Quevedo remembers perfectly the first time he ever freestyled. The Spanish artist was 14 years old and was on his way to soccer practice with his friend Adrian when they had an impromptu battle between the two. “After that first one, Adrian, [my other friend] Moralo and I would walk back home together from practice — since we all lived in the same neighborhood — and Adri and I would battle it out and Moralo would be the judge.”
It was around that time that the now-20-year-old urban artist became interested in freestyle and rap inspired by artists he was listening to at the time, such as Delaossa y Suite M. In the island of Gran Canaria, where he grew up, he explains that there was a significant number of people freestyling, with support from a local organization called HH Canarias that organized events and battles, but Quevedo never participated. “There was a scene but I was never part of it. I didn’t battle with them or sign up for competitions,” he adds. “I preferred to freestyle with people I knew.”
Over the past two years, he’s been releasing music, including the first tracks that made him a local artist to watch such as “Cayó La Noche,” “No Me Digas Nada” and “Universitaria.” But it was his freestyle-based session with Argentine producer Bizarrap that catapulted him to global success.
The club-ready “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” released earlier this month, is currently No. 1 on both the Billboard Global 200 the Billboard Global Excl. U.S., with 88.3 million streams — a 38% week-to-week increase, according to Luminate. Additionally, the track is only the second fully Spanish-language song to top the Global 200 in the chart’s two-year history, following Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez’s “Dákiti” in 2020.
“My music is now heard around the world and it’s something that’s honestly just incredible,” adds Quevedo, who says it was Bizarrap who reached out to him via Instagram. “He told me he liked what I was doing and was hoping we could do music together. The timing was perfect because I was actually in Argentina recording ‘Si Quieren Frontear’ with Duki. So we decided to do the session then.”
The recording session was “super normal,” he says. “What isn’t normal is what’s happened with the song since it’s been released. It seemed like such a normal day at the studio, nothing out of the ordinary. We recorded the song then we just spent the day laughing and watching videos on YouTube.”
On YouTube, “Vol. 52” has nearly 100 million views and, on Spotify, it reached No. 1 on its Global Top 50 Chart, for which Quevedo was named Spotify’s Global RADAR artist, which spotlights emerging global acts. “I’m so happy with everything that’s happening with the song, all the support since the very beginning. But I’m not obsessing over accomplishments, I just want to enjoy the moment.”
“We’re thrilled to see Quevedo shine in the international scene as he is one of our current RADAR artists,” Melanie Parejo, head of music, Southern Europe, Spotify. “From early on we could see the organic connection with his fans on Spotify was special, so we’re very excited to accompany him on this amazing career path. Him having the number 1 song on Spotify together with Bizarrap is a testament of his ability to connect with audiences, and a confirmation that music in Spanish is a truly global phenomenon, with new Gen Z superstars from places outside of the historic hubs of Puerto Rico and Colombia such as Spain or Argentina are now contributing to the culture in a major way.”
Why has his session with Bizarrap exploded? Quevedo thinks its a number of factors that contributed to making it a No. 1 global song: “First of all, whatever Bizarrap touches turns gold. Also, the song is perfect for summer and festivals, and people can sing along and dance to it. Plus, I’m a new artist, so I think people are intrigued about what I’m doing.”
Learn more about this month’s Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise below:
Name: Pedro Domínguez Quevedo
Major Accomplishment: “My biggest accomplishment as of now is to be able to live off of my music.”
Recommended Song: “‘Respuesta Cero’ I think is the song that could best define me, because it captures everything I can do. I have some songs that are more reggaetón-leaning with lyrics that aren’t so deep. But I also have other songs where I do talk about my feelings. ‘Respuesta Cero’ is a mix of both.”
What’s Next: “Right now, I’m working on what I hope will be my debut album, although it’s not something I’m too worried about. I enjoy making new music and for sure, I’ll be releasing more throughout the year.”