Guy Lochhead, 12/03/13
Modern Mexican folksong style that matches traditional instrumentation with lyrics celebrating the successes and crimes of drug cartels. Bands are often commissioned by these cartels to write songs about specific events and figures. Because of this crossover, the musicians’ own lives can become quite similar to the people they write about’s, with frequent conflicts and assassination attempts. The music is very popular in Mexico, despite it being banned on the radio in much of the country. This is fascinating and terrifying. Listening to this music messes with my prejudiced misunderstanding of bouncy, happy salsa and Mexican instrumentation. This is gangsta polka. The music videos have all the depressing tropes of gangsta rap, and the music is similarly symbolic of an oppressed youth. I can read also read this hugely successful but illegal side to the music industry as being a sort of natural conclusion of the mainstream capitalist industrial model of modern record companies. For this reason, I think information about this musical “movement” should be included – I will include ‘Narcocorrido’ by Elijah Wald – and, in much the same way as I do for gangsta rap, I will look for the true artists among the bandwagon-jumpers.

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