Skip to main content

Five Burning Questions: Bad Bunny, Maluma and More Latin Stars Impacting the Hot 100’s Top 20

While 2020 hasn't been the busiest year to date in terms of Latin stars appearing in the Hot 100's upper stretches, this week they impact three of the top 12 songs in the country.

While 2020 hasn’t been the busiest year to date in terms of Latin stars appearing in the Hot 100’s upper stretches, this week they impact three of the top 12 songs in the country.

Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez appear in the top 10 for the second week in a row, as their “Dákiti” collab moves up one spot from No. 9 to No. 8. Just outside the top tier, Maluma catapults from 60 to 12 with his “Hawái,” which now lists The Weeknd as his co-lead thanks to their recent team-up version. And at No. 1, 24kGoldn and iann dior’s “Mood” resides for a fourth week, aided this time by a new remix including J Balvin.

What does it mean for all of these artists to be hitting in the same week? And what song should be next to join them near the Hot 100’s top? Billboard staffers answer these questions and more below.


1. After climbing on the Hot 100 to No. 8 this week, “Dákiti” looks like it’s on its way to being the biggest breakout hit from an already very productive 2020 for Bad Bunny. Why do you think it’s this song that has really caught on for him, particularly on streaming services?  

Tatiana Cirisano: As productive as 2020 has been for Benito, “Dákiti” is still our first taste of new music from the superstar since Las Que No Iban a Salir nearly six months ago, and I think fans (including myself) have been eager to hear what’s next. “Dákiti” delivers, with a brooding, futuristic reggaeton sound and a surreal, aquatic music video which makes for a fun distraction from the daylight savings-time blues. It’s not surprising to me that the song is popping off on streaming services, either: Bad Bunny has a staggering 45.9 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, and streaming is especially dominant among Latin listeners, making up 91% of all Latin music consumption in the U.S., compared with 78% in the overall market, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s mid-year 2019 report.

Leila Cobo: Bad Bunny can do no wrong since he dropped his debut album, X100PRE, on Christmas Eve 2018. And he’s turned out to be a master at creating suspense and high expectations. This year, he released YHLQMDLG on Feb. 29, which became the highest debut ever for a Spanish language album on the Billboard 200. Since then, Bad Bunny has played his cards very close to the vest, releasing very few singles — particularly in comparison to his fellow reggaetón stars, who seem to drop one every week — and even fewer collaborations: three in all. By the time “Dákiti” came out, fans were salivating with expectation.

It doesn’t hurt that it’s an extremely catchy track, and the video — with the glass cage in the middle of the ocean — had that wow effect. Perhaps most important, “Dákiti” was a Bad Bunny track (versus him being a guest on another artist’s song) and he put all his marketing might behind it, showing it directly to streaming services and getting them excited. Mind you, Bad Bunny is the 10th most-listened to artist globally on Spotify. That’s no small accomplishment, particularly for someone who doesn’t release singles at a regular clip.

Jason Lipshutz: Both of Bad Bunny’s (very good!) 2020 albums were more focused on sharpening the edges of his megawatt persona than providing a slew of world-conquering anthems. “Dákiti” lets Bad Bunny have his cake and eat it, too: we’re ending the year with a greater understanding of the man behind that oversized voice, but finally have the unifying dance floor hit that we’ve been waiting to receive. It helps that rising Puerto Rican star Jhay Cortez is perfectly suited for the song’s stomping energy, too.

Jessica Roiz: It’s a no-brainer: 2020 is definitely Bad Bunny’s year. However, I feel that when he first stepped into the music industry, around 2016, you either  loved his music or you didn’t. He gradually became a household name after a series of star-studded collaborations that included some of the hottest artists in the genre — a strategy that worked, as by 2018, Bad Bunny created such a buzz that even Drake, Cardi B, and Jennifer Lopez wanted to work with him. By 2019 he was already on the international map and the rest is history with the release of his album YHLQMDLG in 2020.

Bad Bunny makes music on his own terms — he’s not afraid to collaborate with lesser-known artists, he’s not afraid of experimenting with new genres, and he’s definitely not afraid of keeping it real in his lyrics — and I believe that’s just part of his global appeal, in addition to his transparent personality and daring fashion style. Despite the edgy EDM-urban fusions and very cool music video, “Dákiti” came at a very good timing in Bunny’s career. He was away from social media for some time and yet the whole world waits for his very next move. It happened with the sold-out Crocs, it happened with his historic virtual concert in New York, and it’s happening with “Dákiti.”

Andrew Unterberger: As I’ve said before in this column, whenever a song finds a higher level of popularity than expected in 2020, you have to turn to TikTok as the most likely source of the momentum. And indeed, you can find over 300,000 Dákiti Challenge videos there that have no doubt played a role in the song’s crossover popularity. But that alone wouldn’t be enough to get the song to the top 10 for multiple weeks; certainly it being the rare Bad Bunny single release without a whole album attached to it also helped it achieve chart separation, as did the song’s seductive bounce and gorgeous ocean-set video.

2. Maluma’s “Hawái” leaps to No. 12 this week, in large part due to a new Weeknd-featuring remix of the slow-burn hit. Are you enjoying The Weeknd’s contributions to the song, or will you mostly be returning to the original in your personal listening? 

Tatiana Cirisano: When the remix was first announced, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if The Weeknd’s signature sulky croons would be a match for the tropical pop vibe of “Hawái.” But I’m pleasantly surprised. Abel’s intro vocals, sung in English, are a smooth, velvety treat, and his transition to Spanish — his first time singing in the language — is seamless. He hits just the right cadence.

Leila Cobo: I admit I love the original, but…The Weekend did a great job with his Spanish and his smooth vocals make him the perfect remix partner. I was extremely impressed and pleasantly surprised. He did his homework and it shows.

Jason Lipshutz: The new version of “Hawái” is an instance of a remix calling attention to a top-notch song that should have been a bigger deal on its own; that said, The Weeknd’s presence elevates the single, especially considering how convincingly he sings in Spanish for the first time! Maluma and The Weeknd have each had more notable moments on their own, but their combined force on the “Hawái” remix makes it easy to understand why it’s now a top 20 hit.

Jessica Roiz: When I was first told that The Weeknd was going to jump on the remix, my jaw dropped! I’m a huge fan of The Weeknd and to see him collaborate with a Latin artist is such a great move for both of them. I must be honest, though, I felt a bit underwhelmed when I first heard the song. I love The Weeknd singing in Spanish, I love his little footwork in the music video, I love the way his voice meshes with Maluma — but I wish that the melody had a bit more of his distinctive alternative R&B sound. I’ll sing along to both the original and the remix, but stepping out of the box for this one would have made it a real game-changer. I was expecting more.

Andrew Unterberger: The Weeknd’s verse slides so naturally into the gently melodramatic shuffle of “Hawái” that it’s something of a wonder that he’d never attempted reggaetón in earnest before. He sounds great on the Spanish-language chorus, and he gets out before risking any overwhelming of his co-star. Some remixes slingshot up the charts sheerly due to the star power of their special guests, but this is one earns its popularity boost.

3. J Balvin isn’t officially credited on the Hot 100 entry for 24kGoldn and iann dior’s “Mood” this week, but the song’s new remix with Balvin and Justin Bieber certainly helps the song stick at No. 1 for a fourth week. How much do you feel Balvin adds with his contributions to the remix? 

Tatiana Cirisano: Balvin’s appearance surely helped the song maintain its Hot 100 reign — over the past few years, the Colombian artist has risen to the level of a global superstar, and likely brought thousands of new fans to the track. That said, his verse on “Mood” feels a bit phoned-in, and what little flourishes he does bring (like the slight lift on “te dejé en visto”) get lost amid the song’s glitchy sound and mishmash of vocals. He adds sheer star power here, but not too much else.

Leila Cobo: It adds simply because it’s Balvin, and his streaming numbers are so very strong, that in track with him in it will rise. Plus, as ever, Balvin’s bit is in Spanish, a testament to his commitment to the language and to Latin music. Certainly he drew fans in, and I have no doubt 24Goldn and iann Dior have new Latin fans as a result.  But this isn’t my favorite collaboration of his. It feels a little cobbled together.

Jason Lipshutz: The original “Mood” was so potent that any remix was unlikely to make a huge dent in its cultural impact, and while Bieber and Balvin are major stars to try and integrate into an existing single, they certainly don’t rearrange this one’s molecules by crashing the party. Balvin in particular commits to the bit — his crooning is so earnest, in a song that certainly doesn’t require that level of vocal passion! — but it’s hard to overcome the 24kGoldn and iann dior original.

Jessica Roiz: With or without J Balvin, this song is an overall bop — it’s fun and catchy. It’s great to see Balvin jump on this type of collaboration, which is probably outside of his comfort zone because it’s not precisely reggaetón. He’s definitely staying true to his roots, proudly flaunting his melodious verse in Spanish, and that in itself is a wonderful contribution to the remix and for Latin music.

Andrew Unterberger: Few would probably argue that Balvin (and/or Bieber) really elevates “Mood” to new heights on the song’s remix — but I think it’s still cool to hear him on the track, if for no other reason than because “Mood” is already such a successful hybrid jam that adding a bilingual and international aspect to it as well just makes it feel more universal. In any language or culture, a mood is a mood.

4. Outside of these three songs, what’s a newer Latin hit that you’d like to see have a major crossover impact on the Hot 100 shortly — either in its current incarnation, or with a starry new remix?

Tatiana Cirisano: I’d love to see a Latina hit the chart, and Paloma Mami’s rise seems imminent. The Chilean singer and songwriter, who cracked Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart with Major Lazer and Diplo collaboration “QueLoQue” earlier this year, has a slow-burning potential hit on her hands with her bilingual November single “For Ya,” a breathy, R&B-flavored jam. I know this is a leap, but Paloma’s haunting, slightly theatrical vocals to match the song’s chilling, minimal sound are giving me Billie Eilish vibes, and I wonder if the two would deign to collaborate…

Leila Cobo: I would love to see Karol G’s “Bichota” chart strongly on the Hot 100. It’s full of attitude and sass without being crass, and I do love its “I rock!” message. A remix with Rihanna would be the cherry on the cake!

Jason Lipshutz: Karol G’s “Bichota,” which is a few weeks old at this point, makes for an impressive solo offering from an artist who’s become an in-demand collaborator in the Latin pop world. Karol sounds commanding on the track, and its hook has wormed its way into my brain. “Bichota” has reached the top 10 of the Hot Latin Songs chart but has yet to reach the Hot 100, and I hope it does soon.

Jessica Roiz: I would love to see Karol G’s “Bichota” enter the Hot 100. She’s already making moves with this single, becoming the first female artist to debut in the Hot Latin Songs top 10 without another act in eight years, since Gloria Estefan’s “Hotel Nacional” in 2012. Considering this song is a complete anthem — it’s sexy, empowering, fierce, and unapologetic — I would love to see Rihanna jump on the remix. Not only is Karol a big Riri fan, but I feel that these two artists would kill it and escalate the Hot 100 chart in no time.

Another song I root for is Sech’s “Relacion (Remix)” with Daddy Yankee, Rosalia, Farruko, and J Balvin. Dimelo Flow produced a completely different track from the original and it worked to everyone’s advantage. And finally, though he’s no new name on the Hot 100 chart, I would love to see more of Jhay Cortez’s music on there. From the new wave of Latin artists, he’s really innovative and breaking boundaries in the music scene.

Andrew Unterberger: I’ll also happily throw my support behind “Bichota,” but for variety’s sake I’ll also mention a song Karol G already graced a remix of: Ozuna’s “Caramelo.” The Latin Songs chart-topping smash has been lingering around the lower stretches of the Hot 100, but might need an extra push to get its delectable bounce and syrupy chorus to the Hot 100’s top half. Maybe another remix, this one with a guest appearance from (or at least a Beyoncé-style interpolation of) ’80s funkers Cameo?

5. Do you think it’s especially meaningful to have three of the top 12 songs on the Hot 100 this week impacted by Latin stars, or is it largely a fluke of timing?  

Tatiana Cirisano: Latin is no longer merely on the rise — it’s a dominant genre which routinely appears on the Hot 100, and this week’s trio of hits impacted by Latin stars is only further proof of that trend. I would add that it’s also meaningful to see more variety in terms of what types of Latin songs and collaborations are reaching the Hot 100. The industry appears to no longer be stuck in the rut of the “Despacito” formula of the past two years, where anglophone artists hopped on reggaetón songs for the hype of it. Of the three tracks in this discussion, one is a song by two Latin artists, one is a Latin song which tapped an anglophone superstar for a tasteful remix, and the third is the opposite, a song by two anglophone artists who tapped a Latin superstar (Balvin) alongside Justin Bieber — signaling that both are on a similar level of stardom.

Leila Cobo: It’s extremely meaningful and I think we will see more and more of this. Latin has broken out as a genre in a huge way this year. According to Nielsen data, it is now the third largest genre in the world, after R&B and pop. Now, the U.S. pop charts are finally reflecting this state of things.

Jason Lipshutz: Largely a fluke of timing, but that’s an even more powerful statement of normalization, right? The fact that multiple huge hits have been impacted by Latin stars at the same time, but doesn’t signal an overarching new trend, means that such an occurrence can be deemed ordinary in a post-“Despacito” world, and Spanish-language songs can comfortably reside in the upper reaches of the chart without conjuring a fleet of thinkpieces.

Jessica Roiz: Yes, it speaks volumes! I think that any time a Latin artist achieves something major with their music, such as entering the Hot 100, is always going to be meaningful, especially for the Latin community. I still remember the time that seven Latin artists were on the list: Daddy Yankee, Lunay, Sech, Jhay Cortez, Ozuna, Nicky Jam, and Pedro Capo all had Hot 100 hits in the summer of 2019. Perhaps they didn’t enter the top 10, but it was so remarkable to see the big dogs and even newer artists on there. Now we have three major artists in the top 12 and I think it won’t stop here. It’s only a matter of time.

Andrew Unterberger: It’s meaningful in that we had gone a long stretch of 2020 without since seeing any crossover hits of this size from Latin artists on the Hot 100 — so while it might be something of a fluke for us to see a few at once this week, it also shows that going a number of months without any was also pretty fluky in its own right. Latin pop and reggaetón are still a major factor in North American popular music, and likely will continue to be so for a long time.