Narcocorridos: Ballads of the Anti-Hegemonic Cultural Movement in Mexico

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

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Faculty Mentor

J.P. Spicer-Escalante


A narcocorrido is a ballad dedicated to brave men and women that receive homage for their lives and experiences. However, narcocorridos also represent: corruption, ruthless murder, kidnappings and other crimes that are prevalent in the war for and against drug trafficking. This musical tradition has roots that come from Nortel music and the folkloric tradition of Corridos. Narcocorridos represent the narrative of real places, people and events. The widely popular musical trend is not just a blend of sounds, attitudes, and attractive imagery that celebrate delinquency related to drug trafficking, rather it represents a new counter-hegemonic cultural movement. The focus group of this study will be Los Cuates de Sinaloa, a contemporary group that performs many narcocorridos. Los Cuates de Sinaloa (Sinaloa Cartel) have caught notice from many English listeners as one of their songs Negro y Azulwas featured on the Emmy Award winning show Breaking Bad. While Negro y Azul has helped them to cross over into more of a contemporary realm of pop culture, they are in many ways modern day versions of the bards that sang praises to the nobles of Europe such as El Cid in Spain. They recount the stories of the drug lords and because of that their lives become ballads that immortalize them. The primary aspects that will be analyzed in order to understand the context of the narcocorrido songs of Los Cuates de Sinaloa (and the Sinaloa Cartel, whom they represent) will be the poetic lyrical content of their songs and the visual imagery in their music videos. These two aspects will explain the important context necessary to understand the drug ballads they sing as well as the drug kingpins they praise.

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