Residente Addresses Latin GRAMMYs Controversy Over Lack of Reggaeton Artist Nominations (Exclusive)

ET caught up with the rapper backstage at the 2019 Latin GRAMMY Awards.

For Residente, it's all about creating music that you love, regardless of awards and recognition. 

ET's Denny Directo caught up with the Calle 13 rapper backstage at the 2019 Latin GRAMMY Awards, where he expressed how thankful he was to take home a trophy that night, and addressed the controversy over lack of reggaeton artist nominations at the awards show. 

"I've never won a Billboard Award, so I'm not going to be posting a Billboard trophy with an X. I understand that there's space for everyone, and I think that some of them, they are making great music, some of them, they just have to make music because they love it, not thinking about the awards," he explained. "And I know they're going to say, 'For you it's easy, because you have one.' But for real, I always make music because I love it. I don't care if I win or lose. But I think it's not an Academy problem, it's something that as an artist, you have to solve inside. So, you have to make the music you like, and you don't have to care."

Following the Latin GRAMMY nominations announcement in September, J Balvin, along with other artists like Daddy Yankee, Natti Natasha, Anuel AA and more, took to social media to express their discontent over the lack of reggaeton and urban artists nominated in main categories like Album of the Year. The message shared across platforms read: "Sin reggaeton no hay Latin GRAMMY." It was accompanied with a photo of a gold GRAMMY award with a giant red X across it. 

The message, which translates to "without reggaeton there is no Latin GRAMMYs," went viral and led to a heated and passionate discussion on social media about representation and inclusion.

However, the show was filled with outstanding performances by all subgenres of urban music, including Rosalia and Ozuna. Residente also took the stage with Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny to sing their song, "Cántalo." The rapper admitted he was surprised to win the Latin GRAMMY for Best Short Form Video for "Banana Papaya."

"At first I came here just to hang out with my friends on stage, Bad Bunny, Ricky Martin, we did a song together," he told ET. "I just came for that, but I forgot that [I was nominated] for a video I directed with Kany Garcia, who is an amazing artist too, and she gave me the opportunity to direct the video, because I always direct my own videos, but with her, I said 'Yeah, I'm going to give it a try.' And she's amazing."

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for LARAS

As for his stellar performance with his fellow Puerto Rican pals, Residente said it was "incredible." "We had the opportunity to be part of a huge, massive protest in Puerto Rico, and we got together and we went there, and it was so beautiful to see people -- it was bad, what was happening -- but it was beautiful. The energy of the people trying to make it better. And we did it, and we have to keep fighting... Ricky, afterwards, he called me like, a few months later to tell me that he wanted to do a song. I said, 'OK.' I called Bad Bunny and I thought to myself, 'Wow, you should call Ruben Blades to make it like a classic salsa but also reggaeton beat, fusion and also have a Brazilian part.'"

ET also caught up with Bad Bunny on the red carpet, where he praised Residente and Martin, and expressed how honored he was to represent his genre. 

"I am thankful to be nominated. It's an honor for me to represent urban music, reggaeton, trap and hip-hop," he said. "If you've listened to my album, you know that there is everything. It's an album that I did with a lot of love. I tried to give the world a bit of creativity, lyrics. And for me, I will always represent music from Puerto Rico, reggaeton, Latin music."

Hear more of what he had to say in the video below.