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Calle 13 - Residente O Visitante

From http://okayplayer.com:

Calle 13 will change your mind about reggaeton and Latin hip-hop. The Puerto Rican duo of emcee Residente and producer Visitante throw out all conventions of urban Latin music on their sophomore release. While establishing a large following with their danceable, reggaeton-tinged self-titled debut, Residente o Visitante finds the group adopting the musical styling of many Latin American nations, and adding their distinct hip-hop flavor accented by Residente’s unique voice and flow. The result is one of the best Latin hip-hop albums recorded, punctuated by excellent and eclectic production, and some of the raunchiest and most comical lyrics put to recorded media.

Residente o Visitante is a tour of Latin America through the eyes of two demented hip-hop heads. “Tango De Pecado” employs the typical orchestral backing of an Argentine tango, paired with Residente’s tongue-in-cheek tales of Satanism and sin, demanding listeners to dance atop volcanic lava. “La Cumbia de Los Aburridos” satirizes club wallflowers and party-poopers with the accordion and brass of typically Colombian cumbia music. The tour continues with the Mexican-influenced, tuba-heavy “La Fokin’ Moda,” and the Brazilian samba-flavored “Un Beso De Desayuno.” The latter may be Calle 13’s first quasi-sincere love song, but often employs Dali-esque levels of surrealism in its storytelling.

Although Residente’s nonsensical and sexually-explicit lyrics are often overshadowed by Visitante’s picturesque melodies, Residente is unafraid to remind us of his hip-hop roots and political undertones. “Sin Exagerar” pairs the duo with Puerto Rico’s best rapper, Tego Calderon, for a funky and danceable display of their lyrical skills. Calle 13 pays tribute to their birthplace on “La Crema,” a horn-driven head-nodder. The shining moment, though, is “Pal Norte.” On the track, the duo team with Cuban hip-hop trio Orishas for a fiery guitar-based tirade on the issues of Latin American immigration.

Although it’s easy for Calle 13 to be grouped into the same musical categories as Daddy Yankee, the duo actually belongs in a much smaller and more elite category. Along with artists like Tego Calderon, Orishas, and Ozomatli, Calle 13 are amongst the few actually pushing the boundaries of Latin music, blending the best of hip-hop with the music and spirit of hundreds of years of Latin culture.

- Adrian Ruhi

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