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Bad Bunny dropped his most versatile album yet, Un Verano Sin Ti, on May 6, and though it was released in 2022, he assures that “the vibe for the album” was born while he was working on his 2020 set, YHLQMDLG.
Unlike his previous LPs, including El Ultimo Tour del Mundo, his new studio album came with a promo plan that began in January on Instagram. Talks for the album’s cover art began as early as summer 2021.
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“He reached out to me with the idea of the cover and how he wanted it to look,” creative director and designer Adrian Hernandez, artistically known as “Ugly Primo,” tells Billboard. “He pretty much had it laid out for me and I helped execute that idea and turn it into an art piece. That’s kinda how the cover came about—he left it open to interpretation.”
Hernandez explains that he made about seven versions, in different styles and aesthetics, based on a drawing that Bad Bunny gave him, and that after a little over six months, the cover art of Un Verano Sin Ti was finally done. On May 4, just two days before launching his album, the official cover was revealed, showing a sad heart in front of a vibrant beach setting with the light blue ocean, beaming sunset, breezy palm trees, happy dolphins, and pink flowers.
It was the drawing that best encompassed the album’s concept: a summer without you.
“We were going back and forth on a few ideas and we ended up going to one of the first ones we made and that he connected with the most,” he adds.
But the Bad Bunny and Ugly Primo friendship traces back to 2018 when Hernandez first launched “Ugly Primo” on social media, a connection that he describes as “focused on representing Latino culture and bridging the gap between our communities around the world through art, music and humor.”
“We actually met online after I did a drawing of him,” he says. “From there, his team would throw more projects my way. [I remember] the first actual design that I worked on for him was a Bunny with pinky fingers. It just worked out, we have a creative connection and he trusts in my talent.”
Hernandez, whose social media alter ego is a bald-headed puppet with thick eyebrows and a mustache, is a self-taught Mexican-American artist based in Los Angeles. His passion for both music and art first joined forces when he was a quinceañera DJ in high school, and he later created flyers for the parties he would host.
In 2018, the “Ugly Primo” project was born, designing vibrant pop art featuring Latin’s biggest artists such as Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel, Cuco and many more. Under his graphic design company, Need Pastel, Hernandez has created merch for other artists and tour posters for renowned music festivals. “I felt that something was missing in the Latino community,” he notes. “This is a creative outlet for me.”
Now, with Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti making the rounds, Hernandez’s surprised to see how many people have connected with one of his designs—most fans even going as far as getting it tattooed. “It’s surreal to be able to have a piece of art have that type of impact on people’s lives. I think it’s beautiful,” he reacts.