Posts Tagged ‘calle 13’

Calle 13 Rules?

These articles bother me. Its sad because it makes me dislike Calle 13.
When ONE act is consistently singled out by critics and declared to be the best in the genre, perhaps they are the best. But when the critics all seem to be people who hate the genre, then what?


Daddy Yankee has two daddies.

They’re also Puerto Rican, call themselves Residente (rapper, writer) and Visitante (programming, instrumentation), are known worldwide as Calle 13, and are responsible for killing reggaetón dead.

For that, we thank them.

Actually, to compare Daddy Yankee to Calle 13 at this point is meaningless: Calle 13 only records conventional reggaetón (a Panama/Puerto Rico mix of dancehall, hip-hop, and tropical rhythms) as if to prove that they can do it, too, but deep down, they couldn’t care less about the genre. What they do is music, absorbing like sponges the local rhythms of every city, town, and village they set foot in and mixing them with rap (closer to El Gran Combo than Dr. Dre) and arguably the best lyrics in Spanish-language

I cannot help but think that many of the people who praise Calle 13 do not like reggaeton, some don’t even consider Calle 13 a reggaeton act. So why are you even reviewing the genre? To compare to others,ok. But if you hate reggaeton and think the best reggaeton act out there is one that doesnt do rggaeton, I’m not getting my cd reviews from you.

And lets be real. Elvis Crespo got props but the Dominican merengueros were ignored. In the US if a salsero isn’t white he isn’t noticed. I do feel quite strongly that part of the hype is because Calle 13 look like they do. I feel its classist and racist.

They are better than everyone. Smarter than everyone. Funnier than everyone. Everyone else is stupid, banal and unoriginal.

But see, I LIKE the rest of reggaeton music. I love it. So what are the critics saying about me and the other fans, what are they saying about reggaeton culture in general when they continue to diss everyone but one elite group of college educated white reggaeton artists?

Its not so much that Calle 13 are superior reggaetoneros. Its that they do music that is superior to reggaeton. Superior meaning smart, pan-latino and not “vulgar” and local (and i read local as “black”).

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There’s some shit goin on.


“Ahora René Pérez dijo en un comunicado de prensa “Eso sólo le interesa a Puerto Rico y a un pequeño sector de Miami, porque ella no llega más allá, nadie sabe quién es Ivy Queen y no les interesa. Los demás países nos ven como los ganadores de seis Grammy… en otra liga… Es como si Shakira dijera algo de Ivy Queen” en referencia a la controversia que ha generado con Que lloren.”

Now, they may be pissed, but to say NO ONE knows who Ivy Queen is? She’s at the top of the Billboard charts.

“La “reina del drama” Ivy Queen vuelve al cetro de la música urbana al poner “Dime” en el primer lugar de lista Billboard Latin Rhythm Airplay esta semana.

El tema es una bachata urbana que aparece en su último trabajo “Ivy Queen 2008 World Tour Live!”. La letra es todo un llanto descarnado por mantener una relación que se torna imposible de olvidar. En “Dime” la cantante pasa a rienda suelta del R&B a la bachata mientras acomoda rimas con maestría. La canción también se ubica en la posición 20 de Hot Latin Songs luego de cuatro semanas”

Club Fonograma says-

“ournals around the country commented on a song that criticized Ivy Queen’s lousy and childish attitude, truth is, “Que lloren” is so much more than that. We’re talking about a direct attack on plastic music, on the manufactured products around and especially those reggaetoneros hating on Residente and Visitante for damaging the urban genre. We can already see so many people in the business crying, so much that rivers would come up here and there, our prayers towards “Rio” by Aterciopelados were heard.”

Well, as a nonwhite woman, I am going to have to step in with my POV. “Black” artists grow weary of the Elvis’, Pat Boones, and Eminems who take a genre they developed and ride the wave of popularity all the way to the top. I remember the year no Dominican artists won any merengue awards. At the time a few of the top merengue acts in PR were comprised of white singers, but the songs were all written produced arranged and played by black dominicans.

So to say Ivy Queen was merely having a fit of pique disregards the greater issues. What is reggaeton? How is it defined? IS Calle 13’s music reggaeton?  When we move from hearing reggaeton as a black voice to a latino voice, what does that mean for the fans and artists?  Is there bias?  is the media eager to make darlings of the “white” “alternative” artists while neglecting the hardcore black ghetto artists? I’ve discussed this all before. But the point I am making is that these are valid questions and issues, I don’t think raising these points should make one the target of personal attacks.

From the NYT

Two albums into their musical career, the Puerto Rican half brothers who make up the urban duo Calle 13 found themselves holding an armful of Latin Grammys and playing to packed houses worldwide.

They also found they had made few friends among the biggest names in commercial reggaetón.

Ivy Queen, the leading woman in the genre, blasted the duo after their second strong showing at the Latin Grammys last November.

“[The Grammys] should’ve been shared better,” Ivy fumed backstage at the awards show. “There were many rappers, but they gave all the awards to one. They dedicated the evening to Calle 13.”

Now in their third album, “Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo,” out Oct. 21, René (Residente) Pérez and Eduardo (Visitante) Cabra not only answer Ivy Queen, but also make a bid to finally get out from under the reggaetón label.

“I don’t mind the kind of music others make,” Residente says in Spanish on the phone from Puerto Rico. “What does bother me is when people undermine what we do, because it really is urban music.”

In the album’s first song, “Que Lloren (Let Them Cry),” Residente calls his mostly nameless detractors “the crybabies of the reggaetón genre” and points out the fundamental differences between Calle 13 and everyone else:

“Mi música no es pa’la discoteca/Mi música es para sembrar una semilla en un par de cabezas huecas (My music is not for the discotheque/My music’s meant to plant a seed in a couple of hollow heads).”

First, if they claim their music is different, having someone question whether they should compete in the same category shouldnt be a major problem. And criticizing popular artists and the aim of their music doesnt justinsult the artists, it insults the fans. When I read those lyrics, I feel insulted. I feel as if he thinks that enjoying fun thumping dance music is a lesser form of entertainment than listening to music that inspires me to THINK.

This is something we discuss a lot- the value of “mindless” dance music vs that of more cerebral forms of music. I am one who has no problem with mindless thumping bass.And a part of me feels that there is a tinge of racism behind the dismissals of music that moves the body but doesnt inspire thought. What makes music you dance to lesser? Being able to lose yourself to the beat- thats a good thing in my book. And too much criticism of that sort of music sort of makes me think of the European elite sniffing at the wanton primitive ways of the savage Africans they captured.

Now, I aint sayin he means it that way. But if I take it that way, I can assure you that there are plenty of morenas in the hood who do not appreciate that blanquito talking shit.

Anyway. I like Calle 23. Just droppin in to talk a bit about the drama. If I get time I will try to tighten this up. But I’d rather go play my Grupo Folklorico cd since I just saw and article about them.

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