June Summer always had an inkling that Spanish-language music would win over American audiences one day. With the nation's quickly growing Latino population, how could it not?
"[Bad Bunny] is definitely the number-one artist right now," Summer says. "He is how Drake is — no matter what they do and when they do it, it gets a lot of publicity."
Still, Summer admits he never knew how big the genre would become.
"You had Daddy Yankee with 'Gasolina,' which was kind of the first time everyone knew something in Spanish, but I never thought it would compete [with English-language music] in numbers and money," he explains.
It was only a few years ago that Summer and his brother, Augie Pink, were performing English-language music as part of the indie-rock band Plastic Pinks while dabbling with some Spanish-sung compositions. The band's rock sound quickly earned them stints at venues like Churchill's Pub and slots at festivals like III Points. Plastic Pinks even got a shoutout form Iggy Pop during his BBC radio show.
It was perhaps perplexing when the brothers announced their Latin trap project, Baby City Club, with the release of the single "Mala Fama" in 2018. But considering the duo's Puerto Rican heritage, it shouldn't have been all that surprising.
Now, Summer and Pink are back with a new single, "Vibe," featuring Jose Yellow and Toy Wapo with production by BeatsByForza and Axel Ghxst.
"[Jose Yellow] has been working with a lot of people in the underground scene in Puerto Rico, and he was living in Orlando for a bit, and we linked up," Summer says about how the collaboration came to pass. "We worked with him on some other songs, and we brought him in to create this new rising stars from Miami type of thing. So it's Yellow and Toy Wapo, who is original a [songwriter] for other artists, and now decide to start singing and rapping himself."
Summer says the goal for "Vibe" was to create awareness about the urbano music scene in Miami.
"Miami has a bunch of artists the are trying to come up that don't have that open door yet," he adds.
In the video, the group raps about being on top of the world both literally and figuratively — against the backdrop of the glittering downtown Miami skyline. In these pandemic times, there's also a tinge of hopefulness — whether intentional or not — for the future when we can all hang out together again and partake in frivolity.
Simply put, Baby City Club and friends are just trying to have fun.
"We all know it's been rough — and it's still rough, even though Miami sometimes doesn't show it," Summer says. "Yes, 'Vibe' is about making it and all that, but it's also about cheering each other on."
He also hopes audiences keep cheering on Baby City Club's efforts — not only at Latin music events but at festivals in general. It's no secret that Miami's music scene is still divided by language. Live shows featuring English- and Spanish-language acts on the same bill are still rare despite the city's bilingual status.
"You have Bad Bunny and J Balvin at Coachella, so that already lets you know that it's happening," Summer says. "We want to be able to perform at III Points and Rolling Loud, and not just necessarily in the Latin market."
Summer and Pink have already proven they can make the jump from rock to Latin trap, so if any act can break those language barriers, it's certainly Baby City Club.
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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.