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Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2010-08-31.

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022545/00001

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Title: Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2010-08-31.
Physical Description: Book
Language: english
Creator: Mendoza, Cynthia
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Statement of Responsibility: by Cynthia Mendoza.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Horton-Stallings, LaMonda.
Electronic Access: INACCESSIBLE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022545:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022545/00001

Material Information

Title: Record for a UF thesis. Title & abstract won't display until thesis is accessible after 2010-08-31.
Physical Description: Book
Language: english
Creator: Mendoza, Cynthia
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Statement of Responsibility: by Cynthia Mendoza.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Horton-Stallings, LaMonda.
Electronic Access: INACCESSIBLE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022545:00001


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INEL NORTE CON CALLE 13 AND TEGO CALDERON:
TRACING AN ARTICULATION OF LATINO IDENTITY IN REGUETON





















By

CYNTHIA MENDOZA


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008


































2008 Cynthia Mendoza































To Emilio Aguirre, de quien herede el amor a los libros
To Mami and Sis, for your patience in loving me









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank G, for carrying me through my years of school. I thank my mother, Rosalpina

Aguirre, for always being my biggest supporter even when not understanding. I thank my sister,

Shirley Mendoza-Castilla, for letting me know when I am being a drama queen, providing

comedic relief in my life, and for being a one-of-a-kind sister. I thank my aunt Lucrecia Aguirre,

for worrying about me and calling to yell at me. I thank my Gainesville family: Priscilla, Andres,

Ximena, and Cindy, for providing support and comfort but also the necessary breaks from

school. I want to thank Rodney for being just one phone call away. I thank my committee: Dr.

Horton-Stallings and Dr. Marsha Bryant, for their support and encouragement since my

undergraduate years; without their guidance, I cannot imagine making it this far. I thank Dr.

Efrain Barradas, for his support and guidance in understanding and clarifying my thesis subject. I

thank my cousins Katia and Ana Gabriela, for reminding why is it that I do what I do.









TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ..............................................................................................................4

ABSTRACT .................................................................................. 6

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .................. ................... .. ........... ...................................... ...8

2 C A L L E 13 ..................................................................................................... ..................... 19

3 T E G O C A L D E R O N ...............................................................................................................3 6

4 M USIC AS A SITE OF SEXUAL PLEASURE............................................... ................ 44

5 C O N C L U S IO N .............................................................................................. ..................... 5 2

L IST O F R EFE R E N C E S ............................................................................................. 54

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......... ...........56









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for The Degree Of Master of Arts

INEL NORTE CON CALLE 13 AND TEGO CALDERON: TRACING AN ARTICULATION
OF LATINO IDENTITY IN REGUETON

By

Cynthia Mendoza

August 2008

Chair: LaMonda Horton-Stallings
Major: English

This work, "In el Norte con Calle 13 and Tego Calder6n: Tracing an Articulation of

Latino Identity in Reguet6n Music," explores the music genre of reguet6n as an identity

formation site for Latinos that negotiates a space between the heterogeneity of U.S. society and

the difference of their marginalized subjectivity. The genre of reguet6n is often viewed as a

crass, vulgar, violent and misogynistic music devoid of any cultural significance. By looking at

Calle 13's lyrical violence and Tego Calder6n's performance of identity in their musical

production, I examine the way in which these artists play with stereotypes to complicate the

perception of Latinos by U.S. mainstream society. These artists do so by creating this music as a

disidentificatory tactic that resists cultural assimilation into the dominant society through the

vocalization of ethnic pride. Popular culture, in the form of reguet6n, is used as an expression for

the feeling of difference, of feeling Brown, which I position as a uniting force within the Pan-

Latino Diaspora in and outside of the United States. In exploring a music genre created mostly in

Puerto Rico, heavily centered on local and regionalized experiences of these artists as Puerto

Rican men, I am interested in understanding the influence that the Latin American countries of

origin have in the creation or formation of a Latino identity as seen through the consumption of

reguet6n by those of Latin American heritage residing in the U.S. This work is meant to









encourage further discussion on the Pan-Latino Diaspora through the examination of popular

cultural productions such as reguet6n: a music genre heavily embedded in the fusion of many

Latin American cultures and also shaped by the global U.S. economic and social power.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Reguet6n, alternately spelled reggaeton, is a music genre that develops in the late 80s,

early 90s in Puerto Rico. It was partly imported from Panama, and it was dubbed "underground"

during its early stages on the island. The pioneers of the genre focused on creating a conscious

music invested in narrating the lives of those in the streets. As it stands today, the scholarship

developed around reguet6n focuses on its aesthetics and its development in Puerto Rican culture.

According to Angel Rodriguez Rivera,

Con demasiada frecuencia se menciona que el reguet6n es de formacion muy reciente... [y]
nos result problematico aceptar el genero en si mismo y como representaci6n national"
(with too much frequency it is mentioned how reguet6n has just been recently
formed... [and] it is problematic for us to accept the genre for what it is and as a national
representation (Didlogo 23).

Rodriguez Rivera demonstrates how the critics of the genre limit their conception of the

music and its impact on Puerto Rican society because they fail to explore the different facets of

reguet6n beyond its conception and expansion in Puerto Rican culture. Currently, there are no

book-length studies on the music. A great deal of critical work on this genre is being published

as pop cultural pieces in newspapers, or as brief segments discussed in essays on other Puerto

Rican music. It is important to note that most of this scholarship is being published in Spanish.

Though this might seem ideal, it is necessary to have scholarship published in the English

language to capture a Latino audience that might be bilingual or only speaks English. At the time

of this thesis, there is only one forthcoming book edited by Raquel Z. Rivera. It will be the only

English language book on reguet6n. Given the lack of scholarship in this area, I feel my work

will contribute in finding new ways to understand the music and also the people who produce

and consume it in the United States. Most of the early scholarship criticized the genre and its

artists as being responsible for the degeneration of Puerto Rican culture and youth. As Frances









Negr6n-Muntaner and Raquel Z. Rivera explained in the article "Reguet6n Nation", "reggaeton

has been attacked as immoral, as well as artistically deficient, a threat to the social order,

apolitical, misogynist, a watered-down version of hip-hop and reggae, the death sentence of

salsa, and a music foreign to Puerto Rico" (36). Such beliefs make it the number one enemy of

Puerto Rican middle-class values. However, more recent criticisms have begun to view reguet6n

as having value in its expression of Puerto Rican pride. I see my work contributing to the latter

scholarship. In this thesis, I read reguet6n as a mechanism of cultural resistance for a Pan-Latino

Diasporic identity threatened by the globalization of U.S. values.

Reguet6n is an articulation of Latino identity reflective of the diverse origins of Latin(o)s

as it encompasses a multitude of Latin American sounds mixed with the Dem Bow beat. The

Dem Bow beat is the essential characteristic of this genre as it sets it apart from the reggae and

hip-hop genres that are part of its musical lineage. In mixing this beat which is the underlying

boom-ch-boom-chick with other Latin American genres, it captures the attention of many groups

despite the different individual experiences that mold Latino life by the intersections of race,

class, gender, time of arrival, circumstances of migration, and/or colonization (Marshall 2006).

The reguet6n consumed in the U.S. is first and foremost, produced (almost in its entirety) in

Puerto Rico. However, when consumed by mainstream society it enables Latinos to be an active

part of constructing the U.S. national discourse, as well as critiquing it without the dominant

threat of assimilation and loss of cultural memory. In its role as a cultural assertion of

mainstream music, it specifically "allows Latinos and other subordinated groups in the United

States [to] attain cultural citizenship and thus 'claim space in society and eventually claim

rights'" (Davila 11). Through the mixing of Latin American music genres with hip hop, reggae

and dancehall, and the use of lyrics about socioeconomic and political circumstances of Puerto









Rico, the reguetoneros express a Latino identity that negotiates a space between heterogeneity

and difference as they revise negative stereotypes within U.S. mainstream culture.

The artists of this genre use the term "Latino" to encompass those who live in Puerto Rico,

the neighboring Latin American countries and the Latin American "Latino" community residing

in the United States. In their work, Tego Calder6n and Calle 13, use the terms Latino and

Latinoamericano to talk about the Latin(o) American Diaspora residing in the Latin American

countries as well as those residing in the U.S. I use the term Latin American for those of Latin

American origin that reside in Latin American and/or Caribbean, Latino for the population that

resides in the U.S., and Latin(o) when referring to both populations. While the music seems to be

produced mostly in one place (Puerto Rico), it is not being directed at only one specific

audience; instead, it tries to encompass in the word "Latino" the realities of people who share

differences as their common ground. This is the pan-ethnic message that the music and the

reguetoneros have taken up, sometimes consciously and at others times unconsciously, as their

use of the word Latino and the distribution of their music outside of the island make the music

available for interpretation by a transnational audience. The reguetoneros use the term "Latino"

to identify two distinct categories of people from Latin American origins including Puerto Rico.

In this paper, I concentrate my efforts on the U.S. population deriving from Latin American

origins and the power reguet6n can have in countering the troubling mainstream articulations and

perceptions of Latino identity.

In the U.S., reguet6n as a cultural production allows its artists to play with and move

between good/bad representations of Latinos as they address social and economic issues within

urban landscapes while preserving the use of the Spanish language. The reguetoneros do so

through their performance of an outlaw persona who chooses to live in opposition to and









resistance against the normative rules of a homogenous society. In its inception, the pioneers of

reguet6n adopted negatively-perceived stereotypes associated with Black culture that identified

the lower-class adolescents. They played into the stereotypes of being gangster and drug dealers

just as cultural critic Tricia Rose delineates: "Black teenage males sporting sneakers and other

Hip Hop gear are perceived as criminal equivalents" ("Fear of a Black Planet" 277).

Reguetoneros also adopted Hip hop outlaw attitude and style of dress "which in many cases

[were] similar to those of U.S. icons, such as Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G... [wearing]

oversized jeans below the waist level (exposing the underwear), with the long end of a belt

hanging down, and oversized jackets and T-Shirts" (Aparacio 86). Like their U.S. counterparts,

the style of dress used by adolescents in Puerto Rico who were fans of the up and coming

"underground" genre (which later on became reguet6n) were immediately separated into a

category that denoted a lower and dangerous social class. The youth of Puerto Rico transformed

the hip-hop style of dress used to denote lower-class Black youths in the U.S by using Rasta

influences and their own fashion aesthetic such as the colors of the Puerto Rican flag in

representation of cultural pride. This mode of dress and its negative connotation illustrate the

class boundaries in Puerto Rico, as well as the issues of race and ethnicity within the U.S.

Despite their use of these personas and fashion, these performers rarely committed any crimes.

However, they do seek, through their performance of identity, to disrupt dominant social

pressures to assimilate with the mainstream.

Deploying strategies such as these is how reguet6n does not force its listeners to choose

sides between their cultural roots and present reality. Instead, it brings these two seemingly

competing segments of Latino experience together as it celebrates Latin American identity while

speaking directly to the Latino population about the subaltern position they occupy as U.S.









citizens. The music translates what it means to be perceived as different or alien, with all its

injustices and adversities, but it also translates joys and pleasure into rhythms that celebrate who

we are as an imagined Latino community from many places.

Latino as a term is meant to articulate a pan-ethnic interpretation of the differences encountered

in this population when, as Juan Flores explains in From Bomba to Hip Hop, the word entails

The study of Latinos centering analysis on the dialectic between the parts and the whole,
the discrete national groups and the 'Latino' construct. The focus is necessarily on
interaction, while the hypostasized social group itself, along with its 'discourse, 'is
understood as process rather than as a fixed entity or meaning. (200,150)

Flores' focus on the interaction between the parts and the whole suggests that a Latino

identity does not exist in a vacuum completely devoid of any interaction or influence by the

"parts" or countries of origin that make up this identity category. Instead, through the constant

influx of new migrants into the U.S., the Latino identity category is able to maintain its fluidity,

as these new arrivals are constantly transforming what it means to be of Latin American descent

in the U.S. Some members of the community, and outside of it, view the word Latino as

problematic because it has been used to classify a group of people that by the standard categories

of race, language and nationality have more differences than commonalities. This problem of

identification demonstrates the inability of U.S. society to cope with "the dynamics forged by the

articulated interaction of class, race, and gender in shaping people's access to citizenship

rights...and the contemporary transnational context which national identities are being

reconstituted and ethnic identities are being shaped in the United States" (Oboler 15). These

differences that disturb the set categories used within U.S. society to classify and maintain the

status quo, allow Latinos to retain some of their specific communal identity despite the onslaught

pressure to assimilate into mainstream U.S. society. Yet, because of the fluidity of this identity,

there is a constant use of behavioral stereotypes by mainstream society in an attempt to









understand and concretize a stagnant Latino identity. This attribution of behavior as demarcation

of difference goes from such simple characteristics as speaking Spanish to being indiscriminately

associated with "high numbers of school dropouts, rising rates of teen-age pregnancies, crime,

drugs, AIDS, and other social ills of this society"(Oboler 13). This illustrates how issues within

the Latino community become dramatized to paint a terrifying picture of Latinos as a societal ill

that threatens the U.S.

The different migrant national groups that compose the Latino community endure what

can be best described as a sense of displacement or alienation within the confines of U.S. society.

Jose Esteban Mufioz classifies this alienation as "Feeling Brown" in "Chico, what does it feel

like to be a problem? The Transmission of Brownness" (443). This idea of "feeling like a

problem" is a direct reference to W.E.B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folks and his discourse on

double-consciousness, which sought to explain how African Americans negotiate a national

identity and space for African-American cultural traditions within U.S society. Mufioz applies

this discourse to Latino studies when explaining how in the vein of Du Bois' double-

consciousness, Latino's feeling of alienation in the U.S. of "feeling Brown, feeling like a

problem" leads them to seek an alternative means of negotiating national identity in relation to

the mainstream without assimilating and erasing important ethnic roots.

While U.S. society acknowledges that there were different groups migrating, colonizing

and being colonized throughout U.S. history, the culmination of that history is perceived to be

this U.S. "melting pot" culture. A culture where regardless of socio-economic status, color of

skin, nationality or language, if an individual chooses to become "American" and adhere to the

unspoken societal rules of a monolithic English language, and the rejection of cultural ancestry

that dominate this country, he/she too can have a piece of the American dream. This









romanticized reality is once again challenged by the presence of Latinos, as the controversy

stemming from the right to bilingual education is one of the major points of disagreement within

the political and public sphere of the nation for Latinos. The issue of language signals the idea

that uniformity is needed in the creation of a nation state.

In reality, the U.S. does not have a "melting pot" culture. Historically, U.S. citizenship and

nationalism is focused on the erasure or consumption of other cultures by the adaptation of

traditional values into a commercialized commodity, while rejecting any differences that can

cause a disruption in the homogeneity of national discourse and serve as a bridge to the countries

of origin. The U.S. attempts to maintain a national narrative that its society serves as a

welcoming entity comprised of different ethnic and racial groups who eventually assimilated into

the mainstream culture. Yet, the actual existence of a Latino category in terms of ethnicity,

speaks of the resilience of different Latin American national groups to actively resist

assimilation, and in doing, to forge a new American identity. An identity that not based on the

superficial categories of skin color, language and nationality, and which allows for a national

identity that is much more inclusive and tolerant of differences.

For Latinos living in the margins, the initial impulse is to try and fit into the normative and

disassociate from that which makes him/her different. However, rather than to disassociate,

Mufioz positions the acceptance of difference and the articulation of difference through our

performances of culture and ethnic identity as the way to "be attentive to the psychic vicissitudes

of belonging in difference, which [he] describes as feeling Brown, and working through that

position...to find new ways of living in the world that are pleasurable, ethical, and indeed

'tolerable'" (446-447). As a minority group, Latinos cannot ease the feeling of uneasiness and

undesirability they provoke in the normative majority, but they can use this difference to carve a









space of their own, to belong to the nation by way of difference, while staying true to their

cultural roots. It is in this light of difference, of disruptive behavior as working through a

position of"Brownness" and owning what Mufioz calls the "negation projected onto [Latinos] by

a racist public sphere that devalues the particularity (read differences) of non-Anglo Americans"

(445) that I choose to read reguet6n in relation to Latinos in the U.S. I explore what the music's

disruption of the dominant society's values can mean in the forging of Latino identity. In this

music genre, which is very much the product of Puerto Rico and its political and cultural state as

a colonial subject, there is a pattern of resistance that resonates with the lived experiences of

Latinos who face the question of assimilation, resistance or a combination of both every day.

As I use the term "Latino" and not "Hispanic," I am consciously aware that both words can

be used as umbrella terms when trying to describe a wide range of people with very distinctive

physical and cultural characteristics separating them from one another. In U.S. society, the

conceptualization of nation depends on having its constituents look a certain way, speak one

common language and share a common spatial living area to facilitate categorization of who is

part of the nation and who is not. Since the Latino/Hispanic population is composed of many

different groups it does not adhere to the homogenous norms of the majority and cannot be easily

labeled based on physical appearance. Differences within the Latino community emphasize the

homogeneity of U.S. society and its categories of identification because Latino populations do

not remain within the white/black dichotomy that primarily constructs the racial relations in the

U.S. The white/black dichotomy dictates white Europeans as true citizens of the nation. Yet, the

diverse make-up of Latino populations challenges the assumption that "American" means non-

ethnic White, as there are Latinos who could be read as racially White, but because of their

ethnic heritage might not be considered part of the nation. This demonstrates the difficulty of









thinking of a Latino/Hispanic population in the same simple categorical ideology permeating

U.S. society. The labels "Latino" or "Hispanic" are not sufficiently adequate to express the

diversity that this community encompasses.

As previously stated, both terms have similar pitfalls. In the word "Latino" there is a

double disruption as it is an alternative to the government-imposed "Hispanic" which designates

this community as the "foreign other" because the term erases cultural and historical ties to Latin

America. This gives credence to Suzanne Oboler statements that "to identify oneself [as Latino]

is a conscious choice not only acknowledging one's history and socio-cultural background but

also recognizing the need to struggle for social justice. In this sense, more than solely a culturally

dictated fact of life, identifying oneself as Latino/a and participating in a Latino social movement

is apolitical decision" (Oboler "The Politics of Labeling" 32). I examine this political decision

in the context of reguet6n, and what it means when the Puerto Rican reguetoneros speak of their

reality in Puerto Rico while their music and lyrics are consumed by Latinos residing in the

United States. Through a detailed analysis of Puerto Rico's reguet6n as a cultural text, my aim is

to demonstrate that the actual performances of the artists, lyrical violence found in Calle 13's

musical production and Tego Calderon's performance of identity, serve as acts of disruption on

U.S. national discourse. These artists refuse to adhere to normative ideologies of propriety and

use the music to embrace the idea of existing in the margins so that Latinos do not have to omit

their differences but use it as an emblem of commonality that screams "I am Brown."

The music is framed by the disenfranchisement of the lower class, as it is the Puerto Rican

working class that develops and embraces this genre that speaks from sectorsrs que han sido

excluidos de los process de production y general sus expresiones sociales desde los margenes.

No unos margenes temporeros sino margenes permanentes, ineludibles, inescapables... [que]









mantiene una subalternidad discursiva.' This means that the genre stems from (sectors [of the

population] that have been excluded from the process of production and generate their own

social expression from the margins. Not temporary margins but very permanent, unavoidable,

unescapable margins that maintain their connection with the subaltern discourse)" (Rodriguez-

Rivera 23). Since the music becomes a site of resistance against assimilation through the

incorporation of Latin American histories it provides an alternative and youth-directed narrative

to the one disseminated by U.S. formal education. It also plays up the idea of double-

consciousness as the musical rhythms seem to manifest a product devoid of any social

consciousness because it is danceable and representative of pleasure and desire from what is

considered the lowest section of Puerto Rican society. The artists tell the world or society in

general "Te devuelvo el fango, pa' que te lo goce," (I give you back the mud, so you can enjoy

it) (Ramos, ElNuevo Dia), or rather I give you back the mud you impose upon me and let you

have fun with it.

By invoking the issues of class that are part of Puerto Rican society, the reguetoneros'

music connects to the issues of race/ethnicity that are so prevalent in U.S. society. It should be of

no surprise that reguet6n as a genre that speaks to the subaltern, originates in Puerto Rico, an

island that is the last standing evidence of U.S. colonialism in Latin America. The colonization

of Puerto Rico forever changed the island's population's sense of self and cultural identity,

having to endure a cultural assault since 1898. As Angel R. Oquendo explains in his essay "Re-

imagining the Latino/a Race," once Puerto Rico and the annexed Mexican territories were

engulfed by the U.S., "they became the underclass, systematically perceived and treated as a

conquered people" (97). As the underclass, Puerto Ricans distinguish those who are part of the

U.S. national discourse and those who are not. As those excluded from the national discourse









Puerto Ricans have a distinctive way of expressing their lived experiences as the "cultural Other"

even when being culturally consumed by the dominant society. Reguet6n, according to Juan

Antonio Ramos of the newspaper EINuevo Dia, is "en su letra y en su baile, es insolente, crudo,

feo, hedonista y, sobre todo, franco," meaning that in its lyrics and dance, is insolent, crass, ugly,

hedonistic, and above all frank. This frankness is what propels artists such as Calle 13 and Tego

Calder6n to voice the injustices faced by their native Puerto Rico. Some of these injustices are

perpetrated by the dominant power of the United States, but other injustices are committed by

those in power within Puerto Rico who imitate the social constructions of propriety exhibited by

U.S. mainstream society. These artists' investment in speaking against injustice provides a space

in the music to rearticulate Latino identity as it challenges the negative stereotypes and

stigmatization attached to Latino identity.









CHAPTER 2
CALLE 13

As a music genre, reguet6n encompasses a mixture of diverse sounds that ranges from

Calle 13's infusion of cumbias and tangos with the Dem Bow beat to the more traditional rap-

influenced music of Tego Calder6n. Calle 13, led by front man Residente, is aggressive and

irreverent as they address the social conditions of Latin(o)s in and out of the United States. They

use violent lyrics to showcase deviant behaviors that are an expression of their frustration with

U.S. intervention in Latin American politics and the immigrant experience. In their incorporation

of different Latin American sounds such as Colombia's cumbias, Argentina's tangos, Mexico's

rancheras, New York based salsa, and Andean rhythms of Peru and South America, they convey

their belief that a Pan-Latino solidarity can counteract the globalization of U.S. values. In a

different manner, Tego Calder6n's music also manifests the same feeling of solidarity while

centering on local issues of racial pride and socio-economic inequality within Puerto Rico. His

articulation of Latino identity is based on a racialized and gendered performance of an identity

that actually revises the stereotypes attached to his real physical presence as a Black Puerto

Rican while using his music as his most brutal opposition to oppressive powers inside and

outside the island. While the music is anchored in the lived experiences of the artists as Puerto

Rican men, they illustrate through their lyrics, the negotiation between the different facets of

their identity as Puerto Ricans, Latin Americans, and U.S. citizens.

Calle 13 debuted on the scene in 2005 with the self-titled album Calle 13, which they

recently followed up in 2007 with Residente o Visistante. The group is comprised of half-

brothers Rene "Residente" Perez and Eduardo Jose "Visitante" Cabra who grew up on 13th street

in the suburbs of El Conquistador in Puerto Rico. The group is unique in their position as college

educated white suburbanites within a musical genre that relies heavily on the performance of









being "ganster" (gangster), living in the caserios (projects) and being submersed in a world of

illegal activity. While these two men do not have the street credentials that seem necessary to

succeed in the reguet6n genre, they make up for it with the innovative way in which they push

the boundaries of propriety. By using an enormous amount of profanity in their tracks, they

blatantly criticize the U.S. and Puerto Rican government, and are explicit detailed in their

depiction of sex and violence in many of their lyrics. The group's unconventional style disrupts

middle-class ideologies of propriety, and within the music genre of reguet6n they create

innovative music that challenges conventional categories.

Similar to Calle 13, Tego Calder6n is also known for creating music that continues to

redefine what reguet6n is, as he combines popular Puerto Rican music such as bomba and plena

in addition to salsa, to the danceable beats of reguet6n. Both these artists are known to be

popular with the masses but also with the critics, since they are praised for continuing to push the

music genres beyond its established norms. Calder6n has successfully put out four albums, El

Abayarde (2003), El Enemy del Guasibiri (2004), The Underdog /El Subestimado (2006), El

Abayarde Contra-ataca (2007), which have all been well-received by the popular masses and the

critics. His fusion of different music genre goes even a step further as he sings/raps in several

tracks in a blatant combination of salsa and reguet6n. Unlike Calle 13's suburban upbringing and

college stint by both members, Tego grew up in a caserio (project), with strong connections to

the street culture of Puerto Rico and his African roots. This chapter will be focused on the music

of Calle 13 while Chapter 2 will be centered on exploring Tego Calder6n's music.

Musical analysis: Calle 13's "Llegale a mi Guarida," "Pal Norte," and "Pi-Di-Di-Di"

illustrate the construction of these artists as men and minorities in relation to the normative

mainstream society. In Calle 13's "Llegale a mi Guarida," the contrast of traditional classical









guitars with the explicit violence and political conscious lyrics represents everything that

reguet6n is a disruption of U.S. mainstream's homogenous image of Latinos. The music's

disruption to Puerto Rican society and mainstream U.S. lies in the artist's performance of lyrical

rather than physical violence. Instead of presenting a homogeneous perception of Puerto Rican

existence such as being a lazy population who are heavily dependent on welfare, the lyrical

violence reflects the anger of those who deal with poverty, violence, and social injustice by a

system based on the subjugation of those who have historically been colonized and made the

founding blocks of wealthy capitalist societies. That these "building blocks," namely these

marginalized communities of which Puerto Rico is a prime example, have found a way to

theatrically perform acts of violence against their subjugators through their production of music

and culture is not surprising. Given that Puerto Rico has endured U.S. occupation (military or

otherwise) for more than one hundred years, various acts of resistance have evolved.

Reguet6n is a musical genre founded on the experiences of the underbelly of the marginalized, as

Puerto Rico itself is seen as a colonized Other in relation to U.S. society, and more specifically

since the originators of the genre grew up in areas that received the brunt of the island's low

socio-economic status, which makes them twice as marginalized. The consumption of this music

is intrinsically situated in a Puerto Rican experience that can be seen as a disidentificatory tactic,

a "survival strategies] the minority subject practices in order to negotiate a phobic majoritarian

public sphere that continuously elides or punishes the existence of subjects who do not conform

to the phantasm of a normative citizenship" not only against the socio-economic conditions

found within the island's society but against the political position of Puerto Rico within the

global hierarchy of power (Disidentifications 4). The position of Puerto Ricans as an ethnic and

racial Other is evident in their forced acquirement of U.S. citizenship by only to be denied the









full extent of this "privilege" through the divestment of their voting rights. Their inability to

choose an autonomous leader of the island illustrates the political and social dependency on U.S.

political and economic policies. This position as a colonized territory causes a sense of

disempowerment in the Puerto Rican community reflected in Calle 13's music.

The song "Llegale a mi Guarida" or "Come to my Lair," is an expression of the frustration

over the depravation of power of the Puerto Rican community caused by "el gringo, gabacho,"

(both are derogatory terms used to refer to U.S. Americans) and the need for violence that this

frustration causes in the psyche of the colonized minority subject. In the first verse Residente

directs his lyrics to the "Pinche culero, gringo, gabacho" (damn asshole/assfucker, U.S.

American) who he would like to

Morderte, odiarte, el hidago comerte
(Bite, hate, your liver eat)
Sacarte los ojos
(Take out your eyes)
Mancharte de rojo
(Stain you in red)
Abrirte las tripas a lo Jack the Ripper
(Open your guts in Jack the Ripper style).

Residente delineates how he would like to destroy "el gringo" who he sees as the cause for all

the misfortunes of Latin America using his lyrics as symbolic violence meant to

desgollarte con lo que escribo
(Decapitate you with what I write)
Usando lospeores adjetivos
(Using the worst adjectives)
Pa' describir el encabronamiento que siento.
(To describe how pissed off I feel)

Regardless of his frustration, Residente chooses to use words and music to express his anger as a

way to annihilate the "gringo" who is his target.

In doing so, Residente designates his music as his act of violence against the "gringo" who

stands for the subjugating forces that keep Residente and the communities he represents (be it









Puerto Rico and the whole Latin(o) American community) disempowered. However much

violent imagery is invoked in the lyrics of the song, it is by no means illogical or animalistic;

instead, the lyrics are well crafted to juxtapose the imagined violent acts Residente plans to

inflict on "el gringo" with images of the actual violence already enacted on Latin American

communities by the U.S. government. Residente references Nicaragua and the Sandinista

movement, alluding to U.S. support of the Somoza family in their fight against the rebel guerilla

that sought to overthrow their dictatorship during the Nicaraguan civil war of the late 70s-early

80s. By calling upon the history of U.S. involvement in Latin American affairs, Residente's

lyrics invoke the need to return the violence against the gringo if the gringo continues meddling

in "la Guarida" (the lair) that is Residente's home.

History becomes his evidence. Residente clarifies that his is not a senseless violence, but a

defense mechanism against el gringo who "atenta en contra e mi vida" (attempts against my life)

These lyrics exemplify the continuous "attempt" on the way of life and culture of Latin America

since the enactment of the Monroe doctrine in 1823.

When constructing his persona within the song, Residente describes himself as

un rebelde con causa
(a rebel with a cause)
Soy un guerrilero de la tierra
(a warrior of the earth)
Nacido y criado en la sierra
(born and raised in the hills)
Entre la maleza, por la cordillera de la Guerra
(between the weeds, by the mountain range of war)

He revels in being a rebel, warrior and protector of his country, living outside of civilized society

if that means taking a stance against his oppressor, "el gringo." His verse not only explains his

defensive stance as a colonized minority but it also revises the popular imagery of Latinos and

Latin Americans, more specifically of reguetoneros as gangsters and drug dealers. Yet









Residente's personification of an outlaw identity is specific since he designates himself a

"guerillero" (warrior) rather than a "ganster, tampoco muevo kilo" (gangster, I do not move kilos

[of cocaine]); two stereotypes closely associated with working class male minorities. This

distinction demonstrates that his rage and violent attacks against el gringo stem from more than

just capitalist reasons for making money by selling drugs. Residente revises the meaning of

outlaw identity to signify and serve a larger purpose: to confront crucial problems within the

Latino) American Diaspora and use entertainment to promote resistance.

The music of reguet6n, and more so its performers, are usually associated with being

outside of "good citizenship" because they use crude, violent and misogynistic lyrics to entertain

an audience initially composed of working class individuals. In the case of Residente, his

position as a bad citizen stems from both his status as an outside threat to "el gringo" (the U.S.)

as well as his rage directed at "el gringo." He also positions himself as outside "normative"

society when alluding to being an outlaw through his use of terms such as: "guarida" (lair),

"pandillas" (gangs), "cavernicola" (caveman), "rebelde" (rebel), and "guerillero" (warrior).

"Guarida" or lair is a term commonly used to describe a hideaway, while "pandillas" gangs have

an automatic negative and violent connotation. Similarly, "cavernicola" cavemen are historically

placed prior to any type of civilization, and "rebelde" or rebel is someone who fights against a

set norm. Finally, he calls himself a "guerrillero," warrior who is an aggressive individual

engaged in combat to describe himself and his social status in the song. All of these terms are

used to indicate individuals who are not citizens of any nation. He complicates this outlaw image

by admitting that he is "un tipo tranquilo," a calm guy who is induced to have these murdering,

psychopathic thoughts as a defense against the constant attack on his way of life. Through

Residente's interpretation of violence, these acts of rage are coming from an easy-going guy who









has been pushed long enough and is induced to take on a violent persona to exist and to resist the

injustices enacted against his people such as the ones faced by Latin America at the hands of

U.S. policies. This is a revision of the gangster image perceived by U.S. mainstream of Latinos

into something more complicated than just a stereotype.

The chorus exemplifies this forced violent reaction on behalf of Residente as it references

real physical violence enacted on a larger scale by Middle Eastern groups with suicide bomb

attacks that have successfully chipped away at the myth of invulnerability inherit within the

image of the U.S. Rather than criticizing this violence, the song echoes the sentiment behind

these acts as the chorus states

Llegale aqui, a mi guarida
(get here, in my lair)
Jura'o to' el mundo aqui espura vida
(I swear the world here is pure life)
Pero si tu atenta en contra e mi vida
(but if you attempt against my life)
Quizas una bomba suicide
(maybe a suicide bomb)
Haga el trabajo"
(will do the job)

The chorus depicts that while Residente chooses not to commit real physical violence he

positions himself and suicide bombers as defenders of their culture and lifestyle. I am not

implying that these two articulations of violence are in any way equivalent in terms of the

damage they can cause. I use the references that Calle 13 makes to these very prominent acts in

our recent cultural memory to demonstrate how the lyrical violence may be useful and to what

extent it can be deployed as a cultural bomb. The popular opinion on reguet6n is that it has no

real social purpose or value other than to entertain in the raunchiest way, exposing all the

dirtiness and grittiness of the lower classes. What Calle 13 demonstrates with "Llegale a mi

Guarida" is that grittiness has a purpose. Because sex, violence and money have always been at









the root of imperialism and colonization, Residente speaks in the language of violence, sexuality,

and poverty to talk about what does not get said about Latin American countries. Negron-

Muntaner and Rivera term Calle 13's gritty language as a "digestive system, transforming the

garbage of desire, politics, and violence into a usable language to criticize the status quo" while

directing that usable language and knowledge to the youth that consumes their music (38). It is

not the music or the musicians' responsibility to educate, but reguetoneros have created a music

that strikes a cord with the youth population of Latin American countries and the Latinos

growing up in the U.S. The music and musicians have the power to influence popular culture that

is the "Guarida" of today's youth.

In continuing with their irreverent, sarcastic but also socially conscious album Residente o

Visitante, Calle 13 interprets the immigrant experience with "Pal' Norte" featuring the Cuban rap

group "Los Orishas," named after the divine entities of the Yaruba-influenced religion of

Santeria. In its inception, there is a play on the sacred and the profane that runs rampant

throughout the whole song. The featured artists are named after what would be considered gods

and goddesses of a pagan religion, singing about a culture heavily influenced by the Catholic

faith. Throughout the song, saints and witches are called upon to look after the immigrant, as

both religious entities occupy places of equal importance in the construction of the sacred in the

track. Residente creates, through the lyrics of the song an atmosphere of magical realism, where

he can become a diver to swim underneath the earth, hear the stories of the moon and carry his

history packaged in a tin can. The song demonstrates not only Calle 13's complete disregard for

boundaries and binaries but also how quickly they embrace the idea of differences and mestizaje

that is the legacy of Latin(o)s Americans everywhere. This inherit mestizaje that is palpable in

the mixture of cultural and religious icons throughout the song, is once again perpetuated as









Latinos who immigrate or are colonized become bearers of what Rafael Perez-Torres defines as a

"critical sensibility, foregrounding in human bodies a contentious and vexed history" when

coming into contact with U.S. society (541). Since Latinos are a combination of contradictory

values and customs, it is through the acknowledgement of mestizaje in cultural venues such as

music that the unheard stories of the colonized or alien individual can be told. Subsequently,

when Calle 13 talks about wanting to kill "el gringo" in "Jack the Ripper style," he is vocalizing

the voice of the mestizo individual who is now utilizing popular culture to tell the story of the

defeated colonized or alien individual that gets left out of official accounts of history but that

survives in these other expressions of identity.

In "Llegale a mi Guarida," the listener gets a taste of the "resident" point of view, of those

who live in Latin American countries, while "Pal' Norte" is the transitional song in where the

resident becomes el "Visitante" (visitor), a position Latinos in the U.S. occupy whether they

migrated or not. The lyrics and the sampling of musica Llanera" (music from the plains of

Colombia and Venezuela) used in the song exemplify a way to translate the idea of a shared

experience even when the listeners do not share the same geographical background. The

migrating and/or colonized groups share the experiences of danger, possibility, and the

invisibility that each individual takes on when they begin their migration away from their

countries of origin in search of a "better" future in the North. In this song, Residente touches on

themes of displacement and invisibility of immigrants as he talks about going "Pal' norte sin

pasaporte, sin transporte" (going north without passport, without transport) to prove his identity.

Residente further explores the immigrant subaltern experience by suggesting this non-citizenship

places Latinos in subterranean, non-human conditions and existence as they cross the border "por

debajo de la tierra como las ardillas" by going underneath the earth like squirrels. The song's









meaning resonates with immigrants, regardless of their country of origin, as the imageries and

the musical components demonstrate an intermingling of regional cultures from different parts of

Latin America while capturing the feeling of hope most immigrants feel when migrating to the

U.S.

Calle 13's lyrics incorporate region-specific symbols that hold an iconic status in Latin

America to stitch together the diverse experiences of immigrants into a fabric of culture that is

understood by the migrant masses. One of these region-specific symbols is the Virgin of

Guadalupe, who has historically protected the marginalized indigenous populations of Mexico.

Yet, in this song she is called upon to protect the universal immigrant. Religious entities such as

the Virgin of Guadalupe are often zealously appropriated by one particular region in their

construction of their group identity. Residente, an individual outside of the Mexican national

group rapping how "en mi cuello cuelga la Virgen de la Guadalupe" (the virgin of Guadalupe

hangs around his neck) to reassure his grandmother that his trip will be safe is significant. The

use of this Mexican iconic image is a conscious mixing of Latin American cultures by Calle 13,

since it is being invoked by a Puerto Rican man to talk about a pan-ethnic experience.

The pan-ethnicity that is expressed through the use of the Virgin of Guadalupe icon is then

solidified through the first two lines of the chorus

tengo tu antidote, pal que no tiene identidad
(I have the antidote, for those who do not have identity)
Somos identicos, pal que Ilego sin avisar
(We are all identical, for that one who arrived without notice)

However, just as these two lines solidify the pan-ethnicity that Calle 13 is advocating it also

exposes one of the major contradictions of Latino identity: its resistance to a monolith/ universal

culture. The song claims to have the antidote for those who do not have identity by asserting that

everyone is identical. Such assertions can be seen as false because the biggest problem in









establishing a singular Latino identity stems from Latinos' multiple Latin American heritages.

The existence of "those without identity" is a direct consequence of roots being displaced by the

assimilationist ideology of U.S. society while at the same time denying national identity to

immigrants on U.S. soil. More contradictions occur when Latinos encounter a society that

perceives all immigrants as being "identical," even when they are different, or their time of

arrival and circumstances of migration to the U.S. are not the same.

While the Virgin is a sacred entity, this does not deter Calle 13, and more specifically

Residente, from using profanity within the same song to denounce how he

Aprendi que mi pueblo todavia rezaporque la fucking autoridadesy laputa realeza
(learned that my countrymen still pray because the fucking authority and the slutty royalty)
todavia se mueven por debajo de la mesa
(still moves underneath the table)

In talking about the immigrant experience, Residente blames the rampant corruption by those in

power in Latin American countries for the inability of his people to prosper within their country

of origin. He takes a stab at the authorities by once again referencing the colonial history of Latin

America as he illustrates the "puta realeza" as selling these countries for dishonest money. This

open criticism of the country and its power hierarchy disrupts the image of the nation as a sacred

entity above any reproach and need for change. While those in power maintain a national

narrative that positions them as having God-given rights to rule or misrule the people who

elected them, Calle 13's profane condemnations exposes the hypocrisy. To Calle 13's Residente

nothing is sacred and the blurring of the line between sacred and profane is a recurrent theme in

the group's music along with the social commentary they include in even their most mundane

tracks. He uses any means necessary to shock his audience into becoming aware of not only one

specific group of Latin(o)s but of the relation between the corruption in the countries of origin,









the immigrant experience and the U.S.'s involvement in the production of these circumstances of

displacement.

Lyrically, "Pal Norte" provokes a sense of vagrancy in the listener. The singer comments

on how he is going to travel without a compass, time or agenda, and ironically claims that being

an immigrant is a sport to him, when in reality it becomes the defining characteristic of his

existence. The feeling of being a foreigner is one of the few signs of difference that most Latinos

share even when they are not immigrants. These signs of difference can be observed in Calle

13's decision to make a song about going north through illegal means when the group has the

freedom to travel back and forth between Puerto Rico and the United States. This freedom or

privilege of having a U.S. passport does not erase the fact that Puerto Ricans are not really

considered "U.S. citizens" despite their participation in the armed forces and wage deduction by

the U.S. government. While Puerto Ricans enjoy a certain mobility that other Latin American

immigrants do not have, they, like the rest of the Latino population, share this alienation, and

sense of being Brown. Although there is ambivalence as to who "Latinos" are, the song is meant

to serve as a call for hope and will power for migrants/immigrants who are in transition.

While "Llegale a mi Guarida" and "Pal Norte" are obvious politically-conscious songs,

Calle 13 also incorporates social commentary in tracks like "Pi-Di-Di-Di," a song more likely

remembered by its comedic narrative than its anti-U.S capitalist message. The message is thinly

veiled in the use of rap mogul P.Diddy's persona on the track. Calle 13 mocks the capitalist

approach taken by U.S. mainstream toward Puerto Rican culture through the portrayal of Sean

"P.Diddy" Combs and his arrogant and demanding behavior while visiting the island in the song.

The song addresses two specific themes: the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship in which Puerto Rico

is seen as a fair-game space where anyone is entitled to appropriate and commodity the culture,









and the masculinity of the artist defending Puerto Rican culture through his enactment of

violence in the lyrics of the song. Both of these themes reflect the position of colonized subject

experienced by Residente as he rejects the established hierarchy of power and creates his own.

In the song, Residente can be heard as cordially issuing an invitation to visitors, P.Diddy

amongst them:

Entren, entren
(Enter, Enter)
Bienvenidos a mi nido
(Welcome to my nest)
No me tienen que pagar na', yo los invito
(You don't have to pay for nothing, I am inviting you)
Esto vapor la casa, no me tienen que dejar propina
(this is on the house, you don't have to leave me tip)
La receta de hoy es la especialidad de la cocina
(the recipe today is the specialty of the house)
Carne asesina, ypa' que aguanten elpico
(Killer meat, and to hold your beak)
Un poco de yucafrita con mojito
(Some fried cassava with mojito sauce)

He offers traditional Puerto Rican food such as "yuca con mojitos" (cassava with mojito

sauce) and "came asesina" (killer meat) as a welcoming gesture meant to make his guests feel

comfortable. Yet, P. Diddy refuses to accept the cultural breaking of bread being offered and

demands Doritos and Coke to satisfy his hunger. In the song, food is used as a symbol of Puerto

Rican culture that gets rejected for a more commercialized product; Residente depicts how a

commodified version of Puerto Rico is preferred by tourists and investors rather than the

economic poverty that is the reality of the island. This is further solidified in the chorus of the

song, as it explains that P. Diddy is on the island to consume something. Yet, Residente makes it

clear he is not for sale as he states in part of the chorus

Hay un chorro de lechones
(Yo no soy lech6n!)
There are a lot of pigs









(I am not a pig!)
Hay un chorro dejamones
(Yo no soy jam6n!)
There are a lot of hams
(I am not a ham!)
Si Puff Daddy me ofrece un million
(If Puff Daddy offers me a million)
Yo le digo que no...
(I will tell him no)

In these lines, he specifically alludes to P. Diddy's sudden interest in launching Bad Boy Latino

during the reguet6n explosion of 2004-2005. While there are others (pigs and hams) who may be

up for sale, Calle 13 is not one of them, and instead of being the gracious host he started out as,

Residente challenges P. Diddy's presence on the island and his belief that all of Puerto Rico, all

of its culture and the Latino community of which it is part of, are up for sale. Through his

expression of a strong Puerto Rican identity, Residente connects to consumers of reguet6n

outside of Puerto Rico who also experience extreme pressure to give in to cultural

commodification. It is very easy to assume that all that Latino culture encompasses is Taco Bell,

Cinco de Mayo and other commercialized versions of Latin(o)s American culture. However, in

Residente's symbolic incorporation of food as a way to expose the relationship between Puerto

Rico and the U.S. he depicts a culture that resists the capitalist ideology of the U.S. despite more

than a century of colonial occupation.

P. Diddy's request for Coke and Doritos could be a matter of personal taste, but following

his request a revealing exchange occurs between the two:

(P. Diddy): "Do you know who I am?"
(Residente): Como? Que te llamas Juan?"
(What? That your name is Juan?)
(P. Diddy): "Do you know who I am?"
(Residente): "eQue siyo me llamo Juan?"
(Am I named Juan?)









The arrogance that P. Diddy displays in asking whether Residente knows and understands his

social status mirrors the U.S. government's attitude toward the island, as P. Diddy's role as a

capitalist U.S. citizen and U.S. pop culture icon makes him believe he is entitled to obedience

and meekness from Residente and by default the entire island. Yet, the arrogance and the

demands of P. Diddy are not met without any resistance, Residente defies this attempt of

domination from mainstream culture and reiterates the strength of his culture by
"misunderstanding" what P. Diddy has said. Residente's first mode of defiance happens in his

misinterpretation of P. Diddy's question, "Do you know who I am?" Residente does not answer

in the affirmative, and his response if whether he (Residente) or P.Diddy are named Juan, a name

stereotypically used to denote a person of Latin American heritage, becomes his way of

acknowledging that he and P. Diddy are equals. Residente then goes on beyond chastising

P.Diddy for his rude behavior by inflicting pain. In true Residente fashion, he raps about hitting

P. Diddy in the jaw and chasing him through the street of San Sebastian and Christ. After he

catches up to him, Residente gives him the one-two jab combination "a lo Sixto Escobar" (in

Sixto Escobar style), a reference to the first Puerto Rican boxing champion ("Sixto Escobar").

He then describes how after inflicting violence on P. Diddy, the "Sugar Daddy de todos los Mack

Daddies" (Sugar Daddy of all the Mack Daddies) started to

escupir agua de piringa por los pantalones
(spit artificial juice from his pants)
Empez6 a botar azfucar negrapor los calzones
(started spilling black sugar from his underwear)
Yhastapor las medias botando moj ones
(and even through his socks spilling shit)
Mojones color verde oliva; si, color verde oliva
(shit of olive green color, yes, olive green)
Lo que caga la gente fina por comer platos de comida
(what fancy people shit because they eat food plates)
De $50.00 pesos pa' arriba...
(from $50.00 and up)









Through this verse, Residente changes the order of power that P. Diddy attempts to maintain as a

representative of the U.S. colonial power. It is Residente, after all, descendant of a

"raza...chiquita" (small race) who has the all powerful P. Diddy urinating and defecating on

himself. And although P. Diddy has enough money to buy $ 50 dollar food plates, a symbol of

economic power, Resiedente is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with him and win.

The emphasis on the physical prowess of Residente serves to counteract the threat posed to

Residente's Puerto Rican masculinity by the arrival of P. Diddy. The latter represents the U.S.

and the emasculatory effect it has on the island's self-image because of the island's economic

dependency. The strained relationship between the U.S and Puerto Rico is an underlying theme

in the song, as culture commodification and monetary exchange are prevalent topics throughout.

The misconception that Puerto Ricans are a feminized population because of their status as a

colony is also prevalent in the song as Residente addresses this issue when he tells P. Diddy to

No te creas que porque mi raza es chiquita se quita
(don't believe because my race is small they rollover)
Si no donqueamos, nos vamo'a de giiirita
(if we don't dunk, we take any opportunity [to score])
Y to' los gringos como tu se pueden ir con to'y camaritapor la Garita
(And all you Americans can leave with your cameras and all through the security gate)
No tienen que hacer cita si ustedes son visit
(you don't have to make an appointment, you are all guests)
"Say cheese! y una sonrisita y pa' la playita
(Say Cheese! smile and go to the beach)
Pa' los tiburones pa' que te arranquen los tendons
(so the sharks can tear away your tendons)
Porque aqui en Puerto Rico somos los masjodones
(because here in Puerto Rico we are the biggest fuckers)

Residente is aware of his political position as a Puerto Rican in relation to the U.S. and while he

cannot change the status of the island or its dependency on U.S. aid, he can, through the physical

altercation with P.Diddy, insist that he and Puerto Rico are no less significant than the U.S. or P.

Diddy. While Residente might not have the greatest height or physical build, he does have heart









as he mentions that he might not be able to dunk but he will find a way to score. He also reminds

P. Diddy that ultimately he is a guest in Puerto Rico, and as such he should know that underneath

the beauty of the island there are sharks waiting to tear anyone apart who does not understand the

courage and heart of the Puerto Rican people. Ultimately, it is this characteristic that makes

Puerto Ricans the most "jodones."









CHAPTER 3
TEGO CALDERON

While Calle 13 performs its disruption of U.S. national discourse through deliberate use of

violent lyrics and unapologetic anger stemming from their position as colonial subjects, Tego

Calder6n's disruption occurs with his acceptance of "being a problem, being Brown" and

through his proud display of Latinidad, which to him means being a Black Puerto Rican man.

His music is anchored in the life of the everyday man who deals with violence, family, love, and

loss, themes through which he addresses the larger issues of social injustices, cultural and racial

identity. Tego's performance of identity, in and out of his musical stage, is relevant as he refuses

to culturally Whiten or sanitize himself to be accepted within U.S. mainstream society. Instead,

when he crosses over to the mainstream popular music scene he does so as Tego, a no-gimmick,

product of Puerto Rico's caserios (projects). Tego shows himself thoroughly informed by his

experience as a Black man who understands what the markers of identity such as race, language

and nationality mean to someone who wears them literally on his skin. I do not attempt to claim

that Tego by the color of his skin alone is more authentically "street" or Latin(o). But because he

is so easily marked as "Other" due to the color of his skin and the accent in his English

pronunciation I can explore the complexities of Tego's Latin(o) identity by examining the

acceptance of his music by mainstream and marginalized audiences.

Tego's visual representation plays with the previously mentioned stereotypical images

associated with Latinos in the U.S. As Patricia Fernandez-Kelly explains in her article, "From

Estrangement to Affinity: Dilemmas of Identity Among Hispanic Children": "There is nothing

static about ethnic identity. Immigrants repeatedly engage in purposeful acts to signify their

intended character and the way they differ from other groups" (83). Tego's physical appearance

embodies the stereotypical image that reguetoneros have adopted in terms of dress, speech and









swagger from their North American hip hop counterparts. Yet, the lyrical content and

composition of the music are more than the stereotypical image since it reflects the complexity

of Tego's life as a Black Puerto Rican. It uses the components of Tego's Afro, baggy clothes and
"gangster" look to give life and voice to those who are identified by the stereotype but are not

limited by superficial markers.

While Tego is performing a stereotype with his physical appearance, he is using these

indicators, which have been given a specific meaning within mainstream society to redefine or

disidentify his role as a Black Puerto Rican, who by race and ethnicity alone is presumed to be a

criminal. The use of established signifiers of identity is necessary for the dissident performance

of a subject against the stereotype. Judith Butler explains, in Bodies that Matter: On the

Discursive Limits of Sex, that performance works "to the extent that it draws on and covers over

the constitutive conventions by which it is mobilized" (226-7). Tego's performance of identity

relies on the "gangster" look to cause a negative reaction from his audience, only to disrupt the

misconception his look achieves when contextualized with the knowledgeable use of history

within his lyrics. He uses history to counteract what Jose Esteban Mufioz calls the "burden of

liveness" which denies the performance subject the right of a future and a past. Thus, the

performer becomes a perfect canvas to reflect the wants, fears and desires of the majoritarian

audience (Disidentifications 189). Given that Tego chooses to use an Afro to signify his African

roots, as well as the baggy clothes to represent the "criminality" denoted by his social class and

racial status, he gives himself and others like him the opportunity for a three-dimensional

existence. He does so by incorporating his history of Puerto Rico and Africa as a disruption to

the image that he is just a walking stereotype, devoid of history and future knowledge of himself.









In the music, Tego performs who he is, a Black Puerto Rican man who has lived on the

island of Puerto Rico and also the continental U.S. Within the lyrics, he works those different

lived experiences into a cohesive, at times contradictory, body of work. As an artist, Tego has

stated how Ismael Rivera and Bob Marley are the two biggest influences in his musical

development. These influences demonstrate the fusion of the traditional Puerto Rican music of

Bomba and Plena provided by Ismael, with the socially resistant, militant and Pan-African music

of Bob Marley.

In Tego's second album, The Underdog /El Subestimado, he captures the tribulations of

being a Puerto Rican of African descent, and talks about topics such as racial pride in songs like

"Chango Blanco" (White Bird). Black pride is a topic that is not so openly discussed in Latin

American societies, but it remains significant because it refutes the idea that Latin American

countries enjoy color-blind societies. While reguet6n as a musical genre is perceived as being

solely invested in being a danceable genre that is only preoccupied with pleasure, misogyny and

violent lyrics, Tego's music discusses the struggle of his people, be it Puerto Ricans on the island

or anyone who considers themselves Latinos, to come to terms with their sense of self and

identity. He exposes the topic of racial pride in a seemingly simple way, talking about a

changeo," a black bird, who he has painted white. Because of this change in color, the now white

change or bird is rejected by his brothers, and so he flies alone into pouring rain to restore his

color. After such a traumatic experience the change sings:

Yo me quiero
(I want me)
Me quiero quedar negrito
(I want me to stay black)
Naci con este color
(I was born with this color)
Y es que me queda bonito, bonito
(and it look pretty good, pretty good on me)









In this verse the bird proclaims his love for himself and his desire to stay Black. In narrating the

tale of the "Chango Blanco," Tego addresses the issues of racial pride and the construction of the

ideal citizen within Puerto Rico. The bird's experience of being made another color also serves

to address the issues of assimilation Latin Americans face once they become Latinos in the U.S.

mainland. The sorrow the Chango Blanco experiences because he is classified as "Other"

symbolically represents the same sorrow Black Puerto Ricans may encounter as a result of being

and/or becoming invested in Eurocentric standards of beauty and self-hatred.

Like the bird who wished to stay black, there is a heightened desire for those who migrate

into this country to embrace and affirm their nationality of origin because they are labeled

"foreign" by U.S. society. The chorus of this song, as well as the overall message, continues to

be about racial pride and self-acceptance, as Tego explores the feeling of ambiguity experienced

by Black Puerto Ricans on and off the island. Though simple in his lyrics, Tego ingeniously uses

the form of folk tale or fable in using the tale of "Chango Blanco" to transmit this message that

embraces being different as the bird continues on to say

Naci con este sabor
(I was born with this flavor)
Y mi color de negrito
(And my color black)
Naci con este sabor
(I was born with this flavor)
Y naci con este dolor en el alma
(I was born with this pain in my soul)

In the tale of the "Chango Blanco," Tego embraces his Blackness to signify the flavor and soul

that distinguish his lived experience from that of others. While there is a refusal within Latin

American discourse to talk about how race remains a prevalent signifier of privilege or

denigration, Tego manages to infiltrate discussion of the topic in a non-threatening manner. He

talks about the pride he feels for being Black rather than focusing on the negative aspects. Unlike









the blatant and in-your-face political message found in most of Calle 13's lyrics, Tego's message

appears subtle as it centers on a more personal struggle caused by the larger racial problems that

that impact the Latino identity he attempts to forge once he enters the space of U.S. society.

Another song, "A mi Papa" (To my father), can be interpreted as a means to express the

everyday struggle of life in Puerto Rico. One of Tego's most appealing characteristic as an artist

is his connection to the people of the barrios and caserios (projects) from where he draws

inspiration for his lyrical material. Although it is a common practice for reguet6n artists to claim

to be from the streets, what sets Tego apart is that he does not only claim the culture of the

caserios but also the traditional culture of Puerto Rico. He draws upon popular Puerto Rican

music such as plena, bomba and salsa to transmit a historic sense of culture that makes him that

much more in tune with the everyday Puerto Rican. "A mi Papa" is about the loss of his father,

an open letter telling him how things are going now that he is gone. This father-son relationship

is relevant because the construction of nationhood in many Latin American countries is based on

the idea of being one big family. The song "A mi Papa" is directed to his father, yet Tego also

addresses the cultural nation of Puerto Rico in his role as son of the island. In the second verse of

the song Tego reassures his father that he is doing alright for himself as he tells him

Lo cojo suave lo mio esta seguro
(I take it easy, what is mine it is secure)
El Underdog pa, yo le vendo dospor uno
(The Underdog Da', I sell it two for one)
Sigo bregando con lospuercos de esta industrial
(I keep fighting with these pigs of the industry)
Pero esta to' bien uno se las busca
(But everything is good when you work for it)
Sigo pa' lante como me entehi'i/Ie
(I keep going like you taught me)
Siempre evitando que el grande me aplaste
(Always avoiding that the big one smashes me)









While the song is centered on his relationship with his father, it also reflects the general national

atmosphere of Puerto Ricans who feel they are in a constant battle against "el grande" (the big

one) who is trying to keep them down. While Calle 13 used pop icons and popular culture to

discuss U.S.'s power hierarchy over Puerto Rico, Tego displays his own personal experience to

parallel Puerto Rico's social position and economic dependency on the U.S.

Tego draws on the strength of his father's teachings to keep moving forward when dealing

with the capitalist power of the music industry. He demonstrates the legacy of his father's

teachings by continuing to fight against "el grande" and by also maintaining close ties to

traditional Puerto Rican cultural roots as he proudly highlights his collaboration with legendary

salsa group "La Fania." It is his father who instills in him "la semilla de mi cultural" (the seed of

my culture), who makes him part of "una escuela que hasta el mas rico quisiera" (a school that

even the richest want), and who supported him even while in jail. The memory of Tego's father

acts as the central figure in the song, molding Tego into the Puerto Rican man he is today, one

concerned with the social conditions of the island that is his home.

Moreover, "A mi Papa" is invested in portraying a Puerto Rican man who fights for a

better future by providing for his children and respecting his elders. Tego tells his father how

Por que bien se lo merecia la torta esta dividida
(Because it is well deserved the pie is divided)
Pa mis cria super repartida
(To my young all is well distributed)
Tengo Jiguiri record sigo cada dia
(I have Jiguiri records I keep on going every day)
Hay mas de lo que ,,ife en mi alcancia
(There is more money in my piggy bank that I ever dreamed of)

Providing for his family is how Tego measures success. He is proud to tell his father that his

children are well-taken care of, a fact that takes precedence over having his own record label or

monetary gain. What Tego promotes is an ideology of social responsibility in which the bond









with his father is parallel to the ties he has with Puerto Rico. As an artist he is aware of the power

he possesses to speak against social injustices but also to induce the consumers of his music to

think about the world they live in. Even though he addresses issues of social responsibility, as he

paints his father as his ultimate hero and Puerto Rican man, it is not done so by privileging

middle-class moral ideology. Instead, Tego depicts his father as a good man by characterizing

him as someone who is proud of his culture, has always stood by his family and had a fighting

spirit, without engaging in issues of morality espoused by middle-class ideology.

Tego Calder6n is constant in his use of personal experiences to express his opinion on

society. He collaborates with reguet6n artist, Don Omar in the song "Los Bandoleros" off the

compilation album Los Bandoleros released in 2005, to illustrate their position as a targeted

group in Puerto Rico. While neither one of the artists mention anything about race, it is important

to note that both artists are and participate in a music genre closely associated with the lower

class and criminality. In the song "Los Bandoleros" (The Bandits) both artists expose how they

are treated unequally in the eyes of the law. In the lyrics of this song, Tego and Don Omar

confront the image of "bandoleros" (bandits) given to them by the media because of their humble

beginnings and the music they produce. While both these artists have had problems with the law,

in the song they point out how they are perceived as criminals from the outset while "el mister

politiquero" (Mr. Politics) gets away with stealing money and still gets re-elected. More so, Tego

narrates his experience with the D.E.A. who illegally searched his hotel room during a concert in

New York City in 2005. (Cepeda 30-31) By addressing the mistreatment they have experienced

in the hands of the law, they shed light into the class distinctions and the preferential treatment

corrupt politicians can receive because of their social status even when they are just as guilty as









those from lower classes. Don Omar and Tego are quick to recognize they are not perfect as

Tego states

Yo no soy un santo pero estoy en clave
(I am not a saint but I am alright)
Estoy pagando to' mis maldades
(I am paying for all my bad deeds)
Y estoy aqui tirando pa' alante
(And I am here shooting forward)
Como quiera que lopongas hago menos mal que antes
(Either way you put it I do a lot less damage than before)

He admits he has made mistakes and for that he is paying, but being an artist now keeps him

from doing wrong to others. Both artists encourage their audience to respect other people's way

of life as they admit that they will continue with their "tumbao, y con mis ojos colorao'" (with

my style (grind) and my bloodshot eyes) which may go against middle-class ideas of propriety.

Having established that their decisions can sometimes be perceived as "illegal," they make it

clear that even if it is so, they do not hurt anyone unlike politicians who play with the well-being

of a great amount of people. In this song, Tego and Don Omar are not trying to justify their

choices rather they are critiquing those who would judge others because their lifestyle differs

from the norm. Ultimately, they make a call for tolerance as all they ask is for "el beneficio de la

duda cualquiera merece" (the benefit of the doubt everyone deserves).









CHAPTER 4
MUSIC AS A SITE OF SEXUAL PLEASURE

The music is never one thing: so even when reguet6n is at its most crude and/or seemingly

commercialized form it still manages to create a space for the marginalized community it

represents. It uses crudeness to garner attention while owning the Brownness that separates

Latinos from the dominant culture. The capacity to be a site of resistance, pleasure, and

community building are prevalent characteristics of the musical composition and lyrical content

of the genre exemplified in the performance of its creators and the consumption of its listeners.

While it is easy to concentrate on songs that are so rich in meaning because they address

explicit socio-economic issues, reguet6n is also about dancing and joyful expression of cultures

that makes Latinos feel connected, even when they are not really from "alli" (over there: Latin

America) or "aca" (United States). Reguet6n connects Brown people in a way that the word

Latino, or what it signifies, cannot. Till this point I have concentrated on songs that use explicit

foul language and violent imagery to make their point, but I have yet to address reguet6n 's other

"crude" characteristic, the misogynistic and sexually explicit lyrics that make up the majority of

reguet6n music being played on the radio.

Reguet6n, as a manifestation of the social and cultural disenfranchisement experienced by

Puerto Ricans in their roles as colonial subjects, is interested in representing people who find

empowerment and pleasure living outside of the norm. While reguet6n originated from a socially

conscious space, many critics have claimed that it has become "all about girls dancing to it" with

no cultural meaning except that of objectifying women and promoting violence (Cepeda 30).

Yet, its shock value and its blunt addressing of taboo topics like sex and every day violence

become a type of resistance. It uses what is often considered distasteful and vulgar to promote a









way of life that accepts living at the margins not in exile of the dominant culture, but as an

alternative to it.

Not since the birth of classic salsa during the 1960s-70s has another music genre managed

to capture such a transnational audience inside and more unequivocally outside the island of

Puerto Rico. While salsa was not created on the island, New York-Puerto Ricans as well as

Cubans and other Latin American groups, influenced this music genre that in its inception was

considered "the music of barrio people-an entertaining, dancing style that also carried a heavily

politicized lyrical component, filled with themes and messages concerning the everyday

happenings and plight of Puerto Rican people," the same description that reguet6n can be given

nowadays (Padilla 33) "the music of barrio people-an entertaining, dancing style that also

carried a heavily politicized lyrical component, filled with themes and messages concerning the

everyday happenings and plight of Puerto Rican people" (Padilla 33). This is the same

description that reguet6n can be given nowadays. While today salsa is considered tame and

romanticized, in its origin salsa was considered misogynistic and crude. It has to be understood

that reguet6n takes that expression of crudeness to its maximum capacity, as it becomes the

mixed child successor of salsa, as both genres share the initial purpose to address the same issues

of barrio life. Moreover, reguet6n also inherits the cultural resistant characteristics of Jamaican

dancehall, reggae and hip hop which are products of other marginalized groups. The parallels

between the musical expressions of salsa and reguet6n are obvious as they are representatives of

Puerto Rican culture that somehow get translated into a depiction of the larger Latin(o) American

Diaspora.

In its role as a cultural signifier, reguet6n performs along with North American rap and Jamaican

dancehall, a similar role as youth-centered music that defies middle-class ideology of propriety









invested in censoring working class expressions of pleasure and desire. Like rap and dance hall,

reguet6n has received major criticism for being what detractors call a "'primitive form of

musical expression" that transmits 'the most elementary forms of emotion' through its

'brutalizing and aggressive monotony"' (Negr6n-Muntaner and Rivera 36). That themes of

violence and sexuality seem prominent in most reguet6n songs is a fact. However, what it is not

recognized is that this music is, as Carolyn Cooper suggests it in terms of Jamaican dancehall as

"stubbornly rooted in a politics of place that claims a privilege space for the local and asserts the

authority of the native as speaking subjects" (Sound Clash 2). Rather than dismiss the sexual and

violent undercurrents of the genre as a result of the male-centered society in which this music is

produced, it is necessary to understand that sexuality and violence are common themes in the

lives of the producers of this music. The music's place outside of normativity and propriety

reflects its consumers and producers who already exist at the margins. Instead of trying to find a

way back to the center, it rejects all that the center stands for, especially its specific gender, class

and race roles that restrict many lower class people.

Consequently, just like men who inhabit the caserios (projects), women have also found a

way of owning this music, despite their perceived or real roles as sexual objects within the genre.

They become full participants in the music through their consumption of it by buying the cds and

attending clubs and events that play reguet6n. I am not suggesting some of the lyrics cannot be

interpreted as degrading, but to ignore the consumption of them by women who choose to use

the music and its derivative dance "perreo" (doggy dance) as a space of freedom would mean

shutting down the acts of resistance that women perform every time they enter and conquer so-

called male spaces such as reggae, hip hop and reguet6n. To negate this form of empowerment

and relegate all women who enjoy the music to a victimized entity with no actual agency is just









as devaluing as the so-called misogynistic lyrics of reguet6n. It seems easier for critics not

invested in the music and its people to refuse its manifestation as people's liberatory desire. For

these same critics, it becomes easier to designate it as a shameful thing and strive to stifle this

performance of the erotic because they confuse it with the pornographic, rather than as a site of

resistant to middle-class ideologies. The spaces of marginalized culture and music are not usually

thought of as women-friendly, but subversiveness does not only belong to male performers. One

can see how it is can be a subversive force used by female MCs, DJs and rappers, as well as in

the appropriation of the music through dance.

Calle 13's mainstream success began with the track "Atreve-te-te" off their self-titled Calle

13 debut album in 2005. This track fuses a Colombian cumbia beat, a clarinet and the dem bow

beat to make the catchy melody that made the song a hit. The lyrics are exactly what one can

expect of Calle 13 as they reference pop culture, allude to genitalia and make fun of everyone

and everything, including themselves. The song is directed at a girl who does not like Puerto

Rican products. The girl seems more interested in white rock bands "Green Day" and "Coldplay"

as opposed to anything the island has to offer, including reguet6n. To this indifference Residente

urges her to

Atrivete, te, te, te
(Dare yourself)
Salte del closet, te
(Get out of the closet)
Destdpate, quitate el esmalte
(Open up, take off the enamel)
Deja de taparte que nadie va a retratarte
(stop trying to cover yourself, no one is going to take pictures of you)
Levdntate, ponte hyper
(Get up, get hyper)
Prendete, scale chispas al starter
(Turn yourself on, get sparks of the starter)
Prendete en fuego como un lighter









(Turn yourself on fire like a lighter)
Sachtdete el sudor como sifueras un wiper
(Shake off the sweat like a wiper)
Que tu eres callejera, "Street Fighter"
(That you are street girl, Street Fighter)

In the chorus, Residente advocates that the girl pursue sexual freedom. This is a radical and non

traditional stance on gender. When contextualizing Residente's message within the Latin

American usage of the virgin/whore dichotomy to dictate women's role and position in society,

the song encourages the female to let go of her confining performance of womanhood in which

she worries about societal perception. Although calling a woman a "callej era" can be insulting as

it means a girl of the streets, a vagabond or prostitute, Residente follows this term with "Street

Fighter" as a way to redefine what it means to be a "callejera" in this case. She then becomes

someone who is well versed in being in the street, handling her business, and taking care of

herself.

If reguet6n, or any type of music for the matter, is read and interpreted as parts and never

the whole, then it is easy to understand why it might be perceived as demeaning and violent,

since the lyrics are dripped in a "crude" language. However, it is a language that the generation

who consumes this music is well-versed in. The song is peppered with double meaning as

"prendete, sacale chispas al starter" is not just about getting hyped to go out but also about

turning yourself on sexually. Though the language is vernacular, the idea of a woman being so

sexually open is what actually causes shock amongst its unversed listeners. And while Residente

is insistent about getting the girl to "deja el show" (stop the show), "subete la mini falda hasta la

espalda" (put your mini skirt up till your shoulder back), meaning to let go of her inhibitions, he

also makes it a point to give suitable accolades to how Puerto Rican women take care of

themselves by comparing them to The Bride of the Kill Bill movies. Residente's lyrics are

sexually charged and they do focus on the female anatomy illustrated in his description of Puerto









Rican women as "cocinan con salsa de tomate" (cooking with tomato sauce), "Mojan el arroz

con un poco de aguacate" (wetting the rice with a little avocado), "Pa' cosechar nalgas de 14

quilates" (To harvest 14 karat asses).

Residente is direct in his appreciation of the female body, but even when talking about

women as sexual beings with big asses, he also acknowledges that they are more than just that.

He compares their strength to The Bride in Kill Bill, and he mentions their Amazonian bearing

and intellect throughout the song. It is not my intention to sanitize the music, as its sexual

explicitness is essential to the music being classified as vulgar, dangerous and in direct

opposition to a stifling normativity. More so, the sexual explicitness is what allows the music to

have many different facets. It can be empowering when talking about big asses, and challenging

of normativity when it warns of "te voy a inyectar con la bacteria" (I am going to vaccinate you

with the bacteria), alluding that reguet6n is a disease that once introduced into the body will

change that person's belief in the restrictive norms of society. However, in this analogy

Residente uses what is considered a disease to create a new discourse of identity that is fluid and

celebratory of the contradictions of the culture it represents. His lyrics become invested into

practicing what Carolyn Cooper explains when she defines "slackness" as a term used to express

women's loose morals and its role in Jamaican dancehall. She writes of "slackness,"

is not mere sexual looseness... [it] is the contestation of the conventional definitions of law
and order; an undermining of consensual standards of decency. At large, slackness is the
antithesis of restrictive uppercase Culture... Slackness demarcates a space for an alternative
definition of culture" (Sound Clash 3-4).

In similar fashion, Residente's lyrics and his use of crude and vulgar language to praise a

woman's body becomes a site of contestation of what is perceived as high Culture and what is

perceived as garbage.









Like Calle 13, Tego also has songs directed to get the audience moving, as these tracks

delineate in their lyrics a space where there are no boundaries when it comes to finding great and

unadulterated pleasure in the music. In similar fashion to Calle 13's advocacy of getting the girl

in their song to "atrevete-te-te," in Tego and Nejo's remix of "No quiere novio" (She does not

want a boyfriend) encourages listeners that the societal boundaries of "good behavior" be left

behind for a lifestyle that is more cognizant of pleasure:

No quiere novio, quiere vacilar na' mas
(Doesn't want a boyfriend, only wants to fool around)
No quiere a nadie que le este diciendo na'
(Doesn't want anyone to tell her nothing)
Ningun bobo que le venga hablando pendeja
(No fool to talk stupidity to her)
Ella no tiene que explicarle a nadie pa' donde va
(She doesn't have to explain to no one where she is going)

The song focuses on a girl who knows what she does and does not want, and a boyfriend is

not in her plans. This refusal to let a man in her life is an act resistant to the notion that women

are always in need of a man in their lives. She refuses to have anyone tell her what to do, what is

more she is not even interested in having Tego meet her father when he offers. While the

palpable theme in this song is this girl's refusal to have a boyfriend and follow middle-class

propriety, what the song is getting at is the defiance of behavioral gender roles that the girl, but

also Tego, are performing as he applauds her "abnormal" behavior. As seen in both of these

songs, "Atreve-te-te" and "No Quiere Novio," when speaking of female sexuality in the manner

that Residente and Tego do in their lyrics, rather than to take on a machista stance in which they

condemn the women's liberated sexual behavior, they embrace it. It could be said from a

conservative point of view, that these artists as well as reguet6n music in general, embrace this

sexual openness because ultimately it benefits the men as it facilitates casual sexual

relationships. However, to make such statement is to negate the fact that women, just like men,









are capable of having casual sexual encounters in where they, and not the man, are the primary

benefactors.

Ultimately, the music is about the pleasure that it gives those who consume it through

dance or just by listening to it. Many of the detractors of the genre have said that reguet6n is

repetitive and monotonous without taking into account that in its inception, reguet6n is already a

combination of many different genres. The music encourages hedonistic behavior as an

alternative to the oppressive realities of those who consume the music and have to deal with

issues of violence, discrimination, poverty and injustice.









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

As a Latina navigating the murky waters of mainstream America, I always search for new

ways to define myself in spite of the stereotypes and homogeneity that are constantly attacking

my sense of self. I am consciously aware that my place in U.S. society is not really defined, as

my Latin American roots seemed to be in limbo, literally and figuratively uprooted from the

Nicaragua, a land where I was partially raised and never quite transplanted into my reality that is

the United States. My academic journey has taught me new ways to read literature, spaces and

culture in search for the gaps, silences and shadows that I am sure belong to me as I play my part

in the construction of the racialized Other necessary to define the normative majority of U.S.

citizenship. These uncharted spaces are what I find so valuable in the music genre of reguet6n.

The music speaks to my need as a Latina to negotiate the complexity of my identity within the

U.S. mainstream society and finally locate my roots, if only for a moment, in the danceable beats

of a reguet6n song. The music allows for this negotiation of identity through the incorporation

of different Latin American musical genres with lyrics that speak of roots and politics that

permeate the lives of U.S. Latinos who remain part of an ignored group that is characterized as a

problematic population within the United States.

My first taste of reguet6n came in the form of N.O.R.E's collaboration with Tego Calder6n

in "Oye mi Canto." In its introduction, the song had a sample of rapper Big Pun's "Still Not a

Player," one of the biggest if not the biggest hit by a Latino rap artist in the nineties. I knew that

I liked how the music was not completely rap but it was not salsa or merengue either. It seemed

to be a mixture of both. The mixing of the English and Spanish language reminded me of how I

grew up speaking a mixture of both languages; one with my parents and another at school with

my friends. It was the music video however, that captured my attention as it featured the most









well-known Latino artists I knew at the time: Fat Joe and Nina Sky. It also featured unknown

artists who would later become reguet6n stars. As I watched the video, N.O.R.E got out of the

box painted with the Puerto Rican flag colors. Seconds later there were a row of flags with

beautiful women next to them and the only thing I could do was search for my Nicaraguan flag,

to see if they would represent me and where I came from. They did have my flag, and I fell in

love with this rhythm that infused my Hip-hop with the Caribbean music of my childhood.

More than just having my flag in their visual representation of the song, these artists kept

saying "Latino," a word that until that moment I had not thought of as being different from

Hispanic, but it was. These artists said it with such passion. They believed in its power to unite

all Puerto Ricans, as well as all Latin American countries. When I consume this music, I am

consciously aware that the music comes mostly from Puerto Rico. Yet, I know I am part of it

when the rappers call out "If you are Latino stand the fuck up," ("Oye mi Canto") and will

Brown people like me to take a stand and enjoy being different. The word "Latino" is

problematic when people use it to reconcile specific national categories into one monolithic

culture without preserving or respecting cultural differences of individual group. But the music

does not have that problem. Those who feel connected to the rhythms of the beat in it can

identify one another, as if the music gave them access to a secret society that does not have a

specific look to it. The transnational characteristic of the music is what allows me to read in

regueton an articulation of a Latino identity even when it is not created in the U.S. It connects us

as a U.S. community to one another and to those who reside in the countries of origin as we all

can enjoy the danceable rhythms of reguet6n.









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Calle 13. "Atrevete-te." Calle 13. Sony International, 2005.

-. "Llegale a mi Guarida" Residente o Visitante. Sony International, 2007.

-. "Pal Norte" Residente o Visitante. Sony International, 2007.

-. "Pi-Di-Di-Di" Calle 13. Sony International, 2005.

Calder6n, Tego. "Chango Blanco." The Underdog/El Subestimado. Atlantic, 2006.

---. "A Mi Papa" The Underdog/ El Subestimado. Atlantic, 2006.

Cepeda, Raquel. "Riddims by the Reggaeton" Last modified: 28 March 2005
http://villagevoice.com/generic/show_print.php?id=62467&page=cep.html Last viewed:
24 June 2008.

Cooper, Carolyn. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large. New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2004.

Davila, Arlene M. Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. Berkeley: U of
California Press, 2001.

Don Omar. "Los Bandoleros" Don Omar Presents: Los Bandoleros. Machete Music, 2004.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. 1 Vintage Books/Library of America ed. New York:
Vintage Books/Library of America, 1990.

Fernandez-Kelly, Patricia. Borderless Borders U.S Latinos, Latin Americans and the Paradox of
Interdependence. Ed. Frank Bonilla, et. Al. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

Flores, Juan. From Bomba to Hip-Hop : Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity. New York:
Columbia University Press, 2000.

Giovannetti, John L. "Popular Music and Culture in Puerto Rico: Jamaican and Rap Music as
Cross-Cultural Symbols" Musical Migrations : Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity
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Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Goldin, Liliana R. Identities on the Move: Transnational Processes in North America and the
Caribbean Basin. Albany, N.Y.: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, University at
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Marshall, Wayne. "The Rise of Reggaeton." The Boston Phoenix. Last Modified: 19 January
2006. http://thePhoenix.com/Boston/Music/1595-rise-of-reggaeton/ Last viewed: 12 July
2008.

Mufioz, Jose Esteban. Disidentifications Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

-. "Chico, what does it feel like to be a problem? The Transmission of Brownness." Ed. Juan
Flores and Renato Rosaldo. A Companion to Latina o Studies. Malden, MA; Oxford:
Blackwell Pub, 2007. 441-451.

Negron-Muntaner, Frances. Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American
Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2004.

-. and Raquel Z. Rivera. "Reggaeton Nation." NACLA Report on the Americas 40.6 (2007): 35-
9.

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AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES 19.4 (1992): 18.

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(1995): 93-129.

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Rodriguez Rivera, Angel. "Regueton, Nacion y Subalternidades." Didlogo. September/October
2007 pg 23.

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Wesleyan U. Press, 1994.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Cynthia Mendoza is of Nicaraguan heritage born in Miami, Florida whose interest in

reading in English and Spanish began at an early age. She migrated from the U.S. to Nicaragua

during the early nineties making for a unique upbringing. She attended the University of Florida

for her undergraduate degree in English literature with a minor in communications. She then

went on to apply for the master's degree in the same degree as her undergraduate career. She

received her master's in the summer of 2008 and is currently residing in Gainesville, Florida

until she gets accepted to a PhD program for the 2009-2010 school year.





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1 IN EL NORTE CON CALLE 13 AND TEGO CALDERN: TRACING AN ARTICULATION OF LA TINO IDENTITY IN REGUETN By CYNTHIA MENDOZA A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Cynthia Mendoza

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3 To Emilio Aguirre, de quien herede el amor a los libros To Mami and Sis, for your patience in loving me

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank G, for carrying m e through my year s of school. I thank my mother, Rosalpina Aguirre, for always being my biggest supporter ev en when not understanding. I thank my sister, Shirley Mendoza-Castilla, for letting me know when I am being a drama queen, providing comedic relief in my life, and for being a one-of-a -kind sister. I thank my aunt Lucrecia Aguirre, for worrying about me and calling to yell at me. I thank my Gainesville family: Priscilla, Andres, Ximena, and Cindy, for providing support and comf ort but also the necessary breaks from school. I want to thank Rodney for being just one phone call away. I thank my committee: Dr. Horton-Stallings and Dr. Marsha Bryant, for their support and encouragement since my undergraduate years; without their guidance, I cannot imagine making it this far. I thank Dr. Efran Barradas, for his support and guidance in u nderstanding and clarifying my thesis subject. I thank my cousins Katia and Ana Gabriela, for reminding why is it that I do what I do.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................6 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................8 2 CALLE 13....................................................................................................................... .......19 3 TEGO CALDERN............................................................................................................... 36 4 MUSIC AS A SITE OF SEXUAL PLEASURE .................................................................... 44 5 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... ..52 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................54 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................56

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6 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree Of Master of Arts IN EL NORTE CON CALLE 13 AND TEGO CALDERN : TRACING AN ARTICULATION OF LATINO IDENTITY IN REGUETN By Cynthia Mendoza August 2008 Chair: LaMonda Horton-Stallings Major: English This work, In el Norte con Calle 13 and Tego Caldern : Tracing an Articulation of Latino Identity in Reguetn Music, explores the music genre of reguetn as an identity formation site for Latinos that negotiates a space between the heterogeneity of U.S. society and the difference of their margina lized subjectivity. The genre of reguetn is often viewed as a crass, vulgar, violent and misogynistic music de void of any cultural significance. By looking at Calle 13s lyrical violence and Tego Calderns performance of identity in their musical production, I examine the way in which these arti sts play with stereot ypes to complicate the perception of Latinos by U.S. mainstream society. These artists do so by creating this music as a disidentificatory tactic that resists cultural assimilation into the dominant society through the vocalization of ethnic pride. Popular culture, in the form of reguet n, is used as an expression for the feeling of difference, of feeling Brown, which I position as a uniting force within the PanLatino Diaspora in and outside of the United States. In exploring a music genre created mostly in Puerto Rico, heavily centered on local and regiona lized experiences of these artists as Puerto Rican men, I am interested in understanding the in fluence that the Latin American countries of origin have in the creation or formation of a La tino identity as seen th rough the consumption of reguetn by those of Latin Ameri can heritage residing in the U. S. This work is meant to

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7 encourage further discussion on the Pan-Lati no Diaspora through the examination of popular cultural productions such as re guetn: a music genre heavily embedded in the fusion of many Latin American cultures and also shaped by the global U.S. economic and social power.

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8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Reguetn, alternately spelled reggaeton, is a m u sic genre that devel ops in the late 80s, early 90s in Puerto Rico. It was partly imported from Panam, and it was dubbed underground during its early stages on the island. The pioneers of the genre focused on creating a conscious music invested in narrating the lives of those in the streets. As it stands today, the scholarship developed around reguetn focuses on its aesthetics and its development in Puerto Rican culture. According to Angel Rodriguez Rivera, Con demasiada frecuencia se menciona que el reguetn es de formacin muy reciente[y] nos resulta problemtico aceptar el gnero en s mismo y como representacin nacional (with too much frequency it is mentioned how reguetn has just been recently formed[and] it is problematic for us to accep t the genre for what it is and as a national representation (Dilogo 23). Rodriguez Rivera demonstrates how the critic s of the genre limit their conception of the music and its impact on Puerto Rican society because they fail to explore the different facets of reguetn beyond its conception and expansion in Puerto Rican cu lture. Currently, there are no book-length studies on the music. A great deal of critic al work on this genre is being published as pop cultural pieces in newspapers, or as brie f segments discussed in essays on other Puerto Rican music. It is important to note that most of this scholarship is being published in Spanish. Though this might seem ideal, it is necessary to have scholarship published in the English language to capture a Latino audien ce that might be bilingual or onl y speaks English. At the time of this thesis, there is only one forthcoming book edited by Raquel Z. Rivera. It will be the only English language book on reguetn. Given the lack of scholarship in this area, I feel my work will contribute in finding new ways to unders tand the music and also the people who produce and consume it in the United States. Most of the early scholarship criticized the genre and its artists as being responsible fo r the degeneration of Puerto Rican culture and youth. As Frances

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9 Negrn-Muntaner and Raquel Z. Ri vera explained in the articl e Reguetn Nation, reggaeton has been attacked as immoral, as well as artistically deficient, a threat to the social order, apolitical, misogynist, a watere d-down version of hip-hop and reggae, the death sentence of salsa, and a music foreign to Puerto Rico (36). Such beliefs make it th e number one enemy of Puerto Rican middle-class values. However, more recent criticisms have begun to view reguetn as having value in its expression of Puerto Rican pride. I see my work contributi ng to the latter scholarship. In this thesis, I read reguetn as a mechanism of cultural resistance for a Pan-Latino Diasporic identity threatened by the globalization of U.S. values. Reguetn is an articulation of Latino identity reflective of the diverse origins of Latin(o)s as it encompasses a multitude of Latin Ameri can sounds mixed with the Dem Bow beat. The Dem Bow beat is the essential characteristic of th is genre as it sets it apart from the reggae and hip-hop genres that are part of its musical lineage. In mixing this beat which is the underlying boom-ch-boom-chick with other Latin American genres, it captures the attention of many groups despite the different individual experiences that mold Latino life by the intersections of race, class, gender, time of arrival, circumstances of migration, and/or co lonization (Marshall 2006). The reguetn consumed in the U.S. is first and foremost, produced (almost in its entirety) in Puerto Rico. However, when consumed by mainstr eam society it enables La tinos to be an active part of constructing the U.S. national discourse, as well as critiquing it without the dominant threat of assimilation and loss of cultural memo ry. In its role as a cultural assertion of mainstream music, it specifical ly allows Latinos and other su bordinated groups in the United States [to] attain cultural citizenship and t hus claim space in society and eventually claim rights (Davila 11). Through the mixing of Lati n American music genres with hip hop, reggae and dancehall, and the use of ly rics about socioeconomic and polit ical circumstances of Puerto

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10 Rico, the reguetoneros express a Latino identity that negotiates a space between heterogeneity and difference as they revise negative ster eotypes within U.S. mainstream culture. The artists of this genre use the term Latino to encompass those who live in Puerto Rico, the neighboring Latin American countries and th e Latin American Latino community residing in the United States. In their work, Tego Caldern and Calle 13, use the terms Latino and Latinoamericano to talk about the Latin(o) American Diaspora residing in the Latin American countries as well as those residing in the U.S. I use the term Latin American for those of Latin American origin that reside in Latin American and/or Caribbean, Latino for the population that resides in the U.S., and Latin(o) when referring to both populations While the music seems to be produced mostly in one place (Puerto Rico), it is not being directed at only one specific audience; instead, it tries to encompass in the wo rd Latino the realities of people who share differences as their common ground. This is the pan-ethnic message that the music and the reguetoneros have taken up, sometimes consciously and at others times unconsciously, as their use of the word Latino and the distribution of th eir music outside of the island make the music available for interpretation by a transnational au dience. The reguetoneros use the term Latino to identify two distinct categorie s of people from Latin American origins including Puerto Rico. In this paper, I concentrate my efforts on th e U.S. population deriving from Latin American origins and the power reguetn can have in counte ring the troubling mainstream articulations and perceptions of Latino identity. In the U.S., reguetn as a cultural production al lows its artists to play with and move between good/bad representations of Latinos as th ey address social and economic issues within urban landscapes while preserving the use of the Spanish language. The reguetoneros do so through their performance of an outlaw persona who chooses to live in opposition to and

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11 resistance against the normative rules of a ho mogenous society. In its inception, the pioneers of reguetn adopted negatively-perceiv ed stereotypes associated with Black culture that identified the lower-class adolescents. They played into the stereotypes of being gangster and drug dealers just as cultural critic Tricia Rose delineates: Black teenage males sporting sneakers and other Hip Hop gear are perceived as criminal equivalents (Fear of a Black Planet 277). Reguetoneros also adopted Hip hop outlaw attitude and style of dress which in many cases [were] similar to those of U.S. icons, such as Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G[wearing] oversized jeans below the waist level (exposi ng the underwear), with the long end of a belt hanging down, and oversized jacket s and T-Shirts (Aparacio 86). Like their U.S. counterparts, the style of dress used by adolescents in Pu erto Rico who were fans of the up and coming underground genre (which later on became reguetn) were immediately separated into a category that denoted a lower and dangerous social class. The youth of Puerto Rico transformed the hip-hop style of dress used to denote lower-class Black youths in the U.S by using Rasta influences and their own fashion aesthetic such as the colors of the Puerto Rican flag in representation of cultural pride. This mode of dress and its nega tive connotation illustrate the class boundaries in Puerto Rico, as well as the i ssues of race and ethni city within the U.S. Despite their use of these personas and fashion, these performers rarely committed any crimes. However, they do seek, through their performanc e of identity, to disrupt dominant social pressures to assimilate with the mainstream. Deploying strategies such as these is how re guetn does not force its listeners to choose sides between their cultural roots and present reality. Instead, it brings these two seemingly competing segments of Latino expe rience together as it celebrates Latin American identity while speaking directly to the Latino population about the subaltern position they occupy as U.S.

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12 citizens. The music translates what it means to be perceived as different or alien, with all its injustices and adversities, but it also translates joys and pleasure into rhythms that celebrate who we are as an imagined Latino community from many places. Latino as a term is meant to articulate a pan-et hnic interpretati on of the differences encountered in this population when, as Juan Flores explains in From Bomba to Hip Hop, the word entails The study of Latinos centering analysis on the dialectic between the parts and the whole, the discrete national groups and the Latino construct. The focus is necessarily on interaction, while the hyposta sized social group itself, al ong with its discourse, is understood as process rather than as a fixed entity or meaning. (200,150) Flores focus on the interacti on between the parts and the whole suggests that a Latino identity does not exist in a vacuum completely devoid of any interaction or influence by the parts or countries of origin that make up this id entity category. Instead through the constant influx of new migrants into the U.S., the Latino iden tity category is able to maintain its fluidity, as these new arrivals are constantly transforming what it means to be of Latin American descent in the U.S. Some members of the community, and outside of it, view the word Latino as problematic because it has been used to classify a group of people that by the standard categories of race, language and nationality have more differences than commonalities. This problem of identification demonstrates the inab ility of U.S. society to cope with the dynamics forged by the articulated interaction of class, race, and gender in shaping peoples access to citizenship rightsand the contemporary tr ansnational context which national identities are being reconstituted and ethnic identiti es are being shaped in the United States (Oboler 15). These differences that disturb the set categories used within U.S. societ y to classify and maintain the status quo, allow Latinos to retain some of their specific comm unal identity despite the onslaught pressure to assimilate into mainstream U.S. societ y. Yet, because of the fluidity of this identity, there is a constant use of beha vioral stereotypes by mainstream society in an attempt to

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13 understand and concretize a stagnant Latino identity. This attributi on of behavior as demarcation of difference goes from such simple characteristic s as speaking Spanish to being indiscriminately associated with high numbers of school dropouts, rising rates of teen-age pregnancies, crime, drugs, AIDS, and other social ills of this society(Oboler 13). This illustrates how issues within the Latino community become dramatized to paint a terrifying picture of Latinos as a societal ill that threatens the U.S. The different migrant national groups that compose the Latino community endure what can be best described as a sense of displacement or alienation within the c onfines of U.S. society. Jose Esteban Muoz classifies th is alienation as Feeling Brown in Chico, what does it feel like to be a problem? The Transmission of Brow nness (443). This idea of feeling like a problem is a direct reference to W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folks and his discourse on double-consciousness, which sought to explain how African Americans negotiate a national identity and space for African-American cultural traditions within U.S society. Muoz applies this discourse to Latino studies when expl aining how in the vein of Du Bois doubleconsciousness, Latinos feeling of alienation in the U.S. of feeling Brown, feeling like a problem leads them to seek an alternative mean s of negotiating national identity in relation to the mainstream without assimilating a nd erasing important ethnic roots. While U.S. society acknowledges that there we re different groups migrating, colonizing and being colonized throughout U.S. history, the culmination of that history is perceived to be this U.S. melting pot culture. A culture where regardless of socio-economic status, color of skin, nationality or language, if an individual chooses to become American and adhere to the unspoken societal rules of a monolithic English language, and the rejectio n of cultural ancestry that dominate this country, he/she too can have a piece of the American dream. This

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14 romanticized reality is once again challenged by the presence of Lati nos, as the controversy stemming from the right to bilingual education is one of the major points of disagreement within the political and public sphere of the nation for Latinos. The issue of language signals the idea that uniformity is needed in the creation of a nation state. In reality, the U.S. does not have a melting pot culture. Historically, U.S. citizenship and nationalism is focused on the erasure or cons umption of other culture s by the adaptation of traditional values into a commercialized commod ity, while rejecting any differences that can cause a disruption in the homogene ity of national discourse and serv e as a bridge to the countries of origin. The U.S. attempts to maintain a national narrative that its society serves as a welcoming entity comprised of di fferent ethnic and racial groups who eventually assimilated into the mainstream culture. Yet, the actual existe nce of a Latino category in terms of ethnicity, speaks of the resilien ce of different Latin American national groups to actively resist assimilation, and in doing, to forge a new Ameri can identity. An identity that not based on the superficial categories of skin color, language and nationality, and which allows for a national identity that is much more inclusive and tolerant of differences. For Latinos living in the margins, the initial impulse is to tr y and fit into the normative and disassociate from that which makes him/her differ ent. However, rather than to disassociate, Muoz positions the acceptance of difference an d the articulation of difference through our performances of culture and ethnic identity as th e way to be attentive to the psychic vicissitudes of belonging in difference, which [he] descri bes as feeling Brown, a nd working through that position...to find new ways of living in the world that are pleasurable, ethical, and indeed tolerable (446-447). As a mi nority group, Latinos cannot ease th e feeling of uneasiness and undesirability they provoke in the normative major ity, but they can use this difference to carve a

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15 space of their own, to belong to the nation by way of difference, while staying true to their cultural roots. It is in this light of differen ce, of disruptive behavior as working through a position of Brownness and owning what Muoz cal ls the negation projected onto [Latinos] by a racist public sphere that devalues the partic ularity (read differences) of non-Anglo Americans (445) that I choose to read reguet n in relation to Latinos in the U.S. I explore what the musics disruption of the dominant society s values can mean in the forgi ng of Latino identity. In this music genre, which is very much the product of Pu erto Rico and its politic al and cultural state as a colonial subject, there is a pattern of resistan ce that resonates with the lived experiences of Latinos who face the question of assimilation, re sistance or a combination of both every day. As I use the term Latino and not Hispanic, I am consciously aware that both words can be used as umbrella terms when trying to descri be a wide range of people with very distinctive physical and cultural characteristi cs separating them from one a nother. In U.S. society, the conceptualization of nation depends on having its constituents look a certain way, speak one common language and share a common spatial living area to facilitate cate gorization of who is part of the nation and who is not. Since the Latino/Hispanic population is composed of many different groups it does not adhere to the homogenous norms of the majority and cannot be easily labeled based on physical appearance. Differences within the Latino community emphasize the homogeneity of U.S. society and its categories of identification because Latino populations do not remain within the white/black dichotomy that primarily constructs the racial relations in the U.S. The white/black dichotomy dictates white Eur opeans as true citizens of the nation. Yet, the diverse make-up of Latino populations challe nges the assumption that American means nonethnic White, as there are Latinos who could be read as racially White, but because of their ethnic heritage might not be considered part of the nation. This demonstrates the difficulty of

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16 thinking of a Latino/Hispanic population in the same simple categorical ideology permeating U.S. society. The labels Latino or Hispani c are not sufficiently adequate to express the diversity that this community encompasses. As previously stated, both terms have similar pitfalls. In the word Latino there is a double disruption as it is an alte rnative to the government-impos ed Hispanic which designates this community as the foreign other because the term erases cultural and historical ties to Latin America. This gives credence to Suzanne Oboler st atements that to identify oneself [as Latino] is a conscious choice not only acknowledging on e's history and socio-cultural background but also recognizing the need to struggle for social justice. In this sense, more than solely a culturally dictated fact of life, identifying oneself as Latino/a and partic ipating in a Latino social movement is a political decision (Oboler The Politics of Labeling 32). I examine this political decision in the context of reguetn, and what it means when the Puerto Rican reguetoneros speak of their reality in Puerto Rico while their music and lyrics are consumed by Latinos residing in the United States. Through a detailed analysis of Puerto Ricos reguetn as a cu ltural text, my aim is to demonstrate that the actual performances of the artists, lyrical violence found in Calle 13s musical production and Tego Calderons performan ce of identity, serve as acts of disruption on U.S. national discourse. These artis ts refuse to adhere to norma tive ideologies of propriety and use the music to embrace the idea of existing in the margins so that Latinos do not have to omit their differences but use it as an emblem of commonality that screams I am Brown. The music is framed by the disenfranchisement of the lower class, as it is the Puerto Rican working class that develops and embraces this genre that speaks from sectores que han sido excluidos de los procesos de production y genera n sus expresiones sociales desde los mrgenes. No unos mrgenes temporeros sino mrgenes pe rmanentes, ineludibles, inescapables [que]

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17 mantiene una subalternidad discursiva. This m eans that the genre stems from (sectors [of the population] that have been excluded from the process of production and generate their own social expression from the margins. Not temporary margins but very permanent, unavoidable, unescapable margins that maintain their connec tion with the subaltern discourse) (RodriguezRivera 23). Since the music becomes a site of resistance against assimilation through the incorporation of Latin American histories it provides an alterna tive and youth-directed narrative to the one disseminated by U.S. formal e ducation. It also plays up the idea of doubleconsciousness as the musical rhythms seem to manifest a product devoid of any social consciousness because it is danceable and represen tative of pleasure and desire from what is considered the lowest section of Puerto Rican society. The artists tell th e world or society in general Te devuelvo el fango, pa que te lo goce (I give you back the mud, so you can enjoy it) (Ramos, El Nuevo Dia ), or rather I give you back the mud you impose upon me and let you have fun with it. By invoking the issues of class that are part of Puerto Rican society, the reguetoneros music connects to the issues of r ace/ethnicity that are so prevalent in U.S. society. It should be of no surprise that reguetn as a genre that speaks to the subaltern, originates in Puerto Rico, an island that is the last standing evidence of U.S. colonialism in Latin America. The colonization of Puerto Rico forever changed the islands populations sense of self and cultural identity, having to endure a cultural assa ult since 1898. As Angel R. Oque ndo explains in his essay Reimagining the Latino/a Race, once Puerto Rico and the annexed Mexican territories were engulfed by the U.S., they became the underclass, systematically perceived and treated as a conquered people (97). As the unde rclass, Puerto Ricans distinguish those who are part of the U.S. national discourse and those who are not. As those excluded from the national discourse

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18 Puerto Ricans have a distinctive way of expressi ng their lived experiences as the cultural Other even when being culturally consumed by the dominant society. Reguetn, according to Juan Antonio Ramos of the newspaper El Nuevo Dia is en su letra y en su baile, es insolente, crudo, feo, hedonista y, sobre todo, franco, meaning that in its lyrics and dance, is insolent, crass, ugly, hedonistic, and above all frank. This frankness is what propels artists su ch as Calle 13 and Tego Caldern to voice the injustices faced by their nativ e Puerto Rico. Some of these injustices are perpetrated by the dominant power of the United States, but other injustices are committed by those in power within Puerto Rico who imitate th e social constructions of propriety exhibited by U.S. mainstream society. These artists investment in speaking against in justice provides a space in the music to rearticulate Latino identity as it challenges the negative stereotypes and stigmatization attached to Latino identity.

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19 CHAPTER 2 CALLE 13 As a m usic genre, reguetn encompasses a mi xture of diverse sounds that ranges from Calle 13s infusion of cumbias and tangos with the Dem Bow beat to th e more traditional rapinfluenced music of Tego Caldern. Calle 13, le d by front man Residente, is aggressive and irreverent as they address the so cial conditions of Latin(o)s in a nd out of the United States. They use violent lyrics to showcase deviant behaviors th at are an expression of their frustration with U.S. intervention in Latin American politics and the immigrant experience. In their incorporation of different Latin American sounds such as Co lombias cumbias, Argentinas tangos, Mexicos rancheras, New York based salsa, and Andean r hythms of Peru and South America, they convey their belief that a Pan-Latino solidarity can c ounteract the globalization of U.S. values. In a different manner, Tego Calderns music also manifests the same feeling of solidarity while centering on local issues of raci al pride and socio-economic inequality within Puerto Rico. His articulation of Latino identity is based on a racialized and gendere d performance of an identity that actually revises the stereo types attached to his real physi cal presence as a Black Puerto Rican while using his music as his most brutal opposition to oppressive powers inside and outside the island. While the music is anchored in the lived experiences of the artists as Puerto Rican men, they illustrate thr ough their lyrics, the negotiation be tween the different facets of their identity as Puerto Ricans, Latin Americans, and U.S. citizens. Calle 13 debuted on the scene in 2005 with the self-titled album Calle 13 which they recently followed up in 2007 with Residente o Visistante The group is comprised of halfbrothers Ren Residente Prez and Eduar do Jos Visitante Cabra who grew up on 13th street in the suburbs of El Conquistador in Puerto Ri co. The group is unique in their position as college educated white suburbanites within a musical ge nre that relies heavily on the performance of

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20 being ganster (gangster), living in the caserios (projects) and being submersed in a world of illegal activity. While these two men do not have the street credentials that seem necessary to succeed in the reguetn genre, they make up fo r it with the innovative way in which they push the boundaries of propriety. By using an enormous amount of profanity in their tracks, they blatantly criticize the U.S. and Puerto Rican government, and are exp licit detailed in their depiction of sex and violence in many of their lyrics. The groups unconv entional style disrupts middle-class ideologies of propriety, and with in the music genre of reguetn they create innovative music that challenges conventional categories. Similar to Calle 13, Tego Caldern is also known for creating music that continues to redefine what reguetn is, as he combines popular Puerto Rican music such as bomba and plena in addition to salsa, to the danceable beats of reguetn. Both these artists are known to be popular with the masses but also with the critics, since they are praised for continuing to push the music genres beyond its established norms. Cald ern has successfully put out four albums, El Abayarde (2003), El Enemy del Guasbiri (2004), The Underdog /El Subestimado (2006), El Abayarde Contra-ataca (2007), which have all been well-r eceived by the popular masses and the critics. His fusion of different music genre goes even a step further as he sings/raps in several tracks in a blatant combination of salsa and reguetn. Unlike Calle 13 s suburban upbringing and college stint by both members, Tego grew up in a caserio (project), with strong connections to the street culture of Puerto Rico and his African roots. This chapter will be focused on the music of Calle 13 while Chapter 2 will be centered on e xploring Tego Calderns music. Musical analysis : Calle 13s Llegale a mi Guarida, Pal Norte, and Pi-Di-Di-Di illustrate the construction of these artists as men and minorities in relation to the normative mainstream society. In Calle 13s Llegale a mi Guarida, the contrast of traditional classical

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21 guitars with the explicit violen ce and political conscious lyri cs represents everything that reguetn is a disruption of U. S. mainstreams homogenous image of Latinos. The musics disruption to Puerto Rican societ y and mainstream U.S. lies in th e artists performance of lyrical rather than physical violence. Instead of pr esenting a homogeneous perception of Puerto Rican existence such as being a lazy population who are heavily dependent on welfare, the lyrical violence reflects the anger of those who deal with poverty, violence, and social injustice by a system based on the subjugation of those who have historically been colonized and made the founding blocks of wealthy capitalist societies. That these building blocks, namely these marginalized communities of which Puerto Rico is a prime example, have found a way to theatrically perform acts of violence against their subjugators th rough their producti on of music and culture is not surprising. Given that Puerto Rico has endured U.S. occupation (military or otherwise) for more than one hundred years, various acts of resi stance have evolved. Reguetn is a musical genre founded on the experien ces of the underbelly of the marginalized, as Puerto Rico itself is seen as a colonized Other in relation to U.S. soci ety, and more specifically since the originators of the genre grew up in area s that received the brunt of the islands low socio-economic status, which makes them twice as marginalized. The consumption of this music is intrinsically situated in a Puerto Rican experien ce that can be seen as a disidentificatory tactic, a survival strategie[s] the minor ity subject practices in order to negotiate a phobic majoritarian public sphere that continuously elides or punish es the existence of s ubjects who do not conform to the phantasm of a normative citizenship not only against the socio-economic conditions found within the islands society but against the political position of Puerto Rico within the global hierarchy of power ( Disidentifications 4). The position of Puerto Ricans as an ethnic and racial Other is evident in their forced acquirement of U.S. citizenship by only to be denied the

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22 full extent of this privilege through the divest ment of their voting righ ts. Their inability to choose an autonomous leader of the island illustrates the political and social dependency on U.S. political and economic policies. This position as a colonized territory causes a sense of disempowerment in the Puerto Rican comm unity reflected in Calle 13s music. The song Llegale a mi Guarida or Come to my Lair, is an expressi on of the frustration over the depravation of power of the Puerto Rican community caused by el gringo, gabacho, (both are derogatory terms used to refer to U.S. Americans) and the need for violence that this frustration causes in the psyche of the colonized minority subject. In the first verse Residente directs his lyrics to the Pin che culero, gringo, gabacho (damn asshole/assfucker, U.S. American) who he would like to Morderte, odiarte, el hidago comerte (Bite, hate, your liver eat) Sacarte los ojos (Take out your eyes) Mancharte de rojo (Stain you in red) Abrirte las tripas a lo Jack the Ripper (Open your guts in Jack the Ripper style). Residente delineates how he would like to destroy el gringo who he sees as the cause for all the misfortunes of Latin America using his lyrics as symbolic violence meant to desgollarte con lo que escribo (Decapitate you with what I write) Usando los peores adjetivos (Using the worst adjectives) Pa' describir el encabronamiento que siento. (To describe how pissed off I feel) Regardless of his frustration, Residente chooses to use words and mu sic to express his anger as a way to annihilate the g ringo who is his target. In doing so, Residente designate s his music as his act of vi olence against the gringo who stands for the subjugating forces that keep Residente and the communities he represents (be it

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23 Puerto Rico and the whole Latin(o) Ameri can community) disempowered. However much violent imagery is invoked in the lyrics of th e song, it is by no means illogical or animalistic; instead, the lyrics are well craf ted to juxtapose the imagined vi olent acts Residente plans to inflict on el gringo with imag es of the actual violence already enacted on Latin American communities by the U.S. government. Residente references Nicaragua and the Sandinista movement, alluding to U.S. support of the Somoza fa mily in their fight ag ainst the rebel guerilla that sought to overthrow their di ctatorship during the Nicaraguan civil war of the late 70s-early 80s. By calling upon the history of U.S. involveme nt in Latin American affairs, Residentes lyrics invoke the need to return the violence against the gringo if the gringo continues meddling in la Guarida (the lair) that is Residentes home. History becomes his evidence. Residente clarifie s that his is not a senseless violence, but a defense mechanism against el gringo who atenta en contra e mi vida (attempts against my life) These lyrics exemplify the continuous attempt on the way of life and culture of Latin America since the enactment of the Monroe doctrine in 1823. When constructing his persona within th e song, Residente describes himself as un rebelde con causa (a rebel with a cause) Soy un guerrilero de la tierra (a warrior of the earth) Nacido y criado en la sierra (born and raised in the hills) Entre la maleza, por la cordillera de la Guerra (between the weeds, by th e mountain range of war) He revels in being a rebel, warri or and protector of his country, liv ing outside of civilized society if that means taking a stance against his oppressor, el gringo. His verse not only explains his defensive stance as a colonized minority but it also revises the popular imagery of Latinos and Latin Americans, more specifically of reguet oneros as gangsters and drug dealers. Yet

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24 Residentes personification of an outlaw identity is specific since he designates himself a guerillero (warrior) rather than a ganster, ta mpoco muevo kilo (gangster, I do not move kilos [of cocaine]); two stereotypes closely associated with working class male minorities. This distinction demonstrates that his rage and violent attack s against el gringo stem from more than just capitalist reasons for making money by se lling drugs. Residente re vises the meaning of outlaw identity to signify and se rve a larger purpose: to confront crucial problems within the Latin(o) American Diaspora and use entertainment to promote resistance. The music of reguetn, and more so its perf ormers, are usually associated with being outside of good citizenship becaus e they use crude, violent and mis ogynistic lyrics to entertain an audience initially composed of working class individuals. In the case of Residente, his position as a bad citizen stems from both his status as an outside th reat to el gringo (the U.S.) as well as his rage directed at el gringo. He also positions himself as outside normative society when alluding to being an outlaw through his use of terms such as: guarida (lair), pandillas (gangs), cavernicola (caveman), rebelde (rebel), and guerillero (warrior). Guarida or lair is a term commonly used to de scribe a hideaway, while pandillas gangs have an automatic negative and viol ent connotation. Similarl y, cavernicola cavemen are historically placed prior to any type of civ ilization, and rebelde or rebel is someone who fights against a set norm. Finally, he calls himself a guerrillero warrior who is an aggressive individual engaged in combat to describe himself and his so cial status in the song. All of these terms are used to indicate individuals who are not citizen s of any nation. He complicates this outlaw image by admitting that he is un tipo tranquilo, a cal m guy who is induced to have these murdering, psychopathic thoughts as a defense against the constant attack on hi s way of life. Through Residentes interpretation of violence, these acts of rage are coming from an easy-going guy who

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25 has been pushed long enough and is induced to take on a violent persona to ex ist and to resist the injustices enacted against his people such as the ones faced by Latin America at the hands of U.S. policies. This is a revision of the gangste r image perceived by U.S. mainstream of Latinos into something more complicat ed than just a stereotype. The chorus exemplifies this forced violent reac tion on behalf of Residente as it references real physical violence enacted on a larger scale by Middle Eastern groups with suicide bomb attacks that have successfully chipped away at the myth of invulnerability inherit within the image of the U.S. Rather than criticizing th is violence, the song ec hoes the sentiment behind these acts as the chorus states Llegale aqui, a mi guarida (get here, in my lair) Jura'o to' el mundo aqui es pura vida (I swear the world here is pure life) Pero si tu atenta en contra e mi vida (but if you attempt against my life) Quizas una bomba suicida (maybe a suicide bomb) Haga el trabajo (will do the job) The chorus depicts that while Residente chooses not to comm it real physical violence he positions himself and suicide bombers as defenders of their culture and lifestyle. I am not implying that these two articula tions of violence are in any wa y equivalent in terms of the damage they can cause. I use the references that Calle 13 makes to these very prominent acts in our recent cultural memory to demonstrate how th e lyrical violence may be useful and to what extent it can be deployed as a cultural bomb. The popular opin ion on reguetn is that it has no real social purpose or value other than to en tertain in the raunchie st way, exposing all the dirtiness and grittiness of the lo wer classes. What Calle 13 dem onstrates with Llegale a mi Guarida is that grittiness has a purpose. Because sex, violence and money have always been at

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26 the root of imperialism and co lonization, Residente speaks in th e language of violence, sexuality, and poverty to talk about what does not get said about Latin American countries. NegronMuntaner and Rivera term Calle 13s gritty language as a dig estive system, transforming the garbage of desire, politics, and vi olence into a usable language to criticize the status quo while directing that usable language a nd knowledge to the youth that consumes their music (38). It is not the music or the musicians responsibility to educate, but reguetoneros have created a music that strikes a cord with the youth population of Latin American countries and the Latinos growing up in the U.S. The music and musicians ha ve the power to influence popular culture that is the Guarida of todays youth. In continuing with their irreverent, sar castic but also social ly conscious album Residente o Visitante Calle 13 interprets the immigrant experience with Pal Norte f eaturing the Cuban rap group Los Orishas, named after the divine en tities of the Yaruba-i nfluenced religion of Santeria. In its inception, ther e is a play on the sacred and the profane that runs rampant throughout the whole song. The featured artists are named after wh at would be considered gods and goddesses of a pagan religion, singing about a culture heavily influenced by the Catholic faith. Throughout the song, saints and witches are called upon to look after the immigrant, as both religious entities occupy places of equal importance in the cons truction of the sacred in the track. Residente creates, through the lyrics of the song an atmosphere of magical realism, where he can become a diver to swim underneath the ea rth, hear the stories of the moon and carry his history packaged in a tin can. The song demonstrates not onl y Calle 13s complete disregard for boundaries and binaries but also how quickly they embrace the idea of differences and mestizaje that is the legacy of Latin(o)s Americans everywhere. This inherit mestizaje that is palpable in the mixture of cultural and religious icons throughout the song, is once again perpetuated as

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27 Latinos who immigrate or are colonized become b earers of what Rafael Perz-Torres defines as a critical sensibility, foregrounding in human bodi es a contentious and vexed history when coming into contact with U.S. society (541). Si nce Latinos are a combination of contradictory values and customs, it is thr ough the acknowledgement of mestizaje in cultural venues such as music that the unheard stories of the colonized or alien indivi dual can be told. Subsequently, when Calle 13 talks about wanting to kill el gri ngo in Jack the Ripper style, he is vocalizing the voice of the mestizo individual who is now ut ilizing popular culture to tell the story of the defeated colonized or alien indivi dual that gets left out of offi cial accounts of history but that survives in these other expressions of identity. In Llegale a mi Guarida, the listener gets a ta ste of the resident po int of view, of those who live in Latin American countries, while Pal Norte is the transitional song in where the resident becomes el Visitante (visitor), a position Latinos in the U.S. occupy whether they migrated or not. The lyrics and the sampling of musica Llanera (music from the plains of Colombia and Venezuela) used in the song exem plify a way to translate the idea of a shared experience even when the listeners do not share the same geographical background. The migrating and/or colonized groups share the experiences of danger, possibility, and the invisibility that each individual takes on when they begin their migration away from their countries of origin in search of a better future in the North. In this song, Residente touches on themes of displacement and invisibility of immi grants as he talks about going Pal norte sin pasaporte, sin transporte, (going north without pass port, without transport) to prove his identity. Residente further explores the im migrant subaltern experience by suggesting this non-citizenship places Latinos in subterranean, non-human conditions and existence as they cross the border por debajo de la tierra como las ardillas by going underneath the earth like squirrels. The songs

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28 meaning resonates with immigrants, regardless of their country of origin, as the imageries and the musical components demonstrate an intermingli ng of regional cultures from different parts of Latin America while capturing the feeling of hope most immigrants feel when migrating to the U.S. Calle 13s lyrics incorporate region-specific sy mbols that hold an iconic status in Latin America to stitch together the diverse experiences of immigrants into a fabric of culture that is understood by the migrant masses. One of these region-specific symbols is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who has historically protected the marginalized indi genous populations of Mexico. Yet, in this song she is called upon to protect th e universal immigrant. Religious entities such as the Virgin of Guadalupe are often zealously appropriated by one partic ular region in their construction of their group ident ity. Residente, an i ndividual outside of the Mexican national group rapping how en mi cuello cuelga la Virgen de la Guadalupe (the virgin of Guadalupe hangs around his neck) to reassure his grandmother that his trip will be safe is significant. The use of this Mexican iconic image is a conscious mixing of Latin American cultures by Calle 13, since it is being invoked by a Puerto Rican ma n to talk about a pan-ethnic experience. The pan-ethnicity that is expressed through the use of the Virgin of Guadalupe icon is then solidified through the first tw o lines of the chorus tengo tu antidoto, pal que no tiene identidad (I have the antidote, for thos e who do not have identity) Somos identicos, pal que llego sin avisar (We are all identical, for that one who arrived without notice) However, just as these two lines solidify the pa n-ethnicity that Calle 13 is advocating it also exposes one of the major contradictions of Lati no identity: its resistance to a monolith/ universal culture. The song claims to have the antidote for those who do not ha ve identity by asserting that everyone is identical. Such assertions can be seen as false because the biggest problem in

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29 establishing a singular Latino identity stems from Latinos multiple Latin American heritages. The existence of those without identity is a dir ect consequence of roots being displaced by the assimilationist ideology of U.S. society while at the same time denying national identity to immigrants on U.S. soil. More contradictions occur when Latinos enc ounter a society that perceives all immigrants as being identical, ev en when they are different, or their time of arrival and circumstances of migra tion to the U.S. are not the same. While the Virgin is a sacred entity, this does not deter Calle 13, and more specifically Residente, from using profanity within the same song to denounce how he Aprendi que mi pueblo todavia reza porque la fucking autoridades y la puta realeza (learned that my countrymen still pray because the fucking authority and the slutty royalty) todavia se mueven por debajo de la mesa (still moves underneath the table) In talking about the immigrant experience, Reside nte blames the rampant corruption by those in power in Latin American countries for the inabilit y of his people to prosper within their country of origin. He takes a stab at th e authorities by once again referencing the colonial history of Latin America as he illustrates the puta realeza as selli ng these countries for dishonest money. This open criticism of the country and its power hierarchy disrupts the image of the nation as a sacred entity above any reproach and need for cha nge. While those in power maintain a national narrative that positions them as having God-give n rights to rule or misrule the people who elected them, Calle 13s profane condemnations exposes the hypocrisy. To Calle 13s Residente nothing is sacred and the blurring of the line betw een sacred and profane is a recurrent theme in the groups music along with the so cial commentary they include in even their most mundane tracks. He uses any means necessary to shock his audience into becoming aware of not only one specific group of Latin(o)s but of the relation be tween the corruption in th e countries of origin,

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30 the immigrant experience and the U.S.s involveme nt in the production of these circumstances of displacement. Lyrically, Pal Norte provokes a sense of vagr ancy in the listener. The singer comments on how he is going to travel without a compass, tim e or agenda, and ironically claims that being an immigrant is a sport to him, when in real ity it becomes the defining characteristic of his existence. The feeling of being a foreigner is one of the few signs of difference that most Latinos share even when they are not immigrants. Thes e signs of difference can be observed in Calle 13s decision to make a song about going north through illegal means when the group has the freedom to travel back and forth between Puerto Rico and the United States. This freedom or privilege of having a U.S. pass port does not erase the fact that Puerto Ricans are not really considered U.S. citizens despite their particip ation in the armed forces and wage deduction by the U.S. government. While Puerto Ricans enjoy a certain mobility that other Latin American immigrants do not have, they, like the rest of the Latino population, shar e this alienation, and sense of being Brown. Although ther e is ambivalence as to who L atinos are, the song is meant to serve as a call for hope and will power fo r migrants/immigrants who are in transition. While Llegale a mi Guarida and Pal Nort e are obvious politica lly-conscious songs, Calle 13 also incorporates social commentary in tracks like Pi-Di-Di-Di, a song more likely remembered by its comedic narrative than its anti-U.S capitalist message. The message is thinly veiled in the use of rap mogul P.Diddys pers ona on the track. Calle 13 mocks the capitalist approach taken by U.S. mainstream toward Puerto Rican culture through the portrayal of Sean P.Diddy Combs and his arrogant and demanding be havior while visiting the island in the song. The song addresses two specific themes: the U.S.-P uerto Rico relationship in which Puerto Rico is seen as a fair-game space where anyone is en titled to appropriate and commodify the culture,

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31 and the masculinity of the artist defending Pu erto Rican culture through his enactment of violence in the lyrics of the song. Both of thes e themes reflect the posi tion of colonized subject experienced by Residente as he re jects the established hierarchy of power and creates his own. In the song, Residente can be heard as cordially issuing an invitation to visitors, P.Diddy amongst them: Entren, entren (Enter, Enter) Bienvenidos a mi nido (Welcome to my nest) No me tienen que pagar na', yo los invito (You dont have to pay for nothing, I am inviting you) Esto va por la casa, no me tienen que dejar propina (this is on the house, you don t have to leave me tip) La receta de hoy es la especialidad de la cocina (the recipe today is the specialty of the house) Carne asesina, y pa' que aguanten el pico (Killer meat, and to hold your beak) Un poco de yuca frita con mojito (Some fried cassava with mojito sauce) He offers traditional Puerto Rican food such as yuca con mojitos (cassava with mojito sauce) and carne asesina (kille r meat) as a welcoming gesture meant to make his guests feel comfortable. Yet, P. Diddy refuses to accept th e cultural breaking of bread being offered and demands Doritos and Coke to satisfy his hunger. In the song, food is used as a symbol of Puerto Rican culture that gets rejected for a more commercialized product; Re sidente depicts how a commodified version of Puerto Rico is preferred by tourists and investors rather than the economic poverty that is the reality of the island. This is further solidified in the chorus of the song, as it explains that P. Diddy is on the island to consume something. Yet, Residente makes it clear he is not for sale as he states in part of the chorus Hay un chorro de lechones (Yo no soy lechn !) There are a lot of pigs

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32 (I am not a pig!) Hay un chorro de jamones (Yo no soy jamn!) There are a lot of hams (I am not a ham!) Si Puff Daddy me ofrece un milln (If Puff Daddy offers me a million) Yo le digo que no... (I will tell him no) In these lines, he specifically alludes to P. Di ddys sudden interest in launching Bad Boy Latino during the reguetn explosion of 2004-2005. While th ere are others (pigs and hams) who may be up for sale, Calle 13 is not one of them, and instea d of being the gracious host he started out as, Residente challenges P. Diddys pr esence on the island and his belief that all of Puerto Rico, all of its culture and the Latino community of whic h it is part of, are up for sale. Through his expression of a strong Puerto Rican identity, Residente connects to consumers of reguetn outside of Puerto Rico who al so experience extreme pressure to give in to cultural commodification. It is very easy to assume that a ll that Latino culture encompasses is Taco Bell, Cinco de Mayo and other commercialized versions of Latin(o)s American culture. However, in Residentes symbolic incorporation of food as a way to expose the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. he depicts a cu lture that resists the capitalist id eology of the U.S. despite more than a century of colonial occupation. P. Diddys request for Coke and Doritos could be a matter of personal taste, but following his request a revealing exchange occurs between the two: (P. Diddy): "Do you know who I am?" (Residente): Como? Que te llamas Juan? (What? That your name is Juan?) (P. Diddy): "Do you know who I am?" (Residente): Que si yo me llamo Juan? (Am I named Juan?)

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33 The arrogance that P. Diddy displays in asking whether Residente knows and understands his social status mirrors the U.S. governments atti tude toward the island, as P. Diddys role as a capitalist U.S. citizen and U.S. pop culture icon makes him believe he is entitled to obedience and meekness from Residente and by default th e entire island. Yet, the arrogance and the demands of P. Diddy are not met without any re sistance, Residente defies this attempt of domination from mainstream culture and re iterates the strength of his culture by misunderstanding what P. Diddy has said. Residentes first mode of defiance happens in his misinterpretation of P. Diddys question, Do you know who I am? Residente does not answer in the affirmative, and his response if whether he (Residente) or P.Diddy are named Juan, a name stereotypically used to denote a person of Latin American heritage, becomes his way of acknowledging that he and P. Diddy are equa ls. Residente then goes on beyond chastising P.Diddy for his rude behavior by in flicting pain. In true Residente fashion, he raps about hitting P. Diddy in the jaw and chasing him through the street of San Sebastian and Christ. After he catches up to him, Residente gives him the one-t wo jab combination a lo Sixto Escobar (in Sixto Escobar style), a reference to the first Puerto Rican boxing champion ("Sixto Escobar). He then describes how after inflicting violence on P. Diddy, the Sugar Daddy de todos los Mack Daddies (Sugar Daddy of all the Mack Daddies) started to escupir agua de piringa por los pantalones (spit artificial juice from his pants) Empez a botar azcar negra por los calzones (started spilling black sugar from his underwear) Y hasta por las medias botando mojones (and even through his socks spilling shit) Mojones color verde oliva; si, color verde oliva (shit of olive green co lor, yes, olive green) Lo que caga la gente fina por comer platos de comida (what fancy people shit because they eat food plates) De $50.00 pesos pa' arriba ... (from $50.00 and up)

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34 Through this verse, Residente changes the order of power that P. Diddy attempts to maintain as a representative of the U.S. colonial power. It is Residente, after all, descendant of a raza...chiquita (small race) w ho has the all powerful P. Di ddy urinating and defecating on himself. And although P. Diddy has enough money to buy $ 50 dollar food plates, a symbol of economic power, Resiedente is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with him and win. The emphasis on the physical prowess of Resident e serves to counteract the threat posed to Residentes Puerto Rican masculinity by the arriva l of P. Diddy. The latter represents the U.S. and the emasculatory effect it has on the isla nds self-image because of the islands economic dependency. The strained relationship between th e U.S and Puerto Rico is an underlying theme in the song, as culture commodification and mone tary exchange are prev alent topics throughout. The misconception that Puerto Ri cans are a feminized population because of their status as a colony is also prevalent in the song as Residente addresses this issue when he tells P. Diddy to No te creas que porque mi raza es chiquita se quita (dont believe because my race is small they rollover) Si no donqueamos, nos vamo'a de girita (if we dont dunk, we take a ny opportunity [to score]) Y to' los gringos como tu se pueden ir con to' y camarita por la Garita (And all you Americans can l eave with your cameras and a ll through the security gate) No tienen que hacer cita si ustedes son visita (you dont have to make an appointment, you are all guests) "Say cheese!" y una sonrisita y pa' la playita (Say Cheese! smile and go to the beach) Pa' los tiburones pa' que te arranquen los tendons (so the sharks can tear away your tendons) Porque aqu en Puerto Rico somos los mas jodones (because here in Puerto Rico we are the biggest fuckers) Residente is aware of his political position as a Puerto Rican in re lation to the U.S. and while he cannot change the status of the island or its dependency on U.S. aid, he can, through the physical altercation with P.Diddy, insist that he and Puerto Rico are no less significant than the U.S. or P. Diddy. While Residente might not have the greatest height or physical buil d, he does have heart

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35 as he mentions that he might not be able to dunk but he will find a way to score. He also reminds P. Diddy that ultimately he is a guest in Puerto Rico, and as such he should know that underneath the beauty of the island there are sharks waiting to tear anyone apart w ho does not understand the courage and heart of the Puerto Rican people. Ul timately, it is this characteristic that makes Puerto Ricans the most jodones.

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36 CHAPTER 3 TEGO CALDERN While Calle 13 perform s its di sruption of U.S. national disc ourse through delib erate use of violent lyrics and unapologetic anger stemming from their positi on as colonial subjects, Tego Calderns disruption occurs w ith his acceptance of being a problem, being Brown and through his proud display of Latinidad, which to him means being a Black Puerto Rican man. His music is anchored in the life of the everyda y man who deals with violence, family, love, and loss, themes through which he addresses the larger i ssues of social injusti ces, cultural and racial identity. Tegos performance of id entity, in and out of his musical st age, is relevant as he refuses to culturally Whiten or sanitize himself to be accepted within U.S. mainstream society. Instead, when he crosses over to the mainstream popular music scene he does so as Tego, a no-gimmick, product of Puerto Ricos caserio s (projects). Tego shows himself thoroughly informed by his experience as a Black man who understands what th e markers of identity such as race, language and nationality mean to someone who wears them literally on his skin. I do not attempt to claim that Tego by the color of his skin alone is more authentically street or Latin(o). But because he is so easily marked as Other due to the co lor of his skin and th e accent in his English pronunciation I can explore the complexities of Tegos Latin(o) identity by examining the acceptance of his music by mainstre am and marginalized audiences. Tegos visual representation pl ays with the previously men tioned stereotypical images associated with Latinos in the U.S. As Patricia Fernandez-Kelly explains in her article, From Estrangement to Affinity: Dilemmas of Identi ty Among Hispanic Childre n: There is nothing static about ethnic identity. Immigr ants repeatedly engage in pur poseful acts to signify their intended character and the way they differ from other groups (83). Tego s physical appearance embodies the stereotypical image that reguetonero s have adopted in terms of dress, speech and

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37 swagger from their North American hip hop co unterparts. Yet, the lyrical content and composition of the music are more than the stereo typical image since it reflects the complexity of Tegos life as a Black Puerto Rican. It uses the components of Tegos Afro, baggy clothes and gangster look to give life and voice to those who are identified by the stereotype but are not limited by superficial markers. While Tego is performing a stereotype with his physical appearance, he is using these indicators, which have been give n a specific meaning within mainst ream society to redefine or disidentify his role as a Black Puerto Rican, who by race and ethnicity alone is presumed to be a criminal. The use of established signifiers of iden tity is necessary for the dissident performance of a subject against the stereot ype. Judith Butler explains, in Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex that performance works to the exte nt that it draws on and covers over the constitutive conventions by which it is mobilized (226). Tegos performance of identity relies on the gangster look to cause a negative reaction from his audience, only to disrupt the misconception his look achieves when contextua lized with the knowledgeable use of history within his lyrics. He uses hist ory to counteract what Jose Esteban Muoz calls the burden of liveness which denies the performance subject the right of a future and a past. Thus, the performer becomes a perfect canvas to reflect the wants, fears and desires of the majoritarian audience (Disidentifications 189). Gi ven that Tego chooses to use an Afro to signify his African roots, as well as the baggy clot hes to represent the criminality denoted by his social class and racial status, he gives himsel f and others like him the opportunity for a three-dimensional existence. He does so by incorporating his histor y of Puerto Rico and Africa as a disruption to the image that he is just a walking stereotype, devoid of history and future knowledge of himself.

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38 In the music, Tego performs who he is, a Black Puerto Rican man who has lived on the island of Puerto Rico and also the continental U. S. Within the lyrics, he works those different lived experiences into a cohesive, at times cont radictory, body of work. As an artist, Tego has stated how Ismael Rivera and Bob Marley are the two biggest influences in his musical development. These influences demonstrate the fusion of the traditional Puerto Rican music of Bomba and Plena provided by Ismael, with the soci ally resistant, militant and Pan-African music of Bob Marley. In Tegos second album, The Underdog / El Subestimado, he captures the tribulations of being a Puerto Rican of African descent, and talks about topics such as racial pride in songs like Chango Blanco (White Bird). Black pride is a t opic that is not so ope nly discussed in Latin American societies, but it remains significant because it refutes the idea that Latin American countries enjoy color-blind socie ties. While reguetn as a musica l genre is perceived as being solely invested in being a danceable genre that is only preoccupied with pleasure, misogyny and violent lyrics, Tegos music discusse s the struggle of his people, be it Puerto Ricans on the island or anyone who considers themselves Latinos, to come to terms with their sense of self and identity. He exposes the topic of racial pr ide in a seemingly simple way, talking about a chango, a black bird, who he has painted white. B ecause of this change in color, the now white chango or bird is rejected by his brothers, and so he flies alone into pouri ng rain to restore his color. After such a traumatic experience the chango sings: Yo me quiero (I want me) Me quiero quedar negrito (I want me to stay black) Nac con este color (I was born with this color) Y es que me queda bonito, bonito (and it look pretty good, pretty good on me)

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39 In this verse the bird proclaims his love for hims elf and his desire to st ay Black. In narrating the tale of the Chango Blanco, Tego addresses the issues of racial pride and the construction of the ideal citizen within Puerto Rico. The birds expe rience of being made anot her color also serves to address the issues of assimilation Latin Amer icans face once they become Latinos in the U.S. mainland. The sorrow the Chango Blanco experiences because he is classified as Other symbolically represents the same sorrow Black Puer to Ricans may encounter as a result of being and/or becoming invested in Eurocentric standards of beauty and self-hatred. Like the bird who wished to stay black, there is a heightened desire for those who migrate into this country to embrace and affirm their na tionality of origin b ecause they are labeled foreign by U.S. society. The chorus of this song, as well as the overall message, continues to be about racial pride and self-acceptance, as Te go explores the feeling of ambiguity experienced by Black Puerto Ricans on and off the island. Though simple in his lyrics, Tego ingeniously uses the form of folk tale or fable in using the tale of Chango Blanco to transmit this message that embraces being different as the bird continues on to say Nac con este sabor (I was born with this flavor) Y mi color de negrito (And my color black) Nac con este sabor (I was born with this flavor) Y nac con este dolor en el alma (I was born with this pain in my soul) In the tale of the Chango Blanco, Tego embra ces his Blackness to signify the flavor and soul that distinguish his lived experi ence from that of others. While there is a refusal within Latin American discourse to talk about how race re mains a prevalent signifier of privilege or denigration, Tego manages to infiltrate discussion of the topic in a non-threatening manner. He talks about the pride he feels fo r being Black rather th an focusing on the negative aspects. Unlike

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40 the blatant and in-your-f ace political message found in most of Calle 13s lyrics, Tegos message appears subtle as it centers on a more personal struggle caused by the larger racial problems that that impact the Latino identity he attempts to forge once he enters the space of U.S. society. Another song, A mi Papa (To my father), ca n be interpreted as a means to express the everyday struggle of life in Puerto Rico. One of Te gos most appealing characteristic as an artist is his connection to the people of the barrios and caserios (projects) from where he draws inspiration for his lyrical material. Although it is a common pract ice for reguetn artists to claim to be from the streets, what sets Tego apart is that he does not only claim the culture of the caserios but also the traditional culture of Pu erto Rico. He draws upon popular Puerto Rican music such as plena, bomba and salsa to transmit a historic sense of culture that makes him that much more in tune with the everyday Puerto Rica n. A mi Papa is about the loss of his father, an open letter telling him how thi ngs are going now that he is gone This father-son relationship is relevant because the constr uction of nationhood in many Latin American countries is based on the idea of being one big family. The song A mi Papa is directed to his father, yet Tego also addresses the cultural nation of Puer to Rico in his role as son of the island. In the second verse of the song Tego reassures his father that he is doing alright for himsel f as he tells him Lo cojo suave lo mo esta seguro (I take it easy, what is mine it is secure) El Underdog pa, yo le vendo dos por uno (The Underdog Da, I sell it two for one) Sigo bregando con los puercos de esta industria (I keep fighting with thes e pigs of the industry) Pero esta to' bien uno se las busca (But everything is good when you work for it) Sigo pa' lante como me enseaste (I keep going lik e you taught me) Siempre evitando que el grande me aplaste (Always avoiding that the big one smashes me)

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41 While the song is centered on his re lationship with his father, it al so reflects the general national atmosphere of Puerto Ricans who feel they are in a constant battle agai nst el grande (the big one) who is trying to keep them down. While Ca lle 13 used pop icons and popular culture to discuss U.S.s power hierarchy ov er Puerto Rico, Tego displays his own personal experience to parallel Puerto Ricos social position and economic dependency on the U.S. Tego draws on the strength of his fathers teachings to keep moving forward when dealing with the capitalist power of the music industry. He demonstr ates the legacy of his fathers teachings by continuing to fight against el grande and by also maintaining close ties to traditional Puerto Rican cultural roots as he prou dly highlights his collaboration with legendary salsa group La Fania. It is his fa ther who instills in him la semilla de mi cultura (the seed of my culture), who makes him part of una escuela que hasta el ma s rico quisiera (a school that even the richest want), and who supported him even while in jail. The memory of Tegos father acts as the central figure in the song, molding Te go into the Puerto Rican man he is today, one concerned with the social conditions of the island that is his home. Moreover, A mi Papa is invested in por traying a Puerto Rican man who fights for a better future by providing for his children and re specting his elders. Tego tells his father how Por que bien se lo mereca la torta esta dividida (Because it is well deserved the pie is divided) Pa mis cra sper repartida (To my young all is well distributed) Tengo Jiguiri record sigo cada dia (I have Jiguiri records I keep on going every day) Hay mas de lo que so en mi alcanca (There is more money in my piggy bank that I ever dreamed of) Providing for his family is how Tego measures success. He is proud to tell his father that his children are well-taken care of, a fact that takes precedence over having his own record label or monetary gain. What Tego promotes is an ideology of social responsib ility in which the bond

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42 with his father is parallel to the ties he has with Pu erto Rico. As an artist he is aware of the power he possesses to speak against social injustices bu t also to induce the consumers of his music to think about the world they live in. Even though he a ddresses issues of social responsibility, as he paints his father as his ultimate hero and Pu erto Rican man, it is not done so by privileging middle-class moral ideology. Instead, Tego depict s his father as a good man by characterizing him as someone who is proud of his culture, ha s always stood by his fam ily and had a fighting spirit, without engaging in issues of morality espoused by middle-class ideology. Tego Caldern is constant in his use of pe rsonal experiences to express his opinion on society. He collaborates with re guetn artist, Don Omar in the song Los Bandoleros off the compilation album Los Bandoleros released in 2005, to illustrate their position as a targeted group in Puerto Rico. While neither one of the ar tists mention anything about race, it is important to note that both artists are and participate in a music genre clos ely associated with the lower class and criminality. In the song Los Bandoleros (The Bandits) both artists expose how they are treated unequally in the eyes of the law. In the lyrics of this song, Tego and Don Omar confront the image of bandoleros (bandits) given to them by the media because of their humble beginnings and the music they produce. While both these artists have had problems with the law, in the song they point out how they are perceive d as criminals from the outset while el mister politiquero (Mr. Politics) gets aw ay with stealing money and still gets re-elected. More so, Tego narrates his experience with the D. E.A. who illegally searched his hotel room during a concert in New York City in 2005. (Cepeda 30) By addre ssing the mistreatment they have experienced in the hands of the law, they shed light into th e class distinctions and th e preferential treatment corrupt politicians can receive because of their social status even when they are just as guilty as

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43 those from lower classes. Don Omar and Tego are quick to recognize th ey are not perfect as Tego states Yo no soy un santo pero estoy en clave (I am not a saint but I am alright) Estoy pagando to' mis maldades (I am paying for all my bad deeds) Y estoy aqu tirando pa' alante (And I am here shooting forward) Como quiera que lo pongas hago menos mal que antes (Either way you put it I do a lot less damage than before) He admits he has made mistakes and for that he is paying, but being an artist now keeps him from doing wrong to others. Both artists encourag e their audience to resp ect other peoples way of life as they admit that they will continue with their tumbao, y con mis ojos colorao (with my style (grind) and my bloodshot eyes) which may go against middle-class ideas of propriety. Having established that their deci sions can sometimes be perceived as illegal, they make it clear that even if it is so, they do not hurt anyone unlike politicians who pl ay with the well-being of a great amount of people. In this song, Tego and Don Omar ar e not trying to justify their choices rather they are critiquing those who would judge others because their lifestyle differs from the norm. Ultimately, they make a call for tolera nce as all they ask is for el beneficio de la duda cualquiera merece (the benef it of the doubt everyone deserves).

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44 CHAPTER 4 MUSIC AS A SITE OF SEXUAL P LEASURE The music is never one thing: so even when re guetn is at its most crude and/or seemingly commercialized form it still manages to crea te a space for the marginalized community it represents. It uses crudeness to garner attention while owning the Brownness that separates Latinos from the dominant culture. The capacity to be a site of resistance, pleasure, and community building are prevalent characteristics of the musical composition and lyrical content of the genre exemplified in the pe rformance of its creators and the consumption of its listeners. While it is easy to concentrate on songs that are so rich in meaning because they address explicit socio-economic issues, re guetn is also about dancing a nd joyful expression of cultures that makes Latinos feel connected, even when they are not really from all (over there: Latin America) or ac (United States ). Reguetn connects Brown people in a way that the word Latino, or what it signifies, cannot. Till this point I have concentrated on songs that use explicit foul language and violent imagery to make their poi nt, but I have yet to ad dress reguetn s other crude characteristic, the misogynistic and sexually explic it lyrics that make up the majority of reguetn music being played on the radio. Reguetn, as a manifestation of the social a nd cultural disenfranchisement experienced by Puerto Ricans in their roles as colonial subjects, is interest ed in representing people who find empowerment and pleasure living outside of the nor m. While reguetn originated from a socially conscious space, many critics have claimed that it has become all about girls dancing to it with no cultural meaning except that of objectifying women and prom oting violence (Cepeda 30). Yet, its shock value and its blunt addressing of taboo topics like sex and every day violence become a type of resistance. It uses what is often considered distasteful and vulgar to promote a

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45 way of life that accepts living at the margins not in exile of the domin ant culture, but as an alternative to it. Not since the birth of classi c salsa during the 1960s-70s ha s another music genre managed to capture such a transnational audience inside and more unequivocally outside the island of Puerto Rico. While salsa was not created on the island, New York-Puerto Ricans as well as Cubans and other Latin American groups, influen ced this music genre that in its inception was considered the music of barrio peoplean entert aining, dancing style that also carried a heavily politicized lyrical component, filled with themes and messages concerning the everyday happenings and plight of Puerto Rican people, the same descrip tion that reguetn can be given nowadays (Padilla 33) the music of barrio peopl ean entertaining, dancing style that also carried a heavily politicized lyrical component, filled with themes and messages concerning the everyday happenings and plight of Puerto Ri can people (Padilla 33). This is the same description that reguetn can be given nowadays. While today salsa is considered tame and romanticized, in its origin salsa was considered misogynistic and crude. It has to be understood that reguetn takes that expr ession of crudeness to its maximum capacity, as it becomes the mixed child successor of salsa, as both genres shar e the initial purpose to address the same issues of barrio life. Moreover, reguetn also inherits the cultural resistant characteristics of Jamaican dancehall, reggae and hip hop which are products of other marginalized groups. The parallels between the musical expressions of salsa and regu etn are obvious as they are representatives of Puerto Rican culture that somehow get translated into a depiction of the larger Latin(o) American Diaspora. In its role as a cultural signifi er, reguetn performs along with No rth American rap and Jamaican dancehall, a similar role as youth-centered musi c that defies middle-clas s ideology of propriety

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46 invested in censoring working class expressions of pleasure and desire. Like rap and dance hall, reguetn has received major criticism for being what detractors call a primitive form of musical expression" that transmits the most elementary forms of emotion through its brutalizing and aggressive monotony (NegrnMuntaner and Rivera 36). That themes of violence and sexuality seem prominent in most re guetn songs is a fact. However, what it is not recognized is that this music is, as Carolyn Cooper suggests it in terms of Jamaican dancehall as stubbornly rooted in a politics of place that claims a privilege space for the local and asserts the authority of the native as speaking subjects (Sound Clash 2). Rather than dismiss the sexual and violent undercurrents of the genre as a result of the male-centered society in which this music is produced, it is necessary to understand that se xuality and violence are common themes in the lives of the producers of this music. The musi cs place outside of normativity and propriety reflects its consumers and producers who already exis t at the margins. Instead of trying to find a way back to the center, it rejects all that the center stands for, espe cially its specific gender, class and race roles that restrict many lower class people. Consequently, just like men who inhabit the caserios (projects), women have also found a way of owning this music, despite their perceived or real roles as sexual obj ects within the genre. They become full participants in the music th rough their consumption of it by buying the cds and attending clubs and events that play reguetn. I am not suggesting some of the lyrics cannot be interpreted as degrading, but to ignore the consumption of them by women who choose to use the music and its derivative dance perreo ( doggy dance) as a space of freedom would mean shutting down the acts of resistance that wome n perform every time they enter and conquer socalled male spaces such as reggae, hip hop and re guetn. To negate this form of empowerment and relegate all women who enjoy the music to a vi ctimized entity with no actual agency is just

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47 as devaluing as the so-called misogynistic lyrics of reguetn. It seem s easier for critics not invested in the music and its people to refuse its manifestation as peoples liberatory desire. For these same critics, it becomes easier to designate it as a shameful thing and strive to stifle this performance of the erotic because they confuse it with the pornographi c, rather than as a site of resistant to middle-class ideologies. The spaces of marginalized culture and music are not usually thought of as women-friendly, but subversiveness does not only be long to male performers. One can see how it is can be a subversive force used by female MCs, DJs and rappers, as well as in the appropriation of th e music through dance. Calle 13s mainstream success began with the track Atrve-te-te off their self-titled Calle 13 debut album in 2005. This track fuses a Colombia n cumbia beat, a clarinet and the dem bow beat to make the catchy melody that made the s ong a hit. The lyrics are exactly what one can expect of Calle 13 as they reference pop culture, allude to genitalia a nd make fun of everyone and everything, including themselves. The song is directed at a girl w ho does not like Puerto Rican products. The girl seems mo re interested in white rock ba nds Green Day and Coldplay as opposed to anything the island has to offer, including reguetn. To this indifference Residente urges her to Atrvete, te, te, te (Dare yourself) Salte del closet, te (Get out of the closet) Destpate, qutate el esmalte (Open up, take off the enamel) Deja de taparte que nadie va a retratarte (stop trying to cover yourself, no one is going to take pictures of you) Levntate, ponte hyper (Get up, get hyper) Prndete, scale chispas al estarter (Turn yourself on, get sparks of the starter) Prndete en fuego como un lighter

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48 (Turn yourself on fire like a lighter) Sacdete el sudor como si fueras un wiper (Shake off the sweat like a wiper) Que tu eres callejera, Street Fighter (That you are street girl, Street Fighter) In the chorus, Residente advocates that the girl pursue sexual freedom. This is a radical and non traditional stance on gender. When contextualizing Residentes message within the Latin American usage of the virgin/whore dichotomy to dictate womens role and position in society, the song encourages the female to let go of he r confining performance of womanhood in which she worries about societal perception. Although calling a woman a callejera can be insulting as it means a girl of the streets, a vagabond or pros titute, Residente follows this term with Street Fighter as a way to redefine what it means to be a callejera in this case. She then becomes someone who is well versed in being in the st reet, handling her business, and taking care of herself. If reguetn, or any type of music for the matter, is read and interpre ted as parts and never the whole, then it is easy to understand why it might be perceive d as demeaning and violent, since the lyrics are dripped in a crude language. However, it is a language that the generation who consumes this music is well-versed in. The song is peppered with double meaning as prendete, sacale chispas al starter is not just about get ting hyped to go out but also about turning yourself on sexually. Though the language is vernacular, the idea of a woman being so sexually open is what actually causes shock am ongst its unversed listeners. And while Residente is insistent about getting the girl to deja el show (stop the sh ow), sbete la mini falda hasta la espalda (put your mini skirt up till your shoulder back), meaning to let go of her inhibitions, he also makes it a point to give suitable accolades to how Puerto Rican women take care of themselves by comparing them to The Bride of the Kill Bill movies. Residentes lyrics are sexually charged and they do focus on the female an atomy illustrated in his description of Puerto

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49 Rican women as cocinan con salsa de tomate (cooking with tomato sauce), Mojan el arroz con un poco de aguacate (wetting the rice with a little avoc ado), Pa' cosechar nalgas de 14 quilates (To harvest 14 karat asses). Residente is direct in his a ppreciation of the female body, but even when talking about women as sexual beings with big asses, he also acknowledges that they are more than just that. He compares their strength to The Bride in Kill Bill and he mentions their Amazonian bearing and intellect throughout the song. It is not my in tention to sanitize the music, as its sexual explicitness is essential to the music being cl assified as vulgar, dangerous and in direct opposition to a stifling normativity. More so, the sexual explicitness is what allows the music to have many different facets. It can be empowering when talking a bout big asses, and challenging of normativity when it warns of te voy a inyectar con la bacteria (I am going to vaccinate you with the bacteria), alluding that reguetn is a disease that once introduced into the body will change that persons belief in the restrictiv e norms of society. However, in this analogy Residente uses what is considered a disease to create a new discourse of identity that is fluid and celebratory of the contra dictions of the culture it represents. His lyrics become invested into practicing what Carolyn Cooper explains when she defines slackness as a term used to express womens loose morals and its role in Jamai can dancehall. She writes of slackness, is not mere sexual looseness[it] is the contestation of the conventional definitions of law and order; an undermining of consensual standa rds of decency. At large, slackness is the antithesis of restrictive uppercase CultureS lackness demarcates a space for an alternative definition of culture (Sound Clash 3-4). In similar fashion, Residentes lyrics and his use of crude an d vulgar language to praise a womans body becomes a site of contestation of what is perceived as high Culture and what is perceived as garbage.

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50 Like Calle 13, Tego also has songs directed to get the audience moving, as these tracks delineate in their lyrics a sp ace where there are no boundaries when it comes to finding great and unadulterated pleasure in the music. In similar fa shion to Calle 13s advocacy of getting the girl in their song to atrve te-te-te, in Tego and ejos remi x of No quiere novio (She does not want a boyfriend) encourages list eners that the societ al boundaries of good behavior be left behind for a lifestyle that is more cognizant of pleasure: No quiere novio, quiere vacilar na' mas (Doesnt want a boyfriend, onl y wants to fool around) No quiere a nadie que le este diciendo na (Doesnt want anyone to tell her nothing) Ningun bobo que le venga hablando pendeja (No fool to talk stupidity to her) Ella no tiene que explicarle a nadie pa' donde va (She doesnt have to explain to no one where she is going) The song focuses on a girl who knows what sh e does and does not want, and a boyfriend is not in her plans. This refusal to let a man in her life is an act resistant to the notion that women are always in need of a man in their lives. She re fuses to have anyone tell her what to do, what is more she is not even interested in having Te go meet her father when he offers. While the palpable theme in this song is this girls re fusal to have a boyfriend and follow middle-class propriety, what the song is getting at is the defiance of behavioral gender roles that the girl, but also Tego, are performing as he applauds her abnormal behavior. As seen in both of these songs, Atrve-te-te and No Quiere Novio, wh en speaking of female sexuality in the manner that Residente and Tego do in their lyrics, rather than to take on a machista stance in which they condemn the womens liberated sexual behavior they embrace it. It could be said from a conservative point of view, that these artists as well as reguetn music in general, embrace this sexual openness because ultimately it benefi ts the men as it faci litates casual sexual relationships. However, to make such statement is to negate the fact that women, just like men,

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51 are capable of having casual se xual encounters in where they, a nd not the man, are the primary benefactors. Ultimately, the music is about the pleasure that it gives those who consume it through dance or just by listening to it. Many of the detractors of the genre have said that reguetn is repetitive and monotonous without taking into account that in its inception, reguetn is already a combination of many different genres. The mu sic encourages hedonist ic behavior as an alternative to the oppressi ve realities of those who consume the music and have to deal with issues of violence, discrimination, poverty and injustice.

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52 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION As a Latina navigating the m urky waters of ma instream America, I always search for new ways to define myself in spite of the stereotypes and homogeneity that ar e constantly attacking my sense of self. I am consciously aware that my place in U.S. society is not really defined, as my Latin American roots seemed to be in li mbo, literally and figura tively uprooted from the Nicaragua, a land where I was partiall y raised and never quite transpla nted into my reality that is the United States. My academic journey has taught me new ways to read literature, spaces and culture in search for the gaps, silences and shadows that I am sure belong to me as I play my part in the construction of the racialized Other nece ssary to define the normative majority of U.S. citizenship. These uncharted spaces are what I fi nd so valuable in the music genre of reguetn. The music speaks to my need as a Latina to negotia te the complexity of my identity within the U.S. mainstream society and finally locate my root s, if only for a moment, in the danceable beats of a reguetn song. The music allows for this negotiation of identity through the incorporation of different Latin American musical genres with lyrics that speak of roots and politics that permeate the lives of U.S. Latinos who remain part of an ignored group that is characterized as a problematic population within the United States. My first taste of reguetn came in the form of N.O.R.Es collaboration with Tego Caldern in Oye mi Canto. In its intr oduction, the song had a sample of rapper Big Puns Still Not a Player, one of the biggest if not the biggest hit by a Latino rap artist in the nineties. I knew that I liked how the music was not completely rap but it was not salsa or merengue either. It seemed to be a mixture of both. The mixing of the Eng lish and Spanish language reminded me of how I grew up speaking a mixture of both languages; one with my parents and another at school with my friends. It was the music video however, that captured my attention as it featured the most

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53 well-known Latino artists I knew at the time: Fat Joe and Nina Sky. It also featured unknown artists who would later become reguetn stars. As I watched th e video, N.O.R.E got out of the box painted with the Puerto Rican flag colors. Seconds later there were a row of flags with beautiful women next to them and the only thing I could do was search for my Nicaraguan flag, to see if they would represent me and where I ca me from. They did have my flag, and I fell in love with this rhythm that infused my Hiphop with the Caribbean music of my childhood. More than just having my flag in their visual representation of the song, these artists kept saying Latino, a word that until that moment I had not thought of as being different from Hispanic, but it was. These artists said it with su ch passion. They believed in its power to unite all Puerto Ricans, as well as all Latin American countries. When I consume this music, I am consciously aware that the music comes mostly fr om Puerto Rico. Yet, I know I am part of it when the rappers call out If you are Latino st and the fuck up, (Oye mi Canto) and will Brown people like me to take a stand and en joy being different. Th e word Latino is problematic when people use it to reconcile specific national categories into one monolithic culture without preserving or re specting cultural differences of individual group. But the music does not have that problem. Those who feel conn ected to the rhythms of the beat in it can identify one another, as if the music gave them access to a secret society that does not have a specific look to it. The transnati onal characteristic of the music is what allows me to read in regueton an articulation of a Latino identity even when it is not crea ted in the U.S. It connects us as a U.S. community to one anothe r and to those who reside in the countries of origin as we all can enjoy the danceable rhythms of reguetn.

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54 LIST OF REFERENCES Butler, Judith. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex". New York: Routledge, 1993. Calle 13. A trvete-te. Calle 13 Sony International, 2005. ---. Llegale a mi Guarida Residente o Visitante Sony International, 2007. ---. Pal Norte Residente o Visitante Sony International, 2007. ---. Pi-Di-Di-Di Calle 13 Sony International, 2005. Caldern, Tego. Chango Blanco. The Underdog/ El Subestimado Atlantic, 2006. ---. A Mi Pap The Underdog/ El Subestimado. Atlantic, 2006. Cepeda, Raquel. Riddims by the Reggaeton Last modified: 28 March 2005 http://villagevoice.com/gene ric/show_print.php?id=62467&page=cep.html Last viewed: 24 June 2008. Cooper, Carolyn. Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Davila, Arlene M. Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People Berkeley: U of California Press, 2001. Don Omar. Los Bandoleros Don Omar Presents: Los Bandoleros Machete Music, 2004. Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk 1 Vintage Books/Library of America ed. New York: Vintage Books/Library of America, 1990. Fernandez-Kelly, Patricia. Borderless Borders U.S Latinos, Latin Americans and the Paradox of Interdependence Ed. Frank Bonilla, et. Al. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. Flores, Juan. From Bomba to Hip-Hop : Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. Giovannetti, John L. Popular Music and Culture in Puerto Rico: Jamaican and Rap Music as Cross-Cultural Symbols Musical Migrations : Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity in Latin/o America Ed. Frances R. Aparicio, and C ndida Frances Jquez. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Goldin, Liliana R. Identities on the Move: Transnational Processes in North America and the Caribbean Basin Albany, N.Y.: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, University at Albany; Distributed by Univer sity of Texas Press, 1999. International Boxing Hall of Fame. 2008. S ixto Escobar. The Neutral Corner. 30 June 2008. .

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55 Marshall, Wayne. The Rise of Reggaeton. The Boston Phoenix Last Modified: 19 January 2006. http://thePhoenix.com/Boston/Music/1595-r ise-of-reggaeton/ Last viewed: 12 July 2008. Muoz, Jose Esteban. Disidentifications Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. ---. Chico, what does it feel like to be a problem? The Transm ission of Brownness. Ed. Juan Flores and Renato Rosaldo. A Companion to Latina/o Studies. Malden, MA ; Oxford: Blackwell Pub, 2007. 441-451. Negron-Muntaner, Frances. Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2004. ---. and Raquel Z. Rivera. "Reggaeton Nation." NACLA Report on the Americas 40.6 (2007): 359. No Quiere Novio Remix. DJ Nelson & Rafi Mercenario Pres ent: The Kings Of The Remix Flow Music, 2006. N.O.R.E Oye mi Canto. N.O.R.E. y la Familia...Ya T Sabe Roc-a-Fella, 2006. Oboler, S. "The Politics of Labeling: Latino/ a Cultural Identities of Self and Others." LATIN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVES 19.4 (1992): 18. ---. Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of (Re)Presentation in the United States Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. Oquendo, Angel R. Re-imagining the Latino Race Harvard Blackletter Law Journal 12 (1995): 93-129. Prez-Torres, Rafael. "Ethnicity, Ethics, and Latino Aesthetics." American Literary History 12.3, History in the Making (2000): 534-53. Padilla, Feliz M. Salsa Musi c as a Cultural Expression of Latino Consciousness and Unity. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 11.1, (1989): 28-45. Ramos, Juan Antonio. Puerto Rico: Regueton? El Nuevo Dia. 01 April 2007. Estilo y Vida. Rodriguez Rivera, Angel. Regueton, Nacion y Subalternidades. Dilogo September/October 2007 pg 23. Rose, Tricia. Black Noise Rap Music and the Black Culture in Contemporary America Hanover: Wesleyan U. Press, 1994. ---. "Fear of a Black Planet": Rap Musi c and Black Cultural Politics in the 1990s." The Journal of Negro Education, Socialization Forces Affecting th e Education of African American Youth in the 1990s (1991): 60.3: 276-90.

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56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Cynthia Mendoza is of Nicaraguan heritage bor n in Miam i, Florida whose interest in reading in English and Spanish began at an early age. She migrated from the U.S. to Nicaragua during the early nineties making for a unique upbringing. She attende d the University of Florida for her undergraduate degree in En glish literature with a minor in communications. She then went on to apply for the masters degree in th e same degree as her undergraduate career. She received her masters in the summer of 2008 and is currently residing in Gainesville, Florida until she gets accepted to a PhD program for the 2009-2010 school year.