The fight between Residente and J Balvin has added a new episode, perhaps the most relevant of a confrontation that began months ago. René Pérez’s aversion towards José Álvaro Osorio –and vice versa– is explicit, but he had never been so explicit as in the song published together with Bizarrap and for which claims to have received threats. The Puerto Rican has recorded Session 49 in the valued study of the Argentine producer. A session without a name but with a goal: the Colombian J Balvin, “el bobolón” to whom he dedicates his eight minutes.
Answers for James Rhodes on Bad Bunny and “the popularity of reggaeton”
The beef between Residente and J Balvin involves other issues of greater significance such as political activism, respect for the roots of the urban and the resentment of reggaeton musicians towards an industry that beats them up while lining its pockets with them. All this comes to light again in the session, which reached 16 million views on YouTube in the first 12 hours.
The Puerto Rican Residente, former founder of Calle 13, has always been harsh in his attacks against Balvin, but now his criticism has reached a new level, accusing him of racism and colluding with the power of Puerto Rico to rise in the industry. “Today I’m knocking down marketing in one fell swoop, like we knocked down the statues of Christopher Columbus,” René sings. But it is only the beginning.
Another round of hotdogs
Everything exploded when in September of last year J Balvin called for a boycott of the Latin Grammys, in which he was nominated for three “minor” awards – song of the year and best urban song for WaterThe SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Soundtrack, and Best Performance for Your poison-. Resident answered, but it was just the excuse. “What Rubén said, the Resident supports it. Even if you change color I always know where you come from”, he sings now in reference to Chameleonby Rubén Blades, the Panamanian singer-songwriter who was honored at those Grammys.
These awards, created in 2000 to address the lack of Latin rhythms in the US edition, have 53 categories ranging from pop to jazz, rock, tropical and urban genre. The Colombian criticized then that reggaeton did not hold its own category and that it competed against rap and trap, alleging that the former is the most listened to and most lucrative style.
Today I’m knocking down marketing in one fell swoop, like we knocked down the statues of Christopher Columbus
“If the Grammys don’t value us, then why do I have 31 awards? I’m not urban, I don’t rap?” René told him in a video uploaded to his networks, which he later deleted at the request of his rival. For his part, Balvin has only four Grammys and all of them from the urban subcategory. “I would believe you about the boycott if last year, when you were nominated 13 times, you hadn’t gone, but you didn’t ask for a boycott there,” he reproached her.
Residente is an old friend of the Academy from Calle 13, with whom he won in 2006 in the categories of new artist, album and music video. The hits have followed, sometimes in the mainstream category and sometimes under the urban label.
“You have to understand that it’s like a shopping cart hot dog be upset because you can’t earn a Michelin star. And don’t get me wrong, José, your music is like a shopping cart. hot dogeveryone likes it, but when people want to eat well, they go to a restaurant, which are the ones that earn Michelin stars”, continued René. The metaphor was not only fed by the networks, but has been used by the same J Balvin to launch merchandise of his new album.
They are fifth class artists who write less than a pen without ink. These bums have a sweet tooth, they don’t even bring the plate to the table and they take the waiter’s tip
“Today I skin you so that those who buy the shirt of the hot dog feel good assholes.” In the Bizarrap session, criticism of Balvin’s commercial style reappears but, above all, of others writing his lyrics: “A hot dog well done it is delicious, the problem is that these liars did not cook it. These bums have a sweet tooth, they don’t even bring your plate to the table and they take the waiter’s tip”.
A rhyme that synthesizes the reproach of some artists in the sector to the Colombian and that Residente already did at the time: “You and I are not the same, I do not believe in the stars of digital platforms or in your Billboards of cake cream. Neither on your Dolce & Gabbana and Cartier Instagram stories. I only believe in my level and the charcoal of my pencil running over the paper.”
Letters on request and without message
As if it were a solo battle of roosters, Residente reads the primer to J Balvin in the session. “They are fifth-class artists who write less than a pen without ink. When they see me they turn pale white, like the false teeth they put on,” he recites in one part. “For two minutes of song they have twenty writers, even the managers are songwriters,” he continues.
It is no secret that for René Álvarez, the song protests and taking sides is an obligation: “Art with fear is not art”, he has said in several interviews. “When you take political positions, it is very unlikely to help you commercially,” he has acknowledged. A risk that J Balvin is not willing to take even when his native Colombia is filled with protests. “The people are fighting, they are being killed and the guy is uploading photos of Gandhi praying,” he throws at her. Session 49.
J Balvin is one of the most commercial reggaeton artists, and not just for his music. He has been the image of Nike, McDonalds, Fortnite or the aforementioned SpongeBob. He is also accused of not writing his own songs or singing them – without using autotune. “I’m going to lower myself with a bobolón that sings to Sponge Bob and Pokemon,” the Puerto Rican tells him in the session, in which he also accuses him of charging “500 dollars for a ticket, gentlemen. For jumping like an asshole dressed in colors”.
In July 2019, well-known reggaeton artists such as Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi, Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny led some of the demonstrations in Puerto Rico against President Ricardo Roselló. sharpening the knives, the song that René released with Bad Bunny, was sung during the marches and turned into banners. “Mine is not business. We are different, because of music I put my heart in front. My Billboards are held by people along with my letters on each banner to lower a president,” he recites.
It’s the eternal dichotomy between the urban studio genre and the street genre –”Josesito doesn’t have a street, that’s why you have soft knuckles”–. But it should be noted that Residente comes from a lower-middle class family in Puerto Rico, who was able to study Fine Arts around the world and who has also had facilities compared to other Latin American rap singers. What he criticizes Balvin for is that he is “a white boy from school and still doesn’t understand the fucking privilege”.
He’s a hair-dyed asshole who put black women with dog chains around their necks.
“This asshole is a racist and he doesn’t know it”
The last reproach has to do with racism. A couple of years ago J Balvin offered an interview to the Colombian media El tiempo. There he recognized that he decided to become an urban singer when he saw that “Daddy Yankee was white, a Latino!, like me.” Because, for him, until that moment, hip hop and reggaeton “were always recognized for being Afro-Americans, the majority were brown or black.” A few words that earned him numerous criticisms.
“One day he said that he wanted to do reggaeton being frank when he discovered that Daddy Yankee was white. My key, worst of all and the most serious, is that this asshole is a racist and he doesn’t know it,” Residente sings in the Session 49. “History is going to give you a slap on behalf of all those who picked cotton under abuse. And another slap, on behalf of all those who have had to battle twice within reggaeton: Myke Towers, Sech, Don Omar, Ozuna, Arcángel , Tego Calderón. They are a lot that you put under the drawer without thinking. In your rainbow of colors there is no brown”.
As if that were not enough, the vice president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, accused J Balvin of promoting “machista” and “racist” messages. She was referring in particular to the video clip of her song Female dog, where they appeared pulling the strap of two black models. “He’s a hair-dyed asshole who put dog chains around their necks on black women,” Rene throws at him in his song. The Colombian removed the video from YouTube and apologized in public to “people who felt offended, especially women and the black community.”