Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rubencito Raps!

Found this at of the hat to Aurora Flores. It's the new video single from Puerto Rican hip hop duo Calle 13 featuring, for the first time ever, a rapping Ruben Blades!

Love it when the (former) Panamanian Minister of Tourism turns to the camera and deadpans, "If you mess with my barrio, I don't like you."

This is not the first song/video about La Perla, a famous seaside neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Check out Ismael Rivera's beautiful salsa tribute from the 1970s. In the press conference footage that follows, that's a young Ruben Blades sitting next to El Sonero Mayor:

Blades interviewed Calle 13 a year ago, before their collaboration, on his video webcast, Show de Ruben Blades (SDRB). Not a puff piece, the 45-minute discussion of salsa vs. hip hop/reggaeton takes some surprisingly frank turns. (Part 1 of 5, in Spanish with English subtitles:)

Rapper Rene Perez (aka Residente of Calle 13) compares musica urbana to Marcel Duchamp (bet you didn't see that coming!) and Blades praises the authenticity of its songwriting.
"I like the freshness of the could call it urban poetry. What I don't like is the monotony. I'm a melody guy," says Blades.

At one point they joke about the generation gap--the then 59-year-old Blades says he's about to turn 70 soon, "godwilling," and Perez returns the hyperbole with, "and I'm 15." This is also a playful exaggeration, since Perez had just turned a barely discernible 30 the day before filming this.

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