It all started with two tweets posted by J Balvin to his 10.5M followers. His now deleted tweets called out the Grammys last September and asked those with influence in the genre to not attend. He claimed that the Grammys/ Latin Recording Academy do not value reggaeton musicians and only use them for ratings.
Saying, “The Grammys don’t value us, but need us. It’s my opinion and I have nothing against other genres because they deserve all the respect, but this is getting tiring,” “We give them ratings but they don’t give us respect. P.S. I’m nominated so don’t come saying I’m hurt.”
However there are some that say that the three nominations he received didn’t seem like enough and that is what set him off.
But the rabbit whole goes deep with this one because apparently what added fuel to the fire was the tribute the Grammys had in place for the iconic trailblazer Panamanian singer/songwriter and actor Ruben Blades. Ruben was to be recognized as the Latin Grammys Person of the year 2021.
According to the President and CEO of the Latin Recording Academy Gabriel Abaroa Jr., “Rubén Blades is a truly iconic artist who has inspired generations with the powerful and intelligent lyrics of his songs, and whose genius has promoted the justice at all levels of society.”
J Balvin was offended by this as he believes himself to be a leader of the movement. What followed was pure chaos when Residente from Calle 13 responded to said tweets with a now deleted video he posted to instagram. In the video Residente felt it was disingenuous for J Balvin to call for a boycott the year someone like Ruben Blades was being honored and not last year when J Balvin was nominated 13 times. In the end he said a lot only for people to take one very memorable quote from it, “It’s as if a hot dog cart got upset for not getting a Michelin star. And don’t misinterpret me, everyone loves hot dogs,” he continued “Your music is like a hot dog cart: a lot of people like it but when those people want to eat good, they go to a restaurant and that restaurant wins the Michelin stars.” ending the video saying, “So if you want to be nominated, you have to stop making hot dogs and open a restaurant or make an amazing hot dog.”
J Balvin commented under the post saying, “I respect your opinion” and added some emojis. Only to troll Residente by posting a picture of himself with a hot dog cart. This didn’t end there because while Residente decided to delete his response video and lay low, J Balvin kept it going and launched “Hot dog” merch.
Things took a turn in October when J Balvin dropped the abhorrent and repulsive music video for “Perra” in collaboration with Tokischa. The video was riddled with misogynistic and racist imagery depicting Afro-Latinas as dogs with collars and leashes. Amid the controversy J Balvin stood firm however the backlash forced him to retreat and he posted an apology video and removed the music video from YouTube.
While the fandoms are split, with J Balvin’s fans saying Residente is no longer relevant not realizing that since the beginning of his career in 2004 with Calle 13, Residente has won 39 awards out of 74 nominations. Both he and his step-brother Visitante hold the record for the most Latin Grammy Awards with 24 wins each. While Residente’s last studio album was in 2017 we can not deny that he has had a hand and a great influence on our favorites putting out reggaeton today including J Balvin. Residente crawled so J Balvin could run.
Now it is my opinion and no one asked me but I’m still going to tell you, while J Balvin’s popularity can not be denied his mis-steps at this point are more than just honest mistakes. To put it into context take the “Perra” video for instance and add the fact that the man that called for a boycott of the Grammy’s because he felt he was not respected and represented, this same man accepted the award for Best Afro-Latino Artist of the Year. This award was given by the African Entertainment Awards. Now how tone deaf does one have to be to accept something like this instead of rejecting his nomination and using his influence to highlight Afro-Latino artists’ voices.
To put the cherry on top on March 3rd Residente dropped a diss track and it slaps! At the end of one of the hooks Residente makes a very pointed statement in regards to J Balvin saying, “Eres racista y no lo sabes.” That is where we currently find ourselves my friends.
If you care to dig further, even Ruben Blades jumped into the beef telling Residente, “Sometimes it’s best to let the baby cry.”
So in case you were lost, that’s the beef.
To be continued…