Kendo Kaponi’s Solo Return After Incarceration Is a Prayer for Strength in the Covid Era

Lead Photo: Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist
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For Kendo Kaponi fans eager to see what the rapper’s first solo track of freedom sounds like, the wait is over. “Resistencia” is a seven-minute-long biographical missive, an emotive, primarily spoken word reflection on where Kendo has been and where he’s going. Death and betrayal, incarceration and loss of hope— his musings seems to take the rapper within a whisper of tears.

“Resistencia means being tolerant, and not just on a physical level, but emotionally, having the capacity to endure a period of time,” he tells Remezcla. “Life can bring you complicated situations and you have to show that you’re ready to triumph, that you’re deserving of success. I wanted to share with people that I’m also going through what they’re going through, to open up my heart.”

Lyrics travel the road that led the longtime urbano star past alliances with Don Omar and Cosculluela to his current alignment with Anuel AA, with whom Kendo has been making music since before his 2018 arrest, and for whom he continued to record while incarcerated, as in last year’s Farruko smash “Delinquente.” There’s something painfully earnest about coming back after three years of prison time with a lengthy yet minimalist musing. Adding to “Resistencia’s” biographic edge is the song’s first person press release, which expresses the hardships alluded to in its lyrics in literal detail. In the memo, Kendo describes his years in the state’s care after his mother’s addiction issues got the best of her, and of how as a teenager he found incarceration preferable to living on the street.

“Everything I talk about is true, these are things I feel in my heart,” he says. “This song about things that are happening right now on the planet.”

“Resistencia”’s climax is far from introspective or even strictly personal. The track’s narrative comes to a head with the current Covid crisis. Kendo laments the virus’ body count, calling up the existential questions with which many are currently grappling.

“I think music exists so that the gods can speak,” he says.

In our interview, Kendo calls prayer “man’s most powerful plan of attack.” Ultimately, the rapper drops to his knees in “Resistencia,” closing out the video with a quote from Isaiah 41:10 that calls up God’s strength even when He is unseen. Those looking for assurance that it’s darkest before the dawn could do worse than spending a long interlude with Kendo’s insistent return.