1. First off, he likes his rum with no ice.
René Perez, better known as Residente of Calle 13, a band beloved in Puerto Rico and Latin America, divulges his drink of choice when asked a question from a fan on Twitter about how he builds up the intensity and emotion when he’s recording in the studio.
“I drink a little bit, I don’t recommend that,” he said in Spanish, laughing. “I like rum, alone, with no ice. I’m not an alcoholic, but I drink a little, I get into it, like I’m an actor,” he said, adding that the women in his life are actresses and he learned from them to concentrate before performing.
2. He was a late bloomer with the ladies but then it all escalated — quickly.
“Diablo, my first kiss? It was late. I was 18 or 19 years old. Everyone had had sex and I hadn’t even had a kiss yet,” he said. “It’s not a good story. But it was my first kiss, my first oral sex, everything. She was a good person, it wasn’t someone I didn’t know at all.”
3. He has an English-language album in mind.
“I want to do that,” he said, answering a question from Facebook. “I’m not that good in English, like I am in Spanish. I would have liked to do ‘Adentro’ in English.
With “Adentro” he brings up maybe his most forceful and emotionally arresting track off Calle 13’s recently released album MultiViral. The relentless track and accompanying video has 7 million views on YouTube and serves as a commentary on materialism and violence in rap.
“Here they need it, the rappers — what’s happening in rap is bad,” Perez said. “I would like to do something in English, I can do it, but not in the same way. I would need to say fewer words, but you would understand.”
4. His embrace of and support for the gay community was supported by his uncle.
“My uncle died, but he was gay,” Perez said, answering a question sent to BuzzFeed Español on Twitter. “I grew up understanding the gay community, I grew up with my family, and he was in it. I have cousins who are gay, my wife has like 10 gay friends, my sister is also responsible for that focus. We grew up with the luck of having an open family.”
5. If he could have dinner with anyone, it would be with his grandmother, his great-grandmother, Roberto Clemente, and John Lennon.
“They might not like John Lennon,” he said of his grandmothers, smiling. “They would say, ‘Who is he’? But definitely my grandmothers and Clemente.”
“Clemente, he was a hero of so many,” Perez said of the Puerto Rican baseball legend.
6. Perez, a Puerto Rican, so fiercely embraced Latin American identity after traveling the region.
“Traveling, as soon as I started doing that, I started connecting with what’s happening in Latin America,” he said.
“When you’re born, the only connection is with the United States. But at a certain moment you realize you can have a connection with Latin America. It’s a weird feeling, like a stepbrother — you feel part of it, but you’re not. But you are brothers, Puerto Rico and Latin America. I started learning about it like the world was going to end, I started trying to understand it all. That’s where the song ‘Latinoamerica’ comes from. From a group that came out of a colony. It got written from inside and being outside.”
7. So who is the best audience in Latin America? He really didn’t want to say. But maybe Argentina…
“They all have different energies,” he said.
“Argentina is spectacular, it’s one of the best. It’s the passion, everything is exaggerated. The concerts, they live them to 100. The Mexican crowd is also strong, they feel it. Puerto Rico, Colombia, Chile. In Europe we played in Berlin, Hamburg — the crowd was great. It’s hard to decide. But Argentina has something special.”
8. This is what he would do if he could meet his 10-year-old self.
He chuckled and shook his head throughout this answer, wondering exactly what he would say to his 10-year-old self.
“Diablo, I don’t know. It would be difficult, I would invite him to eat. I would like to spend a day with him, to see what he was thinking. What the hell was I thinking?”
But he also turned wistful.
“I had a lot of fun when I was 10. I had more fun than I do now. My friends were all alive.”
9. He wants the world to know the name Oscar López Rivera.
At the recent Vive Latino festival in Mexico, he asked everyone to illuminate the stadium in solidarity with the release of Oscar López Rivera, a supporter of Puerto Rican independence who has served 33 years of a 70-year prison term and was charged with seditious conspiracy against the U.S.
Perez, who shot the “MultiViral” video in the West Bank, said the causes Calle 13 stand for appeal to many internationally.
“They identify with the causes I speak about, about Puerto Rico. Things like the liberty of Oscar Lopez and Puerto Rican independence, it’s like Palestine in that sense,” he said, echoing his December comments to the Associated Press. “They identify with the art.”
10. He basically hates flying.
“I understand planes, but I don’t love them,” he said.
“Each time I need to travel, when I know I need to do a bunch of trips coming up, I get tired.”
11. He doesn’t want to be a politician or an actor. But behind the camera? That he’s into.
“I don’t want to be an actor. I would like to write or to direct. I’m a huge movie fan, since I was little,” he said. “I think I’m going to do something with that soon.”
12. This is a selection of the music he listens to.
Showing his iPhone to BuzzFeed, he said he was into these artists: Laurie Anderson, Radiohead, Cinematic Orchestra, Action Bronson, Emily Simon, Kurt Vile, and Monomania.
Clearly, a little bit of everything.
13. But during sex he listens to…
“No music for sex,” he said, laughing. “Natural sounds.”