Cardi B, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny’s collab “I Like It” has finally reached the top 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, as Billboard reports. From the minute Cardi B’s career-defining album Invasion of Privacy was unveiled, fans already identified “I Like It” as a crowd-pleasing favorite, thanks to its addictive sample of Pete Rodriguez’s “I Like It Like That” and explosive verses from pop music’s favorite Latinx power trio. And only a few days after its release, “I Like It” became the most streamed song from Invasion of Privacy. Its colorful, Miami-set video, which debuted on May 29, helped catapult the track up the charts with 33.8 million U.S. streams. As Billboard notes, this is Bad Bunny’s first Hot 100 top five and J Balvin’s second after “Mi Gente” exploded onto the charts last fall. If “I Like It” keeps climbing up the charts, it would be Cardi B’s second no. 1 single after the record-breaking success of “Bodak Yellow.”
The success of “I Like It” marks another stake in the ground for a year that’s witnessed renewed visibility for Latinos in the Anglo pop world, proving that “Despacito” was never meant to be a one-hit phenomenon. But the song has also drawn criticism from some fans for its embrace of stereotypes and Latin kitsch – most notably the “spicy mami, hot tamale” lyrics, and its use of a nostalgic boogaloo sample. As we wrote at the end of 2017, many Latino pop stars have had to rely on shared cultural signifiers to make it the mainstream market, as industry gatekeepers expect artists to kowtow to stereotypes about Latino identity.
One thing’s for sure: the track’s success certainly marks another milestone in an era where bilingual pop becomes more commonplace, and notches another win in Cardi B’s barrier-breaking rise to fame.