Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

Residente, the talented Puerto Rican rapper, is back in the ring after 18 months of silence – and he’s not mincing words.

His new single, “This is not America,” launches a solid criticism of the United States for monopolizing the word “America.”

For years, Latinos have felt that the linguistic appropriationism of the United States has left us orphans of the continent, at least in English, and this is precisely what Residente says to the giant of the north in his new single.

One need only realize that los estadounidenses call themselves “Americans,” for their nation, in its microcosm, is America itself and nothing more. 

Puerto Rican artist and Grammy winner, whose real name is René Perez, lives up to his reputation throughout his career for being brutally honest in his lyrics and shedding light on controversial and political topics — and so he did again in this collaboration with Afro-French Cuban duo Ibeyi.

Residente portrays in “This Is Not America” his point of view on the controversy of using the word “America” to refer only to the United States and not to a continent made up of 35 countries, most of which are Spanish-Speaking. 

Accompanying these crude lyrics comes a music video that dramatizes important moments full of violence and tension that represent the social reality in Latin America. The video recreates events that changed history, such as the assassination of Chilean folk singer Víctor Jara under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973.

In an interview with BBC News, Residente talked about how the United States uses the word “America” to refer to one country while ignoring all the events in other countries, which are also American. However, Residente decides to go a step further and recreate all these violent events, which according to the artist, have been the product in one way or another of U.S. interventionism and aid to cruel regimes.

Protests throughout Latin America, an indigenous man instead of the Statue of Liberty, and a Mayan pyramid in the middle of a big city are just some of the symbols that Residente shows in this video.

The song comes four years after U.S. rapper Childish Gambino released his song ‘This Is America,’ in which he portrays the police brutality and racism in the country. In his conversation with the BBC, Residente said he is a great admirer of Gambino, and that his song is not a diss to the former’s hit; he just sees it as a continuation of what was not shown about the rest of America.

The video has over 15 million plays on Youtube and is the first single in almost two years since ‘René,’ which was released at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.