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Residente provides a sensitive testimony and denounces a creative crisis in “Letters Don’t Count Anymore.”

What you need to know:

After seven years, Residente presents us “The Letters No Longer Matter”, an album in which he talks about human creativity and loss.

After telling us the story of his roots through his excellent 2017 self-titled album, Residente releases a new album as a solo artist. The letters no longer matter The premiere is celebrated with great anticipation after listening to songs like “René” and “Ron En El Piso”., in which the singer of Calle 13 surprised us with intense lines about his private life.

Just in the first song, René Pérez Joglar – as the Puerto Rican artist is actually called – tells the story of his entire life. This amazing song has been playing since 2020 but we can’t get enough of it. The resident says his mother sang school songs to him so he could memorize them.

new resident album
Residente is back with his second solo album/Photo: Getty Images

After a few years of devoting himself to “Las Tiraderas,” songs in which he took on other rappers and artists (like the session with Bizarrap that he dedicated to J Balvin), Residente took the opposite side of attacking others to humiliate himself and draw attention to the global creative crisis in 22 new songs that are barely longer than an hour and a half.

René produces with Leo Genovese (Esperanza Spalding, The Mars Volta) and collaborates in English with Busta Rhymes and Big Daddy Kane; with Latinos like Christian Nodal, WOS and Rauw Alejandro; and there are even some surprise appearances from Ricky Martin and Penélope Cruz. These songs that move away from what one understands by them Blowdurable and appealing to very deep feelings.

The letters no longer matter It is a highly orchestrated and choral album, an unlikely choice for this Puerto Rican rapper. But “Residente” makes us think and question the current state of human creativity rather than making us hum any tune romantic song, we question a lot about our own lives.

Residentes intense concern for human creativity

From the cover, Residente makes clear the album’s predominant theme: the constant tension between the human and the technological.. Whether through business impositions or the creation of letters with the help of programs, The Puerto Rican insists that the human factor, the letters, no longer matter to those who try to distance us from art.

“From the napkin” tells where René comes fromand that he will continue to rap and write even if the industry and audience focus is on other elements. Joglar’s everyday worries are reflected in songs like “Ron En El Piso” and “8”.in which he makes fun of the current state of music, the idea of ​​success coupled with sales and the creation of express trends for social networks.

He also talks about this in the short film “Psiccología”, in which he opens up again in an intimate space, more or less like in “René”. Below we leave them in case you haven’t checked it yet.

The essential part of René, taken to a new level

We know the resident’s work as a soloist well, and even if it wasn’t about nonsense, The rapper often enjoys fast, precise bars and praises his ability to rhyme and speak about his context. socio-political.

An example of this is “Cerebro,” a more soulful part in a production that is absolutely insaneAnd if that wasn’t enough, collaborating with the legendary Busta Rhymes leaves us blown away by what we just heard.

“Free style” It’s a real gem, A hip hop fresh and fast-paced, in which Residente works very well. It’s absolutely something old schooland shares the microphone with two pioneers like Big Daddy Kane and Vico C, in A great song that I hope we hear a lot this year. The production requires ropes, Scratch and a round bass that leaves a new classic of the Spanish genre.

Although sometimes he exaggerates and it seems like he hasn’t completely gotten over the bullshit, like in “Sin Lú” or “Problema Cabrón”, The pleasant moments are great, and that’s why we can pass up moments that seem more designed to fill the quota for the fans from the start.

Resident celebrates life since loss

Only on February 20th last year Residents shared “313”a stunning song that didn’t skimp on elements, production and the amazing music video that accompanies the songin which was particularly involved Penelope Cruz.

Open your heart to the fear of death, of no longer existing and of no longer seeing our loved ones, René sings for Valentina, a deceased friend of his. The artist himself said that The three-digit number appeared everywhere, in hotel numbers, on her cell phone and in the last conversation she had with her friend..

Of curiosity, Residents registered for GQ Spain that this song was originally intended to be recorded with Bon Iver and The National (no joke, you can hear it in your own voice here), but decided to give priority to Valentina’s sister playing the violins in the song.

Although we already knew some of the songs from this new album,Now we know the main reason why Residente wrote a large part of this album and releases it by February 23, 2024. Unfortunately, Valentina has not been an isolated incident in her life since then He has lost many friends from his native Puerto Rico and insists on dealing with the crises of his 40s alongside these losses..

The passage of time as inspiration for new material

“Rum on the floor” is a letter from René to René in which he talks about what changed his life 20 years after the release of Calle 13. In almost seven minutes, a constant length in the album, he pays us his own homage, in which we also think about the time we spent listening.

Very hard letters like “It’s not that it offends me, but it makes me feel old when the kids call me a legend now.” either “I want to do something with my brother to see if Calle 13 comes back”. Check out the group’s videography cues in this video. Have you seen them all?

The years do not pass in vain, and Residente pauses to reflect on his life, what he has achieved and the things he has lost along the way. Something similar happens with “Rene,” the first track that made us aware of the idea of ​​the artist himself in 2020, in which he opens his heart and lets us look back on our own lives. At 46, he remembers his mother, his childhood friends and the family he still has in Puerto Rico in the song that closes his second solo album.

Phenomenal and atypical production

Now the violence, that Hitand that beats The ear-splitting pieces have a strong presence of piano, orchestral strings and background vocals. The greatness of this album is immense at times as Residente becomes more nostalgic. Still, we couldn’t expect René to release classic rap songs with excellent production.

“In size” It features purely Latin guitars, with AL2 El Aldeano contributing with verses about Cuba, while René focuses on his native Puerto Rico. A sound like this reminds us a lot of the origins of Calle 13, which we like in an even more acidic and frontal version.

The presence of Puerto Rico in Residente’s new album can be found in songs like “Jerga Platanera”, “This is Not America” ​​and even in “Pólvora de Ayer”, with Christian Nodal. In this song we hear a lot of the essence of Calle 13, especially the group’s classic songs like “El Aguante” or “Calma Pueblo”.

The waste now lies with expectations and the industry musical

We notice the passing of the years so much that the one who was among the favorites in the hit charts and did not stop playing on the radio at the beginning of the 2000s, today represents a direct affront to the way the music business works. With concerns to create repeated ideas about the requirement Hitthe endless tours, the completely digital culture, Residente makes it clear that he is reluctant to be part of the trend.

The clearest example of this satire of his role as an artist is the depiction of Ricky Martin singing about being a successful balladeer – what a redundancy – “I want to be a ballad singer” , whose chorus doesn’t say much and makes fun of the weight given to a particular genre.

However, the very personal work is very lengthy, a further affront to the industry Sometimes the interludes and the only symphonic songs tend to be heavy, considering that many songs also have an orchestral introduction and an outro. The album even includes a song with Jessie Reyez called “The meeting”, but it hasn’t been released yet, maybe we can hear it in a deluxe or later version of the album.

Residente is an artist who usually performs in all his tours in our country.and although he hasn’t announced a world tour to promote it The letters don’t matter anymore, We are sure he will visit Mexico soon and we will see him singing these songs soon.

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