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A coup d’ reggaetón & trap

A coup d’ reggaetón & trap

A coup d’ reggaetón & trap
August 01
16:20 2019

Jesus Sanchez Melean


Residente and Bad Bunny led the two massive protests that took place in Puerto Rico pushing for the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló. The former Calle 13 singer and the famous trap singer went on the streets, and due to their celebrity status, they became the leaders of that popular revolution that took place on the island. These two artists -one of them, a 10-time Latin Grammy winner and 2-time Grammy winner; and the other one with 10 Billboard awards for his recent hits- took their roles very seriously.


Rene made very serious statements. “This is history. And it is very important that we be aware of what we want. We need a change. We do not want these political parties with the same things and with the same charlatans in the government. We want new faces and new ideas. That is what Puerto Rico is asking for. We are peacefully asking you out,” said the singer. Thousands of Puerto Ricans resonated with that discourse. Happens that Rene is not a novice on politics.


All the lyrics Rene rapped with Calle 13 were political. This artist showcased himself as a radical leftist. He defended every single left-wing regime that governed Latin America during the beginning of the XXI century. He was one of the last celebrities to criticize Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile, for bad Bunny, the business of sending political messages is new. His messages were more naïve.


The biggest trap artist in the world thanked Puerto Ricans for their courage. “Here, there are people of all ages, all sectors. There was no division, but you have to tell the truth and something that makes me very proud: Puerto Rican youth was on the streets”, said Bad Bunny. And he continued, with his electrifying discourse: “many things have been said, that young people listen to trap, reggaeton… and that the youth of Puerto Rico is lost. Let me tell you that I was not lost, but fighting on the streets for the country.”


Bad Bunny’s words were followed by ovation. And with all that momentum, these two urban artists launched a song on social media. This song “Afilando Cuchillos” (sharpening knives) also includes Ilé Cabra, Rene’s sister. That song has a very direct and very violent message. The artists are calling to sharpen the knives. They say with those sharpened knives they will go out and cut the weeds on the fields. The weeds, or bad herbs, alludes to Rosselló and his cabinet.


I can responsibly affirm that Rene and Bad Bunny crossed the line by writing, or improvising, the lyrics of “Afilando Cuchillos.” This song promotes crime and justifies them. Rene and Bad Bunny are inviting their audience to use their “well sharpened knives” to hurt and to cut heads off. I also want to make clear I have nothing against rap, trap or reggaeton. I listen to this music. I am an advocate of urban music and its artists, when the songs are good.


I feel relieved when I see that I am not the only one who dislikes the song. “Afilando Cuchillos has a mere 326 thousand views in YouTube. This is a very poor performance compared with the 1.3 million Rene got on his song “Latinoamerica” on the same platform. This bad performance is also a contrast with the 1.8 million views Bad Bunny’s “Callaita” has. I have no other explanation to the lack of enthusiasm for “Afilando Cuchillos.”


What matters is that the call to violence Rene and Bad Bunny made was not well received. Puerto Rican protests were pacific. Very few people committed vandalism, or “sharpened their knives”, when they gathered at the protests in San Juan. The events that took place in Puerto Rico were a good demonstration of civility. Anarchy and violence were not necessary. This time, the opinion of the majority ruled, and there were no casualties.


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