Trust René Pérez Joglar (aka Residente) to turn the music documentary on its head. His self-titled film, Residente, ostensibly follows him as he works on his latest album, but it is above all, a journey of self-discovery. After taking a DNA test, the Puerto Rican founder of Calle 13 found that he could trace his legacy as far as Siberia, China, The Caucasus, Moscow, and even Burkina Faso. Guided by a need to learn more about this genetic and cultural history, he set out to travel the world to collaborate with musicians and locals to create what might be his most ambitious work to date.
“Today the music industry has a priority to sell at all costs,” he says at one point in the doc, “The need to do something real and true is less important each day.” His mission, as we see in this globetrotting project, is to create music that is at once personal and global. That’s why you see him connecting with farmers in snow-capped fields in Georgia, working with Chinese musicians to evoke an apocalyptic song inspired by Beijing’s polluted air, and yes, recruiting Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda to lay some bars on a track about what it means to Puerto Rican. Residente, the film, is even more proof that there’s little this 25-time Grammy winner can’t do.
Check out the full trailer for the documentary below.
UPDATE 1/3/2018: The Residente documentary is now streaming on Netflix.