gucci el chapo

5) Omar Ruiz performs “El Americano” for George Jung

For an American to get his own narcocorrido is rare in itself. For George Jung, the infamous drug trafficker, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine him being worthy of one — after all, the man already had a movie made based on his life. He’s an individual that I’m sure has lived through some surreal moments. So I can only imagine what was going through his head when he ran into the young up-and-coming artist Omar Ruiz. (Although by the looks of it, it was most likely a planned meeting.)

The video shows an attentive if somewhat confused Jung trying to understand the corrido being sung to him about his own life… in Spanish, of course. At one point he lights a cigarette. Perhaps he was getting bored but I’d like to think he was just taking it all in. By the end of the song, it becomes apparent that Jung did indeed appreciate the song, describing it as beautiful.

4) Future’s music video features a classic corrido!

So there I am watching Future’s music video “Covered N Money.” I’m in trap beat heaven, and then, in the middle of the video, an interlude. Future walks into a convenience store and heads to the back room, when all of a sudden I hear a familiar song.

Hell yeah! It’s “El Mochomo,” sung by none other than corrido trap kings Los Canelos de Durango. This band has been at the forefront of some of the best known corridos. First I’m jamming to “Covered N Money” and now “El Mochomo” starts playing!? All I can say is well done to the director of the music video. Maybe he thought, ok, what is the Mexican equivalent of trap music? ahh! . . Narcocorridos!

3) Gucci Mane dedicates Song to El Chapo!

“El Chapo” is an ode to the infamous drug trafficker who has become this generation’s bigger than life outlaw. Named Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1 (a designation last used during the 1930s), El Chapo has recently gained celebrity status outside the world of narcocorridos. Which when you think about it…  Gucci Mane recording a record about one of the most successful traffickers in the world is not so far fetched, considering Gucci Mane’s problems with the law.

2) Los Razos Vs. Los Originales de San Juan

One can argue that there are many similarities between hip hop and corridos — especially narcocorridos and trap music or gangsta rap. Gun talk, violence, stash houses, hitmen, and fast money all have been mentioned in countless songs on both sides of the border and in both languages.

The one thing that norteño has never really been keen on is dissing fellow artists. That is, until the early 2000s, when somehow the rowdy Los Razos de Sacramento began feuding with Los Originales de San Juan. Each side recorded diss tracks and took shots at each other in the media.

It all culminated in a live battle — well, more like a singing battle. The two bands took the center stage and begin to descend into a crass and slightly awkward insult battle, with Los Originales at one point referring to Sacramento as “Monkey Face.” Later on Sacra states that Chuy Chaves, lead singer of Los Originales, has the face of a mummy.

Although it’s entertaining and some of the lines were clever, in the end it feels more like your uncles that have had too much to drink and by the end of the night, out of the corner of your eye you see one of them start to adjust his pants (sure sign that some shit is about to go down) and after some verbal sparring, some chingazos are about to be served. Basically you feel like saying, “You are both too old for this BS and quiet down! I have neighbors, cabrones!”

1) Los Cuates de Sinaloa On Conan O’ Brien Show

So I’m watching the Conan show one night back in 2013, and as usual I’m in the middle of editing some footage, once in a while I look up at the TV, when suddenly I hear some Spanish singing. I immediately think, “Who changed it to Univision?” but no, this isn’t Univision or even Telemundo, or the bastard child Mun2 (now known as NBC Universo) — this is actually Conan and he has Los Cuates de Sinaloa performing “Negro y Azul,” the corrido they wrote and performed for the season 2, episode 7 teaser from the critically acclaimed AMC mega hit Breaking Bad.

I thought, what the hell? Huh. . .these dudes actually are performing on an American show on a well known network. I was excited and thought their performance was great, and who knows, maybe the audience was feeling it or maybe they were thinking, “Hey, this mariachi sounds weird!” — but in any case, it was a great moment in norteño history.

Maybe it’s the large Mexican American population or the rising popularity of regional Mexican in the age of Spotify and Youtube that prompted the show’s producers to invite this awesome band. Who knows? But for me, I tried not to question it so much, I just sat back and enjoyed the music. Because after all, it’s not everyday you get to see some bonafide corrido stars on American television singing about Heisenberg and blue meth.