Don’t mess with cartels. While the American experience of cartels may be confined to shows like Narcos, for many people living in Mexico and Central America, dealing with these cartels is an everyday reality. Getting on their bad side, as you might imagine, usually doesn’t end well.
This is a lesson currently being learned by musician Peso Pluma, who recently had to cancel a show in Tijuana after allegedly receiving a death threat from the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel.
@vice he’s now postponed a handful of US concerts #pesopluma #cartel #mexico #corridostumbados ♬ original sound - VICE
So why is this all happening? According to Billboard, Pluma sings songs in a genre called “Corridos Tumbados” — which is, in their description, “a subgenre of traditional Mexican corridos that fuses rap, hip-hop and even reggaetón, and that often openly address the issue of weapons and drugs.”
Sometimes, the lyrical content of this music features stories of drug traffickers. When it does so, the style is dubbed “narcocorridos,” attracting heavy scrutiny from people and governments alike. “Performances of narcocorridos — corridos that narrate the lives and exploits of real or fictional drug traffickers — have been banned in several Mexican states for decades, and now, those bans have been extended against corridos tumbados in some places,” Billboard explains.
As for why Pluma’s life is in danger, he headlined a festival in Mexico City where he led a massive audience into a sing-along of his song “Siempre Pendientes.” The song, which is sung from the perspective of a Sinaloa cartel member, features a line about protecting El Chapo — something that rival cartels appeared not to like.
In response to this, the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel told Pluma to cancel his show in Tijuana, hanging banners that read, “It will be your last performance because of your disrespectful loose tongue.” Understandably, Pluma canceled the shows, and local authorities have started to investigate the threats.
On the bright side, his songs are currently climbing the charts. As they say, all press is good press — until you get shot in the head by a cartel leader.