Ms. del Valle Schorske caught up with Bad Bunny, at last, in a restaurant in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan and, later, at the artist’s manager’s house. They chatted for six hours, Ms. del Valle Schorske said, and hung out with Bad Bunny’s high school friends. She also interviewed his collaborator DJ Orma, the reggaeton producer Tainy, the urbano artist Residente, and a wide set of poets, writers, cultural critics and musicians, including the artist Cecilia Peña-Govea, and Isabelia Herrera, who wrote The Times’s El Espace column.
“I really went to school for this piece,” Ms. del Valle Schorske said. “I wanted to honor the layered nature of Benito’s practice, which is so archival in many ways.”
Puerto Rican talent is behind the Culture Issue’s cover, too, with photography by Mara Corsino and design by Claudia Rubín, a designer at The Times. It is Ms. del Valle Schorske’s and Ms. Corsino’s first work for the magazine.
“The fact that this is made by a Puerto Rican writer, a Puerto Rican photographer, and me, as a Puerto Rican woman inside The Times, it felt really at home,” Ms. Rubín said.
Ms. Corsino, who has contributed to T Magazine, The Times’s style publication, knew she wanted to model the photos after her documentary project Chicharrón, a series of portraits of female-identifying Latinas that focuses on exploring “the expression of Latinidad.” She chose to photograph Bad Bunny in a raw setting with only a seamless backdrop inside a studio at a private residence in San Juan. The result is a “vulnerable” cover, as Ms. Rubín described, that shows a close-up of Bad Bunny’s blank stare.
“This cover shows that Bad Bunny is the culture right now,” Ms. Rubín said.