Rock Chalk Professor Explains 'Narcocorridos' Amid Mexican Music Crackdown

Sadly, threats and violence are a familiar tune from drug dealers . . .

Narcocorridos are an evolution of Mexico’s typical corridos, tales of bandits and folk heroes, traitors and patriots, iconic revolutionaries and lowly recruits, told to the rhythm of accordions, brass instruments and guitar. In the ’70s, musicians who belonged to the genre began mythologizing the cartels that were quickly gaining influence across Mexico, said Rafael Acosta Morales, a professor of Latin American literature and culture at the University of Kansas.

The songs that emerged during the ensuing decades are thematically like Robin Hood meets “Breaking Bad,” with gritty and braggadocious lyrics that speak to life in rural, poverty-stricken areas where violence, crime and drugs are an everyday reality, Acosta said.

But in a country that has been deeply affected by the drug trade’s bloodshed, narcocorridos have struck a nerve — and become the subject of a divisive culture war, Acosta added.

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Tijuana bans cartel-praising ballads after threat to Peso Pluma

Narcocorridos, ballads that glorify drug kingpins, are at the center of a culture war in Mexico, a country deeply impacted by the drug trade's bloodshed.

On mute: Tijuana passes law banning ballads praising Mexican drug trade

Politicians have long sought to silence the genre, but previous clampdowns have only boosted its popularity

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