LOS ANGELES – Ruben Gonzalez can’t say exactly when the shift from the older country style of corridos music shifted to the emerging urban style.
But he knows that when people heard the unique Southern California style, it immediately struck a chord.
“When we recorded ‘Bien Lit’, that immediately hit the streets, and it drew attention to muchos grupos – ‘Oh my god! We have ideas like that, ”said Gonzalez, CEO of Los Angeles-based music label Wounded Enterprises.
Ideas that reflect the culture and lives of people in neighborhoods like Compton, Calif. – a cradle of West Coast hip-hop that’s home to artists like NWA and Kendrick Lamar, whose songs tell flawless tales of the fact. to grow up there. While traditional Mexican corridos have often focused on less rocky stories, corridor tumbados and hood corridos offer a different style of storytelling music to a new generation.
“We sing (about) the people of the neighborhood, who are from the neighborhood, who have killed, who are in prison,” said Gabriel Ornelas, singer of Los Asociados, a group that describes his style as “hood corridos”.
It’s a modern, urban take on a classic Mexican style of music that Ornelas says explains, but does not glorify, the reality of the life they live.
“In the streets they are bad you can say, but trying to help people like you say, ‘OK that’s what happened to me, but I’m telling my story so you know the problem and you don’t and, you know, look for another way, ”Ornelas said.
The corridos are narrative ballads that grew up in border regions and told everything from ordinary events to, more often, stories of political and cultural conflicts, acting as a kind of oral history. The fast-paced songs are often accompanied by guitars, but Celestino Fernandez, a retired sociology professor at the University of Arizona, said the corrido focused on the lyrics.
“That’s why many corridos start with ‘C’est le corrido de …’ for the listener to pay attention to,” Fernandez said. “A story is going to be presented, a document, then a documentary puts something that happened in reality, the truth or inspired by something that happened in reality.”
Traditional corridos are sung in the third person, but the newer style of corridos tell their stories in the first person, according to Fernandez.
“This type of corrido was born in the city, not in the provinces, not in the countryside, right? he said. “It’s an urban corrido, that’s what they know.
Gonzalez said he started thinking in 2017 of changing the typical outfit – traditional leather boots, country-style suits and hat – of the Norteno group he managed for more modern clothes, like jeans, t-shirts. shirts, hats and shoes. But the group resisted the movement.
He discovered Los Asociados when he heard their corridor version of Oakland rapper Too Short’s hip-hop song “I’m a Player”. He was amazed at the result of the song and immediately wanted to deal with them.
“They’re from Compton and I’m from Compton and we’ve got the gangster mentality and we’re just writing gangster music,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez thinks Arsenal Efectivo, a band from Southern California, opened the door to tumbado corridos, and he pitched in Los Asociados: “Let’s not sing about the people in Mexico or the drug lords. . Let’s stop singing about them… Let’s sing about the people here.
He invited the band to come to the studio and Los Asociados loved the idea. Los Asociados have been influenced by the new wave of trap corridos from groups like Arsenal Efectivo, but they are forging their own style, which they call ‘hood corridos’.
“We released this rhythm that is going strong and people liked this movement more,” said Felipe Peñalosa, one of the members of Los Asociados.
Peñalosa said the movement is changing and people love the new generation of artists and the tumbadon rhythm they’ve created going strong on the US side of the border.
“They aren’t millionaires like Chapo,” Gonzalez said, referring to Mexican drug lord El Chapo, “but we have stories to tell, you know what I’m saying?”
Gonzalez believes the music will be around for a while, but that change is already coming. He notes that reggaeton, influenced by the Caribbean, Latin music, reggae and other genres, has started to leave Puerto Rico to collaborate with regional Mexican artists. Colombian singer Karol G released in May “200 Copas”, which combines reggaeton and corrido tumbado, with a requinto guitar.
“So I think the corridos tumbados are already moving to their next stage and will be doing a lot more movement,” he said.