Nuevo Culture

Rubén Blades Jumps Into the J Balvin-Residente Fight With a Surprise Rap

Rubén Blades, the award-winning salsa composer, singer, songwriter, and activist, has been inadvertently pulled into the J Balvin-Residente feud. On Thursday night, he delivered some words of advice to Residente and spectators watching the fight unfold with a quick, minute-long rap that appeared on his YouTube channel.

Residente recently shared that his tension with Balvin goes back a few years. However, their feud went fully public last year after J Balvin proposed that reggaeton stars boycott the 2021 Latin Grammys ceremony, saying that the Latin Recording Academy didn’t appreciate the genre’s artists enough. Residente took offense to the boycott idea and said he was particularly insulted because Blades, his close friend and idol, was being honored as the 2021 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. Last week, Residente called Balvin out in detail with a relentless, eight-minute freestyle, which was produced by the Argentine wunderkind Bizarrap.

In his video, Blades mimics the blue-hued aesthetic that Residente and Bizarrap used when they recorded their now-viral freestyle video. Blades starts to rap about how he got roped into everything: “My name has appeared on social media and newspapers, and the conflict requires me to comment,” he began his rhyme. He mentions Residente by name and says he loves him like a brother, but advises him not to let himself be consumed by rage. He raps that when he gets upset, he reminds himself that “águilas no cazan moscas,” a saying that, roughly translated, means “eagles shouldn’t hunt flies” — in essence, the bigger person shouldn’t give in to smaller problems.

He adds that there’s an old truth he’s learned: “El oro jamás compra al que su alma no vende,” or “Gold can never buy someone who doesn’t sell his soul.” It’s unclear if the line is a reference to Balvin. 

He then tells everyone to calm down by listening to his LP Salswing!, which won the 2021 Latin Grammy for Album of the Year, and reminds people of his upcoming concert on May 14 at Puerto Rico’s historic venue El Coliseo de Puerto Rico. He ends the video by singing and pointing to his shirt, which reads, “No le pongan atención a esas cosas,” or “Don’t pay attention to those things.”