On the always strange day of Friday the 13th, Residente – the 25-time Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist for his work with Calle 13 – released the first single, Somos Anormales, or We Are Abnormal, from his highly anticipated solo project.
Twitter was understandably pleased, and #somosanormales began quickly trending.
For the past two years, Puerto Rican rapper and activist Rene Perez – known by his stage-name, Residente – has been working on a solo project “inspired by his ancestors” which has taken him to four different continents to collaborate with local musicians and explore the multilayered heritage he discovered after taking a DNA test.
In what he calls his “most ambitious project to date,” Perez – celebrated for both the virtuosity and politics of his lyrics – set out to explore his genetic roots through music traveling to and collaborating with musicians from China, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Spain, England, and Puerto Rico.
"Everything that surrounds me affects me and as an artist, I feel the responsibility to reflect that. That's why I collaborated with talented artists, artists that the musical industry doesn't know of because they don't pay attention to them, artists that make music without expecting something in return, artists whom I share DNA with, just how they shared their stories with me," Residente said in a statement on the launch of the project’s website.
The single released Friday was recorded in Kyzyl, the capital of the South Siberian state of Tuva, along with the Tuvan throat singing group Chirgilchin. The video accompanying the track was filmed largely in Madrid, and directed by Residente himself.
With lines like “beauty is fed by faults,” the song proudly proclaims that “we are all abnormal” and celebrates the unique “labyrinth” of our genetics:
Our genetics, a labyrinth
We are equally different
What mixes is more interesting
Like a fly with elephant ears
Colors triplicate, nobody loses
Yellow with blue make green
They can not copy it
What’s impure can not be duplicated
The release comes just one month after Perez launched a website to accompany his vast project and ahead of a world tour which will begin spring.