Written by DJ Cancel, host of the Arroz con Pollo show, which airs every Saturday from 5-6pm.
To begin, here is some background information. Calle 13 is composed of two artists both whom were born and raised in Puerto Rico. The main vocalist is Residente, born René Pérez Joglar, and Visitante, born Eduardo José Cabra Martinez, is the beat maker. Residente’s half-sister, Ileana Cabra Joglar, is also credited as a vocalist for the band. With a first album self-titled “Calle 13,” released in 2005, Calle 13 proved that fame does not come from main stream media. Calle 13 gained fame the old fashion way by making great music. Though songs like “Se vale to-to,” “¡Atrévete Te, Te!,” and singles like “Querido F.B.I” won the duo a main stream media ban for being excessively vulgar, it also brought them into the spotlight. This gave the audience a chance to really listen to the music. Since then, their music has built an impressive legacy with a documentary titled “Sin Mapa,” two Grammys, and 19 Latin Grammys, a record tied only by famous artist Juanes.
What does Calle 13 stand for? Political equality, keeping those in power in check, and giving power back to the people. What genre do they fit into? It depends on who you ask. Calle 13 calls it urban music. Most label it as hip hop, rock-rap, and even reggaeton. In all honesty, Calle 13 has created its very own genre. Their beats and flow change with every album they release; this brings me to their newest album.
Multi Viral, Calle 13’s fifth and newest album, is a masterpiece. It is an album that has been developing since the beginning of Calle 13’s career. Calle 13 had help from Tom Morello, Julian Assange, John Leguizamo, Silvio Rodríguez, and more in this album. The duo finally found a way to express their thoughts in an eloquent and beautiful way without the need of appealing to anything but what they stand for. Hints of this can be seen in previous albums with songs like “Pal Norte,” “Latinoamérica,” and “La Perla,” but Multi Viral truly has it all. It includes inspirational songs such as “El Aguante,” and “Respira el Momento,” focused on people’s individual power to persevere. It includes songs like, “Gato Que Avanza, Perro Que Ladra,” “MultiViral,” and “Adentro,” charged with social and political commentary about government surveillance, the greed of the wealthy, and much more.
Multi Viral is the greatest of all of Calle 13’s albums to date. Having followed their career myself, it is amazing to see how Calle 13 has matured and grown these past nine years. I recommend this album to everyone, no matter what language you speak. The beats, rhythm, and flow of the album will make you fall in love just as much, if not more, than the lyrics themselves. I will leave you with my favorite verse from the album translated into English from the song “Me Vieron Cruzar,” which means they saw me cross:
Pero estoy preparado para // But I am ready for
Los días salados // The salty days
Cualquiera que camine // Whoever walks
Se tiene que haber resbalado // Must have slipped
Cai con todo el peso // I fell with all my weight
Pero si es fuerte la caída más // But if the fall was strong
Impresionante será mi regreso // My return will be even more impressive