Calle 13's Residente Talks Grammys, Pulque, and Independent Puerto Rico

This weekend, Calle 13's Residente and Visitante will wrap their collective microphone cables around the neck of reggaeton and strangle every last booty clap out of Puerto Rican party music.

Which is to say, they still keep the ladies' hips shaking. But they've got a message too. And it's one that trumps the stereotypes.

We recently spoke to lead rapper Residente for this week's music feature about Calle 13. Here are the quotes that didn't make the cut.

Crossfade: Congratulations on all the Grammy nominations. How's it feel?
Thanks. It feels great man. To have that kind of recognition, and to be in a group that's making the music that we make, and you can't listen to our music on the radio, it's great for us and for art in general.

How do you like Miami?
Miami is nice, we have friends there. I go there a lot because I fly a lot, and so I always stop there for like a day or two and then keep going. At the same time, the things that I know about Miami are not the good things. I just know the superficial part of Miami from the TV, and I just don't believe in the same things as Univision and the other channels and what they show. It's sad that when I'm there I'm usually just in a friend's house. I don't go out there too often.

What about performing here?

We haven't performed in a few years in Miami. But I remember it feels good. It's a different energy. The crowd was different. It wasn't only reggaeton. They liked

rock music, tropical, cumbia, hip-hop. It was a mix, so it was good.

Now it's happening around the world in general. But Miami was one of

the first places I saw that.

What would be your Bill Of Rights and Constitution for Puerto Rico as an independent nation?
Well, of course, freedom of speech, free education, free health programs. The most important is free public education. A well-educated country is a very strong country.

What are your thoughts on the Puerto Rican independence movement?

Over there in America, it's like all the states are married and we [Puerto Rico] are like the girls you sometimes fuck. But you have your own thing over there.

I want Puerto Rico to be free and independent and have just one flag. The people here don't work the way they should, and it's because of the comfort they are feeling from you guys, from the States. We have a very low self-esteem. We feel that we can't do it on our own. We as a country need to feel proud about our nation; That we can negotiate with other countries  without asking for permission, that we don't have to go to war in Iraq. That's your stuff, not ours. We can't even vote for our own president. That's strange.

What do you think about the Arab Spring, the revolutions in the Middle East?

There is a lot of movement, and it's via the internet, like Twitter and Facebook. In Spain, you have a lot of young people marching against their government. And in Egypt, you have the same. It's happening in Chile, the students fighting for a free public education. And also in Colombia. And I think it's great. They just have to pass to the next step and do something about it. You can be mad and march. But what's next?

Explain this rhyme from the song "Latinoamérica": "Un trago de pulque para hablar con los coyotes."
Pulque is like a drink in Mexico. It's a drink, a nice drink, and los coyotes are what they call the people who help the immigrants get to the States. And also what I'm doing is the double meaning, talking about the animal coyote and singing with it in the night.

What are you working on now?
I'm starting to write in English to be able to connect with more people. I'm gonna practice a lot. In terms of being a rapper, I want to be the best in any language that I do it. Portuguese too, and maybe French, those languages. But first I wanna do it good in English.

Do you consider Miami part of Latin America?
Yeah, in a way. There's a lot of Latin American people living over there in Miami. I don't consider it in terms of geography. But in terms of soul, there is a big part of Latin America living in Miami.

Calle 13. Saturday, October 15. The Plaza at the American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $36.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 786-777-1000 or visit aaarena.com.

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