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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?

http://sacurrent.com/music/story.asp?id=70200

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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One drop don’t end the drought. The struggle is not yet over. We still have far to go and we can go backwards.Lets not lose the ground we have gained, not be lulled into complacency by small concessions while the larger problems loom larger than ever.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-young-lords-22-sep22,0,63351.story

Jose “Cha-Cha” Jimenez returned to his Chicago roots on Sunday, speaking to an audience of more than 200 people gathered in a modest Humboldt Park church about the role played by a one-time street gang, the Young Lords, as a force for community and political activism during the turbulent 1960s.

As part of a program remembering the Young Lords, which Jimenez helped form into a community activist group in 1968, speakers said some of the issues the Young Lords dealt with still exist today.

Their brand of community activism is needed now more than ever, speakers said.

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Welcome to the Black Friday edition of La Musica Latina.

Las Caras Lindas- Ismael Rivera

Han Cogido la Cosa- Group Niche

Han cogido la cosa,
que pa reirse se burlan de mi
han cogido la cosa,
que pa reirse me agarran a mi

Que tengo grande la boca y la nariz,
que nada bueno no me encuentran a mi
que yo soy prieto, que soy carabalí,
pero orgulloso me siento yo así

Han cogido la cosa…

Que estoy de luto desde el dia que nací,
que trabajar no lo hizo Dios para mi
que me tostaron como si fuera cafe,
que me colaron y negrito quede

Han cogido la cosa,
que pa reirse se burlan de mi
La cosa la han cogido
que pa reirse me agarran a mi

Coro:
Blanco corriendo, atleta, negro corriendo, ratero
blanco sin grado doctor y el negrito yerbatero (bis)

Ah nah Ah nah Ah nah Ah nah sonero (Y el negrito yerbatero)
Con eso le doy duro a los cueros (Y el negrito yerbatero)
vamos a hacer la cuenta (Y el negrito yerbatero)
que cuando se trata de salsa de rumba, yo si soy salsero(Y el negrito yerbatero)
cuando suena como suena me vuelvo sonero(Y el negrito yerbatero)
zapatero a tu zapato, lo que yo soy es rumbero(Y el negrito yerbatero)
rumba!

Han cogido la cosa, la cosa la han cogido
Que me queme Que me queme,
y he quedado como un tizon y de ñapa disque me han
puesto el negrito bembon bembon

Han cogido la cosa, la cosa la han cogido
pero qué otra cosa grande tiene
que tengo grande la boca y la nari’
que otra cosa grande tendre yo por ahi

Han cogido la cosa, la cosa la han cogido
que si no lo hago a la entrada,
la embarro a la salida,
ay quien puede ser negro, que cosa que tan jodida

Sura negro sura

Blanco corriendo, atleta, negro corriendo, ratero
blanco sin grado doctor y el negrito yerbatero

Y el negrito yerbatero

Rebelion- Joe Arroyo

Quiero contarle mi hermano un pedacito de la historia negra, de la
historia nuestra, caballero

Y dice asi:
Uhh!
Dice!

En los anos mil seiscientos, cuando el tirano mando
las calles de Cartagena, aquella historia vivio.
Cuando alli llegaban esos negreros, africanos en cadenas
besaban mi tierra, esclavitud perpetua
Esclavitud perpetua
Esclavitud perpetua

Que lo diga salome y que te de llego, llego, llego

Un matrimonio africano, esclavos de
un espanol, el les daba muy mal trato
y a su negra le pego

Y fue alli, se revelo el negro guapo, tomo
venganza por su amor y aun se escucha
en la verja, no le pegue a mi negra
No le pegue a la negra
No le pegue a la negra

Oye man!!
No le pegue a la negra
no le pegue a la negra
no, no, no ,no, no, no,
no, no, no, no, no, no
(varias veces)

Oye esa negra se me respeta
Ehh, que aun se escucha, se escucha en la verja,
no, no, no, no, no
no, no, no, no, no
no, no, no, no, no le pegue a la negra

Negra que me dice..

No le pegue a la negra
no le pegue a la negra
no le pegue a la negra
no le pegue

Y con ustedes… chelito de casa

Vamos a ver que le pegue a jeva
porque el alma, que el alma, que el alma
que el alma, que el alma se me revienta

Ehh, no, no, no, no, no, no le pegue a mi negra
porque el alma se me agita mi prieta

El Chombo lo sabe
y tu tambien
no le pegue a la negra

La Negra Tomasa- Miguelito Valdez

Usted Señor- Oscar D’Leon

Señor, présteme atención.
Yo nací en un barrio Sr.
Y aunque yo tenga este color
Yo le digo,
y quiero que usted me escuche con atención,

Porque yo estoy viendo que Ud.
Como que le caigo mal
Y estoy observando que usted
tiene un problema racial.

No porque sea negro
Y un poco bembón
Y usted sea blanco, Sr.
Tenga más derecho que yo.

Baje de esa nube
Venga aquí a la realidad
Que a 3mts bajo tierra
Todos vamos a parar

Este es un problema racial
Que nunca se va a acabar
Lo que tenemos que hacer
Es prepararnos más y más.

Cómo lo vamos a hacer?
Poniéndole voluntad
Y así poco a poco veremos
Que todo eso va a cambiar.

Voy a hacerle una pregunta a usted señor que le caigo mal
Si no le gustan los negros por qué a la playa se va a quemar?

Hay que saber que somos iguales
Que lo que cambia es el cascarón
Si usted tiene una blanca calavera, Sr.
Yo la tengo también
Si usted tiene una boca, una nariz y dos ojos
Yo los tengo también.
Si usted tiene dos piernas y dos brazos, Sr.
Yo los tengo también.
Si usted tiene un cerebro y dos orejas, Sr.
Yo los tengo también.

Yo nací en un barrio, Sr.
No sé donde nació Ud.
Pero le aseguro que veo las cosas que no ve Ud.
Y tenga bien claro Sr.
Que aunque yo tenga este color
Yo le puedo asegurar
Que Ud. no es más que yo! 

Si Dios Fuera Negro

Si Dios fuera negro -mi compay- todo cambiaría
Fuera nuestra raza -mi compay- la que mandaría

Negro el presidente y el gobernador

Negro el abogado y negro el doctor compay
Si Dios fuera negro -mi compay- todo cambiaría
Fuera nuestra raza -mi compay- la que mandaría

Negra la azucena *lilly
Y negra la tiza *chalk
Negra Blanca Nieve *snow white
Negra Mona Lisa

Si Dios fuera negro -mi compay- todo cambiaría
Fuera nuestra raza -mi compay- la que mandaría

Negro fuera el día
Negro fuera el sol
Negra la mañana
Negro el algodón – *cotton

Si Dios fuera negro -mi compay- todo cambiaría
Fuera nuestra raza -mi compay- la que mandaría

Negro fuera el Papa *pope
Y negro el ministro
Los angeles negros
Negro Jesus Cristo -compay-

Si Dios fuera negro -mi compay- todo cambiaría
Fuera nuestra raza -mi compay- la que mandaría
Tu ves este tipo blanco que esta allí?
(…) tiene el corazón negro
rires

Oye que pasa chico?

ha pasado usted la línea negra

Muchacho, tengo una hambre blanca!

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Ok, it doesn’t quite rhyme. But I like it, so it stays.

I like the term “apocalyptic reggaeton” to describe this variant of the genre. The sound is pretty aggressive with a lot of sonic references to horror movies, sci-fi movies and war. Gunfire, marching, sirens etc.. You know what I mean, Don Omar in his Mad Max outfit. Actually, thats a bit Post Apocalyptic. I’m thinking full on Urban Techno War Zone here.

I don’t watch tv much, or movies for that matter. But even I get the references and when I hear this, I see the cyborg armies and roaming band of warriors.

When I’m frustrated or angry  this is what I play. Headbanging reggaeton style.

So, here you go, in the interest of education, I post some of my favorite hard hitting super aggressive reggaeton mp3s.

Apocalypse Dembow

Don Omar, Tego Calderon , Wisin y Yandel- La Calle Me Llama

(A version of this is song 1 on my iPod and if I forget to select a playlist, my alarmclock plays this to wake me up in the mornings. I’d never paid much attention, but the lyrics are appropriate. “…quisiera quedarme, pero la calle me llama”.)

Franco “El Gorila”- Duro Mueven

Baby Rasta y Nengo Flow- Tirale

Dalmata- Nos Matamos

Arcangel- El Pistolon Remix

Brugal- Creo que Conmigo Jugaste

High Rollers Family- El Poder del Jefe

Manny Yow- Ella Se Acelera

Albert y Esquizo- Paramelo Ahi

How about some Q & A? You dont have to answer, of course, but I like to ponder such things.

What age and gender do you imagine the artists to be?

Nationality? Race? Income level?

What age, gender and nationality do they presume their audience to be?

Would my grandmother or a 5 year old from rural China respond to this like I do, or is the feel totally due to context? I can’t imagine anyone taking this to be HAPPY music, but does it sound inherently bellicose or do years of listening to sci-fi and horror soundtracks and watching Terminator movies train me to hear it that way?

Does my 12 year old daughter hear it like I do, or is it just a lot of random noise? I’m old enough that I hear/see Blade Runner, Gotham City and Dick Tracy. I suspect my young friends hear movies so new I cant even begin to name them!

I dont have the answers, but I like to ask the questions!! Why? Dunno.

Well, I wrote this post last week, but I read this morning about someone who made a physics rap song its huge on Youtube.”Rap and physics are culturally miles apart,” McAlpine, a science writer at CERN, wrote to the Lansing State Journal in an e-mail last week, “and I find it amusing to try and throw them together.”

And on one hand, I felt her 100%. Cute. On the other, I felt that there was sort of a cascade of meaning, if that makes any sense. If physics and rap are culturally far apart, does that not also imply that rappers and physicists are worlds apart? Does that also imply that rap fans and physicists are worlds apart? Is the humor, which stems from the juxtaposition of 2 concepts that seem to be polar opposites, a bit arrogant and racist?

I listen to reggaeton. I used to listen to rap. I am a female. I have a degree in Computer Science and I, while certainly no physicist, am rather science oriented. As is my architect, hiphop loving brother. And my pool playing “motherfucker” spouting engineer father. Perhaps one of us would find it intriguing to make a rap about architecture or engineering- computer or otherwise. But to fill a niche, to combine our interests, NOT to make it a Talking Dog sort of spectacle. You know- the content is forgettable, the delivery nothing special, but ITS A TALKING DOG? Thats FUNNY!!!

If it is funny because no one would ever think to combine rap and physics, because of the ABSURDITY of a rapper rapping about physics OR a physicists discussing his science in rap I sort of find it a tiny bit offensive. It um, it feels like blackface to me. And I don’t like it. If she hadn’t made that comment, I probably would be merely amused. “Look, someone likes rap and physics and combined the two”. But because she framed it as if the idea of the 2 things occuring together in nature were sooooo strange- meh. I dislike it. By extension, I hear her saying that I am strange and an anomaly. I dont like what that implies.

Mind you, I am looking for things to take offense at! Its what I do,so don’t go complaining that all I do is complain (unless that is what you do as well, and then really you should understand).

Well, now that I have found a way to post some free reggaeton mp3s to download and wonder about the cultural references and context of those songs AND complain about that news story and people in general, I’m content to end this post. Enjoy the music, unless you’re a namby pamby 80 year old pacifist woman.

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