As música urbana continues to surge in the mainstream pop sphere, the movement is facing scrutiny from newfound audiences. “Amarte Duro,” a recent collaboration between salsa singer Victor Manuelle and urbano artist Farruko, is fielding criticism from fans for its questionable lyrics.
The salsa collaboration was released on March 15, and features a few verses sung by Farruko. At the 3:20 mark, Farruko sings, “A diario, te juro que no aguanto las ganas/Y te voy a dar bien duro como Chris le daba a Rihanna.” The controversial lyric, which references the abuse Rihanna suffered at the hands of Chris Brown over the course of their relationship, has drawn the ire of many fans, who point out that it normalizes sexual assault and violence against women.
On Monday, Manuelle took to Instagram to apologize, writing that he would never intentionally promote sexual assault. “Those who know me know that I would be unable to promote or promote any act of violence, much less gender violence. My principles, my values and my education would not allow me to support such acts conscientiously,” he wrote in Spanish.
However, Manuelle bizarrely claims to have neglected the fact that the line could be read as a literal reference to violence. In the post, he suggested the lyric is a metaphor for the former couple’s intense and passionate relationship. “Everyone should know that they were a couple who had an intense love and was referring to the love lived before the incident between them. Seeing the negative reactions that several people have had, it has made me reconsider that the sentence carried a double meaning,” he said.
Farruko recently performed the collaboration with Victor Manuelle at the Latin Billboard Awards, but he has yet to respond to the criticism publicly. According to Billboard, all of Farruko’s Instagram posts were deleted following the social media backlash; his profile on the platform is currently blank. Over the past few years, Farruko has found success topping the charts since his 2010 debut album Talento del Bloque. More recently, he collaborated with Bad Bunny on “Krippy Kush,” the lead single from his 2017 album TrapXficante.
One thing’s for sure: at a time when women are being vocal about all kinds of gender-based violence – from harassment in the workplace to emotional abuse – these lyrics feel especially tone deaf.