He's never spoken a word in his tracks, but Vibra Urbana 2024 headliner and Argentinian producer Bizarrap is perhaps one of the hottest names in Latin music right now.
Though he shot up to mainstream media fame by producing Shakira's infamous diss track against her ex-husband, there is a much longer history to the creative producer that dates back to the freestyle rap days in his native country.
Born Gonzalo Julian Conde in Ramos Mejia, Argentina, the 25-year-old visionary was into EDM, looking up to powerhouses like Martin Garrix and Skrillex. Growing up, he had some minor classical training with piano lessons and music theory, but the start of his music journey was anything but classical.
It's 2017, and freestyle rap in Argentina is only growing. YouTube and the rise of social media splattered new names of a new generation of Argentine rappers across the screens of everyone in South America. Artists who rose to meteoric fame out of that period, like Duki and Trueno, were fresh-faced kids at freestyle battles, or batallas, with crowds behind them roaring at every bar and every diss.
But Bizarrap was never a rapper. He got his start making memes out of the battles, highlighting them in his compilation videos called "Combos Locos." From using unflattering cuts and reverse playback of rappers and using a fair share of audio distortion and the occasional fire blast, the videos put a significant amount of eyes on both the Argentine rap scene and Bizarrap. In fact, "Combo Loco #18," which features Duki with glowing blue laser eyes, also became a foreshadowing of Bizarrap's remixing skills, where he edits a freestyle rap of the then-rising-star to a full trap remix that resembles much of his editing style today.
Bizarrap's popular meme videos were not just popular for their hilarity and reposting qualities but also because he was one of the few people fully documenting the rise of rap in Argentina and finding his space in the game without stepping foot in "the ring."
He quickly became friends with many of the talents he featured in his videos, from Lit Killah to Ecko, and he eventually released his first official remix with Duki in 2018 called "No Vendo Trap." That only led to even more artists wanting to collaborate with the Argentine editor and DJ, leading to Bizarrap's first session ever with Kodigo that same year. The difference between Bizarrap's early sessions and those that catapulted him to global fame was that they were still very much in the freestyle world, with the editor sitting dimly in the back as whichever featured rapper was left to let it rip.
The videos were also very exclusive to rappers from Argentina, but as they generated millions of views and much attention from across Latin America, it wasn't long before new artists wanted to collaborate for a session.
However, the iconoclastic nature of his sessions has been a staple of Bizarrap since the very beginning, with the natural setting of a musician letting completely loose in the studio as he sits idly, casually making some hard beats.
Each time, the guests got bigger and bigger, from Nicki Nicole to Aleman and more. Eventually, he became a chart-topping artist in 2020 with "BZRP Music Sessions #36" featuring Argentine singer Nathy Peluso, leading to his first appearance on the Billboard Global 200 in the U.S. and sitting at number four on the Argentina Hot 100. By the end of the year, he had officially become the most listened to artist from Argentina without uttering a single word on a track, garnering more than 11 million monthly listeners worldwide on Spotify.
From there, Bizarrap's remarkable journey only skyrocketed. He started having sessions with Nicky Jam, helped Spanish rapper Quevedo launch his career with a session, and earned Latin Grammy nominations in 2021 and 2022.
Of course, when the world needed Bizarrap the most, he came completely into the mainstream with "BZRP Music Session Vol. 53," featuring Shakira. The track put the Colombian singer back on top of the world as she lyrically massacred her cheating ex-husband, Gerard Piqué.
The song certainly put Bizarrap at the very top of music charts across the world, especially here in the U.S., where it reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 while breaking several records. He broke four Guinness World Records alone, including most streamed Latin track on Spotify in 24 hours (more than 14 million), most streamed Latin track on Spotify in one week (80 million), fastest Latin track to reach 100 million views on YouTube (within 70 hours), and most viewed Latin track on YouTube in 24 hours (63 million).
He's since gone on to collaborate with many of the acts on Vibra Urbana's lineup, including Rauw Alejandro, Young Miko, Arcangel — the list goes on. He was announced as the surprise guest for this year's festival, and based on his metrics alone, it's safe to say everyone is ready to see Bizarrap make some magic on stage.
Vibra Urbana 2024. With Anuel AA, Rauw Alejandro, Bizarrap, Farruko, Arcángel, and others. 1 p.m. Saturday, February 17, and Sunday, February 18, at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo Center, 10901 SW 24th St., Miami; vibraurbanafest.com. Tickets cost $149 to $999 via axs.com.