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Residente vs. J Balvin: Another Example of the Puerto Rican Artist’s Hypocrisy

¡No seas tan predecible, René!: la nueva “tiraera” de Residente contra J Balvin expone la hipocresía del boricua

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René Pérez, better known as Residente, attacked Colombian artist and reggaeton singer J Balvin in the most recent Bzrp Music Sessions, produced by Argentine DJ Gonzalo Conde “Bizarrap,” one of the most important producers of the urban genre in the last five years.

Residente’s almost nine-minute long Session with Bizarrap. (YouTube)

The piece, it must be said, is masterful. Epic. Aesthetically, without a doubt, it is one of the best sessions Bizarrap has ever produced. As for the content, it goes without saying that Residente is a unique talent, one of the best urban artists Latin America has ever had.

The lyrics and the rhythm were Residente’s weapons where he launched constant attacks and rhymes against J Balvin and different urban artists who “sold themselves out” to the music industry, according to René.

Residente brought several of his recent controversies into the Colombian’s face: his Grammy Awards interjections, J Balvin’s “indifference” in the midst of the national strike in Colombia, his alleged “racism,” “classism” and lack of humility and his, according to the Puerto Rican, lack of artistic talent.

The grandiloquence of the scene and the aggressiveness of Residente’s lyrics against J Balvin were enough to cause one hell of a media stir. El País, Infobae, Rolling Stone and Billboard are some of the important media outlets that echoed René and Bizarrap’s very long video (almost nine minutes.)

On social networks, trends quickly positioned the artists at the top of Twitter search engines. Instagram and WhatsApp stories were filled with memes and clips of the video. On YouTube, in less than 24 hours, the “tiradera” already had 20 million views.

La nueva “tiraera” de Residente contra J Balvin expone la hipocresía del boricua
Picture of René Pérez/Residente. (EFE)

Despite the success, René’s hypocrisy is exposed with this attack on J Balvin

The song is a hit, a success. It is also a blow against J Balvin, who must, once again, see how he responds to Residente’s criticisms, who has stubbornly attacked the Colombian on several occasions in recent months. However, it’s also a new exhibition of hypocrisy from the Puerto Rican; who apparently never tires of using the outdated and predictable verse of being the singer “of the people,” the critic of fake artists and the humble man who understands the problems of poor people.

The problem with René is that his discourse is worn out. Repetitive and double-faced. Simply put, you can’t go around attacking commercial artists because they seek to sell their productions while you go with the most commercial Latin American producer of the moment. It is not coherent.

I remember, for example, a great response from Venezuelan rapper Apache to his critics; “En defensa propia,” a rap song not very different in style from René’s, but much more sincere.

Apache’s disclaimer. (YouTube)

Apache had been accused of keeping the rights to the music of Tyron González, “Canserbero,” who had died under strange circumstances in Venezuela. The Venezuelan artist kept silent about the accusations, investigated what was going on and launched a masterful hip-hop disclaimer that silenced the critics and sentenced those who tried to stain his name.

Residente, on the other hand, himself sought out a conflict that seemed to be over. He did it because he knows he needs to stay in the noise; since the urban artist cannot afford to fall into the indifference of the public, and therefore sought a collaboration (or accepted, perhaps) with Bizarrap, all to keep the controversy with J Balvin alive, even after admitting “that he was not going to shoot” J Balvin because he “was a man of his word.” It became evident that his promises are worthless.

Colombian singer J Balvin speaks to EFE during an interview on Aug. 28 in Miami, Florida. (EFE).

René: do you at least remember your interview with CNN in 2017?

Even recognizing that some of Residente’s lyrics in the videoclip are true, and that some of his criticisms of J Balvin make sense, several of the accusations he emanates against the Colombian are laughable and pathetic. I can’t think of anything more beta and victimizing than exploiting “racism” and “white privilege” while being a very successful Puerto Rican urban music singer millionaire, especially when your intention is to portray yourself as a man of the people, representing Hispanic hip-hop. But, please, who told Rene that we Hispanics like the color revolution woke?

Of course, he couldn’t miss his classic moralistic cliché against Balvin for not supporting the National Strike in Colombia: “This cowardly little lamb is like a vegan breakfast: without eggs. The people are fighting, they are being killed and the guy uploads a photo’ of Gandhi praying,” he mentioned in his rant.

René must be reminded that, when it was his turn to take a stand for a just cause, the Venezuelan one, the man shrugged his shoulders showing his true nature: wolf when he has to talk about the right, lamb when it is his turn to criticize his beloved left.

Just go back to his interview with CNN in 2017, when Maduro and his Colectivos were killing in cold blood. On that occasion, instead of firmly condemning Chavismo for the repression against Venezuelans and calling Maduro’s regime a dictatorship, the Puerto Rican shyly went down the middle path: “I don’t live there. I can talk to you about Puerto Rico or the United States, which are the countries that affect me.”

In that shameless interview, René tried to defend his position by saying that he could not base himself on what “the mainstream media” said to qualify Maduro’s regime as a dictatorship. But of course, to talk about Colombia or any other country, the “people’s singer” has a different viewpoint.

The truth is that René does not like capitalism from the mouth out and he loves the most recalcitrant left only in his lyrics and public statements. Because in real life, instead of being in Havana or Caracas, the man lives placidly with the money he earned in the music industry in the United States, the country he likes to attack so much, buying 5.8 million dollar mansions.

The point is that Residente is not much different from the “fake artists” he claims to criticize. In fact, at least J Balvin has the decency to remain silent on political issues. So let’s not forget this: the Boricua’s great songwriting talent will never erase his moral poverty.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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