“Así que mala mia si me pongo perverso
Pero es que tu me tienes escupiendo versos”
-Calle 13, “Tango del Pecado”
For our third Artist of the Week here at TES, we’ve decided to honor one of our favorite rappers in the game today. One of the crudest, rudest, smartest (he has a master’s!), most controversial and most creative rappers that I’ve ever heard. And he does it all in Spanish!
He is the writer and lead singer for rap/reggaetón/electronica /cumbia/batucada/etc. group Calle 13, which has recorded four albums so far, filmed one documentary and won countless musical awards. They are also a group known for making people mad: already having criticized the FBI, the Puerto Rican police forces, the mayor of San Juan: Jorge Santini, and more than half the reggaetón industry, having recorded a music video with significant nudity and having had several songs banned from the airways.
When I first heard the group my freshman year of college, their music took me by surprise. I expected typical reggaetón with its energetic beat and its vulgar lyrics. While it definitely provided that, when I listened closely to the lyrics, I realized they were a lot more offensive than I had imagined; they were also clever, funny, thought provoking and honest – something not found in most music of any genre these days. While I disagreed and still disagree with many of his views, I came to find that I still agreed with at least the spirit of a lot of what he was saying.
For challenging us to think differently about issues such as poverty, violence, drug trafficking, sexuality, Latin American identity and Latin American – US relations, we are proud to name René Pérez Joglar aka Residente as the third TES Artist of the Week.
-Carlos de la Gringa