the SZAs, the Morgan Wallans, and the Drakes of the world. Bad Bunny fits in this category too, therefore so will “Un x100to.” If Peso Pluma, Grupo Frontera, Eslabon Armado and gang keeps up their momentum, then we’re in for a very exciting summer of regional.
Jessica Roiz: 1000000000000 percent!
Andrew Unterberger: Certainly seems that’s what we’re headed for, doesn’t it? I don’t know how much it’ll be recognized on top 40 radio or in mainstream TV and internet spaces, but on streaming and social media it seems clear that regional Mexican has more movement right now than any other genre — and there’s no particularly close second. It may take the gatekeepers a bit of time to catch up, but sooner or later they’re not gonna have much choice; this is the music of 2023, and it’s pretty exciting stuff.