Colombian singer J Balvin and Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny are changing the game, one hit at a time. Making their crossover by singing in their native language and staying true to their sound, both Balvin (real name:José Álvaro Osorio Balvin) and Bunny (real name:Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio) have brought reggaeton and Latin trap to the American market, catching the attention of artists such as Drake, Pharrell Williams, and Beyoncé.
They continue to redefine the Latin music industry by dropping their first-ever collaborative album Oasis, out Friday (June 28). The set is home to 8 tracks, including their first single “Qué Pretendes.”
You’d think that because of the undeniable bond we see on social media and their music videos, J Balvin and Bad Bunny have been BFFs for years. But the truth is, their friendship spans less than five years.
In the hype of Oasis and all their achievements, Billboard Latin revisits their bromance. Check out the timeline below.
2016 - Meeting for the First Time
Bad Bunny kicked off his music career on SoundCloud but it was DJ Luian who introduced him to Balvin at one of Balvin’s concerts in Puerto Rico back in 2016.
“I went with Luian to the hotel, and Bunny was very quiet, shy, but Luian already knew how big he was going to be,” Balvin told Complex. “I was just meeting up with Benito. But it was always really beautiful when I met him. He talked to me about how he loved ‘Snapchat,’ a song of mine from the album Energía. He told me, ‘Damn, I love ‘Snapchat.’”
Bunny noted that Energía (released on June 24, 2016) was one of the last albums he enjoyed before becoming famous.
On March 3, 2017, J Balvin dropped “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola” featuring Bad Bunny, a track that Bunny originally made before meeting Balvin. The witty record about a man who is out to steal your girl put Bunny on the radar.
“When I had the opportunity to make the song with Balvin, I showed it to him. I recorded the chorus, which I already had, and showed it to him. When he [said he] liked it, it was an incredible feeling. I always remember that. I’m not embarrassed to say it: I was so excited I had to go outside of the studio—I left Balvin and Mambo working—and cried,” Bunny said to Complex.
That same year, “Si Tu Novio te Deja Sola” peaked No.14 on Hot Latin Songs chart dated June 3. It also nabbed the two artists a Latin Grammy nomination for best urban fusion/performance.
April 2017 - Attending the Billboard Latin Music Awards
Bad Bunny and J Balvin premiered their song at the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards, marking Bunny’s first-ever time at the awards show. During the red carpet, Bunny gushed about Balvin, telling Billboard that “he respects and admires what I do, he likes my work, and for me, it’s an honor to work with an artist of that caliber.”
November 2017 - Hanging Out with the Big Dogs
By this time, their infectious bromance has become all the rage on social media. But despite being good friends, Bunny and Balvin have made it their mission to take Latin music to the masses. Here, they are seen hanging out with Pharrell in California.
The two friends attended the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, where they performed their track “Si Tu Novio te Deja Sola” before Balvin presented “Mi Gente.” At the awards, they also shared the stage with Steve Aoki and French Montana.
2017 through 2018 - More Collaborations
In the fall of 2017, Balvin and Bunny, alongside Prince Royce, jumped on Heart This Music’s “Sensualidad.” Proving that their bromance includes big achievements together, the track debuted at No. 10 on the Hot Latin Song chart dated Nov. 25, 2017. In March 2018, they formed part of “Dime” also featuring Arcangel, De La Ghetto, and Revol.
April 2018 - Coachella
Bad Bunny and J Balvin joined Cardi B on stage at the 2018 Coachella music festival to perform their Spanglish Caribbean-Trap collaboration “I Like It.”
May 2018 - “I Like It”
The official music video for “I Like It” dropped on May 29. In Billboard’s“How It Went Down,” Bad Bunny revealed how his and Balvin’s collaboration with Cardi B was born, fessing that he was invited to be a part of Cardi’s track and that he then invited Balvin. “We have great chemistry in the studio, everything was so natural,” he said. With this summer jam, Balvin and Bunny both nabbed their first-ever No. 1 each on the Billboard Hot 100.
May 2018 - J Balvin Talks Possible Joint Album with Bad Bunny
Last year, J Balvin totally hinted at a possible album with Bad Bunny. “He likes what I like and he’s all about the culture and he’s super humble. I just love him and I love what he does and of course I would love to have an album like that,” he said in an interview with Apple’s Beats 1, noting that at that time, they had about seven un-released records together.
October 2018 - Attending the AMAs Together
Bad Bunny and J Balvin attend the 2018 American Music Awards together, marking their first-ever time at the awards, where they performed “I Like It” with Cardi B.
October 2018 - Vibras Tour
That same month, Bad Bunny was one of J Balvin’s many guests during the closing show of his 2018 Vibras Tour in Miami. They performed “Si Tu Novio de Deja Solo” and “Sensualidad.”
March 2019 - X100Pre Tour
During the opening show of his X100Pre Tour in the U.S., Bad Bunny was joined on stage by Balvin, where they performed “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola,” “Sensualidad” and “I Like It.”
April 2019 - Coachella (Again!)
During his set at the 2019 Coachella, Bad Bunny brought out J Balvin to perform "Tu Sensualidad" and the smash "I Like It," where the two shared a heartening bromance onstage, hugging and fist-bumping between verses.
May 2019 - Billboard Music Awards
The boys and Cardi B nabbed top rap song for “I Like it” at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. “Best Rap song and done by Latinos!! For the culture! Latin Gang!” Balvin wrote on Instagram. Later that month, Balvin and Bunny jumped on rising star Jhay Cortez’s track “No Me Conoce,” dropping a fiery remix.
June 2019 - Bad Bunny Announces Album
On June 24, Bad Bunny hinted that a new album was in the works, dubbing all eight tracks as a “hit” with a fire emoji. J Balvin retweeted.
Oasis, their first-ever collaborative album, dropped Friday, June 28.
“We have been working on it for a long time, and finally, we found its moment. Working with J Balvin has undoubtedly been an unparalleled experience,” Bad Bunny said in a press statement. “I have always admired and respected him a lot and we have had an excellent vibe throughout this whole process.”
Balvin adds: “I am proud to say I LOVE Bad Bunny; we always seem to be on the same wavelength, as he likes what I like. He is also all about celebrating our culture while remaining super humble. Working with Benito again has been a musical joy. I am blessed to not only call him my brother but now a partner on an album that has even become a personal Oasis.”