At Song Last: I find joy in being ahead of the trend

Ryan Song | Daily Trojan

Aside from reminding the world of Cardi B’s impending hip-hop dominance, an impressive result of her song “I Like It” debuting at No. 8 in its first week on Billboard’s Hot 100 is that it will surely solidify Latin rapper Bad Bunny in America’s public consciousness. The artist has had significant solo success with hits like “Sensualidad,” but his collaborations with American artists, while popular, did not receive  as much attention as the collaboration with Cardi B.

I first discovered Bad Bunny four months ago when my friend and I stumbled upon “Krippy Kush (Remix)” while flipping through radio stations. Despite the song’s repetive nature, evidenced in the annoying “kush kush kush kush kush” lyric, I loved it. Just recently, I started listening to more of his work and began hoping that others would too. Indeed, the possibility that Bad Bunny could become more popular here in the States after his recent hit with Cardi B  is the latest instance of my attempting to enjoy an artist before everyone else hops on the bandwagon.

Despite writing a music column this semester, I’m not as well-equipped to analyze music as other staff writers who consistently review albums. I usually can’t determine what song will become a major hit, or who will become the next big star. When something usually becomes a giant phenomenon, like The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” or Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonzi’s “Despacito,” I usually wait four or five weeks before hearing it because I don’t want my enjoyment to be ruined by the hype. However, when I am able to accurately predict a song or artist’s future success, I take great pride in the fact that I discovered them early.

I recently started following music reviewer Todd in the Shadows, who uploads yearly lists of the best and worst in music. Because these were his most enjoyable videos, I started to check Billboard’s Year End charts to predict what could make the lists.

Art by Di Wu | Daily Trojan

Eventually, it reached a point where checking Billboard’s Hot 100 would become a weekly routine. For most of high school, I wanted to see which of my favorite artists or songs would reign the charts at No. 1. When their songs stuck at the top spot, I was even more elated: When Drake’s “One Dance” reached its pinnacle in 2016, I was thrilled to see him hold No. 1 for 10 weeks (only to be topped by “God’s Plan,” which spent 11 weeks in the pole position this year). Although I enjoyed “One Dance,” I was shocked to see it remain at the top for so long.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” on the other hand, was the rare instance where I immediately (and not unintentionally) fell in love with the song and hoped that it would be a hit. I valued the fact that I listened to it during its initial release, and the moment it became overplayed during it’s 14-week run at No. 1, I began avoiding it.

I developed a general interest in music this past semester, partly so I could talk with my apartment mate who constantly blasts all the popular hits on his Beats Pill. It was at this time that I started looking at the Hot 100 more actively to see what entered the charts and what was in the bottom 50.

It’s impressive to make it into the Top 20, so Bad Bunny’s inclusion at No. 8 indicates that he could gain even more traction. Typically, when I find songs and artists before everyone else, it’s a sign that the artists will remain culturally prominent. But in this case, although Bad Bunny already had a sizeable following before his feature on Cardi B’s “I Like It,” I’m glad to have the opportunity to help his fan base grow even more, sharing more of his music with people who were intrigued by his verse on the popular song.

Thus, as a final note for my column this semester, I highly recommend checking out the 21 Savage remix of Farruko’s “Krippy Kush,” featuring Bad Bunny and Nicki Minaj.

Ryan Song is a sophomore majoring in business administration. His column, “At Song Last,” ran every other Thursday.