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March 20, 2023

Bad Bunny could make history at the 65th Grammy Awards

Bad Bunny could make history at the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday.

His record-breaking “Un Verano Sin Ti” could become the first Spanish-language album to win the top prize in the history of the Recording Academy.

The Puerto Rican rapper is nominated to the album of the year award alongside ABBA, Adele, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo and Harry Styles.

Aside from album of the year, “Un Verano Sin Ti” is also nominated in the best música urbana album category alongside Latin urban music legend Daddy Yankee as well as Farruko, Maluma and Rauw Alejandro.

Bad Bunny is also nominated for best pop solo performance with “Moscow Mule,” the opening track that sets the tone to “Un Verano Sin Ti.”

The critically acclaimed album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 record chart following its release and spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at the top of the chart — the most weeks at No. 1 since 2016.

“Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny’s fourth studio album, was only the second Spanish-language album to top that chart. The first was Bad Bunny’s previous studio album “El Último Tour Del Mundo.”

“He didn’t just put out a Spanish album, he put out the top-selling album in the world,” Leila Cobo, Billboard’s chief content officer of Latin, told NBC News. “I think that the Academy would look very tone-deaf if they didn’t put this album in the running.”

Bad Bunny also set the world record for the highest grossing tour in a calendar year in 2022, amassing $435.3 million with over 2.4 million tickets sold across 81 shows from his most recent concert tours, “World’s Hottest Tour” and “El Último Tour del Mundo.”

Bad Bunny’s global impact — en español

Vanessa Diaz, the co-creator of the Bad Bunny Syllabus project and a professor at Loyola Marymount University — where she teaches a course titled “Bad Bunny and Resistance in Puerto Rico” — told NBC News she gets a sense of the artist’s global impact from her students.

“You don’t have to understand what the lyrics are, but if you do understand, it adds a whole other level,” Diaz said. Her Spanish-speaking students are delving into Puerto Rican slang to better understand Bad Bunny’s music, while non-Spanish speakers are looking to learn the language.

“The fact that he is nominated, and he only speaks Spanish in his album, and he didn’t have to cross over into English, and people who don’t speak Spanish love his music, that is so fundamentally groundbreaking,” Diaz said. “This moment is so historic, that we can’t underestimate what it means culturally, what it means, historically. We are constantly going to come back to this moment, whether he wins or not.”

For Diaz and Cobo, Bad Bunny’s authenticity is a key characteristic to his global appeal.

Part of Bad Bunny’s authenticity comes through in the way he centers Puerto Rico in his music as well as the way he infuses multiple music genres while keeping his reggaeton DNA, Diaz said. “Bad Bunny’s voice has now been equated to reggaeton.”

“He manages to put all his idiosyncrasies in there. And that’s, I think, what makes him so unique,” Cobo said.

The 65th Grammy Awards will air on CBS and stream on Paramount+ from Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Nicole Acevedo

Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

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