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Residente is a Puerto Rican rapper, writer, filmmaker, producer and co-founder of the alternative rap group Calle 13. He has won 25 Grammy Awards – more than any other Latin artist.
Born René Juan Pérez Joglar, he studied fine art for 8 years, before launching an independent career as a lyricist, performer and director of many his own music videos. His lyrics have been lauded by critics and studied by academics at universities around the world.
Residente spent more than a decade as the voice of Calle 13, the genre-splicing Puerto Rican duo of Residente and Visitante — his half brother Eduardo José Cabra Martinez — who composed and produced the music. Calle 13 started out close to reggaeton and socially conscious hip-hop but its ideas advanced exponentially through its five albums.
Calle 13 later dipped into hip-hop, salsa, klezmer, Native American chants, hard rock, even Irish jigs, while Residente’s lyrics offered sociopolitical commentary, raunch, science fiction and solidarity with a worldwide underclass. On tour, the group sometimes collected admission prices in food, to be distributed to the local poor or disaster victims. Residente often displayed political slogans on his T-shirt or his painted chest.
Calle 13 quickly reached the arena circuit across Latin America, their 2011 song Latinoamérica, featuring celebrated singers from Peru, Brazil and Colombia, becoming a hemispheric anthem. After the tour that followed their remarkable 2014 album, “Multi_Viral,” both an embrace of and critique of internet culture, Residente and Visitante went separate ways, and Residente became the architect of his own music.
A few years ago, Residente took a DNA test that traced his genes back to 10 vastly different parts of the world – from his native Puerto Rico to Armenia, Ghana to China. An artist long invested in breaking down boundaries of all kinds, he decided that these results would serve as the conceptual framework for his next project in 2017 – the self-titled LP Residente. The album won the Latin Grammy for best urban music album and was named Billboard’s Best Spanish Language Album of the Year.
He is recognised for his commitment to social justice, championing educational and native rights across Latin America. In November 2015, Residente received the Nobel Peace Summit Award for his commitment to social awareness and promoting peace. He has also served as the spokesperson for several UNICEF and Amnesty International campaigns.