Winter threatened to come early in Flagstaff in 2018. Not waiting for fall to subside, the cold reached in with its icy grip, coating the roads in a frozen sheet and padding the skies with pale grey clouds. What I would not have given on that day to be able to stare past the coer and into the sun, the shroud myself in its warmth. To escape my gloom, I turned to the internet, where every desire can be found represented to a certain degree of accuracy. Perhaps there was something within that would take me back to the days of summer; where things weren’t so cold, and the world so dismal.
It took only a few seconds for me to encounter “MIA”, a song by Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, featuring Drake. I clicked the video and was greeted by a scene of a familial scene, one of the people enjoying each other’s company in the warm Puerto Rican night. Drake was there, playing games as one of the family, conversing presumably in Spanish, which he prominently displayed at the beginning of the song with his vocals. He sang over a typical reggaeton rhythm, syncopated in a way the inspires movement, punctuated by a sparse drum and snare. The muted chords, tastefully added by production team DJ Luian and Mambo Kingz, provide just enough to establish harmony and allow Bad Bunny and Drake to add what remains. The vocal delivery is one that exists in a hybrid state between rap and singing, as Bad Bunny seems to delve between the two with ease, sometimes delivering rapid, monotone lines, and at other times exhibiting flowing melodies that are less condensed with syllables.
Drake’s presence in the video, though an endorsement of Bad Bunny and his music, almost has a diminishing effect due to how small of role Drake has in the song. Beyond his parts in the beginning and during the chorus, Drake is not featured in a particularly interesting way beyond just being an advertisable face for the music video. This makes it seem as if Drake couldn’t have been bothered to invest himself in the artistic efforts of Bad Bunny beyond placing himself strategically within a rapidly expanding Latin American pop music market. THough seeing him rhyme so seemingly effortlessly in Spanish is impressive, I feel his contribution would have been stronger were he able to demonstrate his individual talents more prominently.
Despite Drake’s minimal presence on the track, Bad Bunny was more than able to pull the weight throughout the verses, maintaining an enjoyable atmosphere that gave me a sense of warmth to last me through the harsh, bleak winter.