Residente has always been an artist in more ways than one. Long before his entry into the music industry with notorious Puerto Rican rap crew, Calle 13, Residente—or René Pérez Joglar—attended visual art school. From studying in Savannah, Georgia (where he enrolled at SCAD) to Barcelona, the Boricua MC tried his hand at another lifelong passion of his: film. He’s finally ready to pursue it again. Now that he’s released his most poignant music video to date for the eponymous “René,” it’s easy to see why.
Since it’s release on February 27, the music video for “René” has surpassed 40 million views, reaching a No. 1 spot on YouTube’s Trending chart in the United States and ranking second worldwide as of March 1. It’s a testament to what happens when an artist decides to live their truth—a path that Residente is ready to follow wholeheartedly. His battles with addiction, mental health and childhood poverty are all laid bare on “René,” so the only place to go now on is onward. It’s a decision Residente discusses in a short documentary for Amazon Music, released this week.
In a clip from the documentary posted to IGTV, Residente hashes out the details of “René” and his plans for what’s next. “My record is mostly what I have inside my head,” he explains, before branching out into his future goals.
“What comes next for me is that I want to make movies. It’s what I studied, and ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to make movies. I’m going to go on the musical journey and I’m going to be making movies. That’s what I want to do,” Residente shared.
He also honored other Puerto Rican urbano notables, from the likes of Tego Calderón to Vico C. “Tego Calderón motivated me to write… I started writing rap,” he said.
But it was his time in art school, as mentioned, that really changed his perspective on his work. “What I learned in art school is that everything that affects me has to be a reflection of all that. What I do as an artist and what I do as a humanitarian at the level of the people is me as René.”
Whether as René or Residente, we’re happy to see the legendary artist stepping into his truth.