In the book, “The Handbook of Texas” Dan Dickey writes that in the late 1940’s and 1950’s when “Tex-Mex” music became commercialized, so did the Music called “corridos”. Back then it became popular to hear songs about drug smuggling and violence. Music from the genre corridos which was about drugs and drug smuggling was called narcocorrido, which some would say is “Mexico’s style of gangsta rap”. An excellent example of narcocorrido would be “El Avión de la Muerte” (The Plane of Death) performed by Los Tigres del Norte, which is arguably one of the most popular corridos bands in history. Los Tigres del Norte have written and performed many songs throughout their career. This famous Mexican band started in 1968 and was made up of three brothers (Jorge, Raúl and Hernán Hernández) and their cousin (Oscar Lara). They started to play their grandparents’ instruments in bars, and like thousands of immigrants they crossed the border to make it in America. Their first hit came in 1970 and was a song about two rival drug dealers. However, in 1972, their song “Contrabando y Traición” (“Contraband and Betrayal”) became a topic of controversy. Not only was it about drug smuggling but how a woman killed a man before he could abandon her. Why would the act of murder committed by a woman spark such controversy? Bataille’s tells us that, “Such a divinely violent manifestation of violence elevates the victim above the humdrum world where men live out their calculated lives. To the primitive consciousness, death can only be the result of an offence, a failure to obey” (Bataille, 82). Even before Los Tigres del Norte, there was Rosalino “Chalino” Sánchez, a renegade artist from Sinaloa, a state in the north of Mexico that is well known for its abundant marijuana fields. Hodgson writes, “When he was 15, Sánchez shot and killed a man who had raped his sister, and fled to California, where for a while he worked as a 'coyote', smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs across the border....
Cited: Becker, Ernest. The Denial of Death. New York: Free Press/Simon Schuster, 1973.
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books,1994.
Dickey Dan W. “Corridos.” The handbook of Texas Online 6June 2001. 6 May 2006.
Mendoza,Vicente T. Lírica Narrativa de Mexico: El Corrido. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Investigaciones Esteticas, 1964.
Mock, Melody. Jose Guadalupe Posada and Corridos of the Mexican Revolution.
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Stavans, Ilan. “Trafficking in Verse”.The Nation. 7January 2002. 6May 2006.
Quinones, Sam. “Corridos Prohibidos.” 4 November 1998. 6 May 2006
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