narcoscorridos by matt taylor

A Narcocorrido [nahr-koh-koh-ree-doh] is a type of Mexican music and song tradition which evolved out of the norteño folk corrido tradition. This type of music is heard on both sides of the US–Mexican border. It uses a danceable, accordion-based polka as a rhythmic base. The first corridos that focus on drug smugglers dated to the 1930s. Early corridos (non-narco) go back as far to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, telling the stories of revolutionary fighters. Music critics have compared narcocorrido music to gangster rap. Narcocorrido lyrics refer to particular events and include real dates and places. The lyrics tend to speak approvingly of illegal criminal activities such as murder, torture, racketeering, extortion, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and sometimes political protest due to government corruption.

Among the earliest exponents of narcocorrido music were Los Alegres de Teran, who recorded many. In the 1980s, Rosalino ‘Chalino’ Sánchez contributed to narcocorridos. Known throughout Mexico as ‘l Pelavacas’ (‘Cow Skin Peeler’), El Indio (The Indian, from his corrido ‘El Indio Sánchez’), and ‘Mi Compa’ (‘My Friend’), Sánchez was a Mexican immigrant living in Los Angeles. He then began distributing his music. His lyrics composed of heartbreak, revolution, and socioeconomic issues. Soon he was selling mass copies. Chalino Sánchez was murdered in 1992 after a concert in Culiacán. In death, he became a legend and one of the most influential musicians to emerge from California, he was known throughout Mexico and United States as El Rey del Corrido (‘The King of the Corrido’).


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