( ) – Surely you have heard or read about Featherweight in recent weeks. It is undeniable that Mexican music, a genre that now includes corridos lying down, is occupying important places in the reproduction lists of different platforms.
On Spotify, for example, Featherweight appears in three of the top five most streamed songs globally for the week of June 8, 2023.
La Doble P also has two videos within the top 5 of video clips that are a trend in YouTube in the United States.
The Mexican’s songs, as well as the collaboration of Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny, are accumulating reproductions on these two platforms and their audios are viral on social networks such as TikTok.
Mexican music and generation Z
What has happened so that these artists are musically dominating worldwide? It all has to do with a specific generation, says AJ Ramos, manager of Relations with Latino Artists for the United States, as well as Latin America, for YouTube.
“This new generation, the Z generation, especially the ones that have the crossover [cultural] representing the 200%—100% American, 100% Mexican—are breaking up. It is being noticed more than ever in the charts. In the United States, the largest diaspora of our Latino community are Mexicans, and how nice to see everything that is happening right now,” Ramos told en Español.
Artists like DannyLux, Conexión Divina, Becky G, Fuerza Regida, Grupo Frontera, among others, are American, but with Mexican roots and a clear example of the phenomenon that Ramos describes.
Although Becky G had her beginnings in urban pop, at Coachella, the singer invited various artists representing Mexican music to the stage. She is also close to releasing a regional Mexican album.
The phenomenon is neither coincidence nor new, explains Ramos.
“Mexico has always been here. For an artist to become a global artist they have to stick in Mexico and the Mexican community has to love them. Now platforms like YouTube are coming, which gives the opportunity to connect music to new audiences, new communities and a global platform that continues to push music forward,” says AJ Ramos to en Español.
Hiphop culture as a reference
Perhaps the reference to hiphop within Mexican music may seem like an exaggeration, but there is an aspect of this American cultural movement that is being replicated by artists like Natanael Cano and Peso Pluma.
Although they interpret corridos and their music has Mexican rhythms and lyrics, the style of these singers differs a lot from what, for example, traditional regional Mexican artists wear: hats and boots cowboy.
The artists who are occupying the global arena sport diamond chains, as well as clothes and shoes from luxury brands. And this is an aesthetic similar to hiphop culture.
“They are authentic, they are. If they wear a hat that’s fine, but they have their Gucci, they have their Supreme. They put on their beanie, they put on their Yeezys, and they put on their Jordans. But the wordiness and the lyrics, in addition to the fusions and the musical elements that they are using, is connecting with this new generation that even includes the reggaeton artists. [queriendo] make music in the Mexican world”, explains Ramos.
And not only reggaeton artists like Bad Bunny fall under the spell of Mexican music. Snoop Dogg is one of the American artists, icons of the hiphop culture, who also approached the Mexican world. In 2020, he surprised by collaborating with Banda MS and Natanael Cano. He has also posted videos listening to the Diva of the Band, Jenni Rivera. This cultural rapprochement between hiphop and corridos seems to be paying off.
Félix García, Vice President of Marketing for Monitor Latino, a company that monitors radio stations in Latin America, agrees with Ramos’s theory that Featherweight’s fresh and somewhat urban image has brought him closer to young people from other parts of the world.
“Bring a looks much more pop and obviously lyrics that are much more compatible with generation Z”, says García.
Mexican music in Latin America and the world
Mexicans are the largest immigrant population among Latinos in the United States, according to 2020 census data, cited by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. That is why Mexican music has more room in the United States. In Latin America, the situation varies somewhat.
Although the phenomenon that Featherweight is spearheading is relatively new (its explosion has been documented in the last three months), the rise of Mexican music in South America can be measured in the last five years, says García.
Although rancheras have always had a regular audience in countries like Venezuela and Colombia, in the latter the appetite for Mexican music has grown in recent years, he explains.
“About five years ago is when Los Plebes del Rancho, Carín León and this type of artist began to sound a lot in Colombia, but it didn’t go beyond that,” García explains.
Featherweight, says García, achieved with his looks more pop to penetrate markets in which previously regional Mexican artists could not at least appear in the top positions of the charts.
“He managed to enter other parts of Latin America, such as Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, even Spain,” explains García.
The innovation of the Mexican regional
But not everything is the appearance, explains García. Like all genres, the Mexican regional has gone through a process in which innovation in sound was necessary.
“A lot was innovated in the way of singing, there is even a piece where you can hear rapping. Traditionally, regional Mexican music was not sung or composed as it is being composed today”, explains García.
One of the precursors, says García, of this entire movement is Natanael Cano, who is credited with being the father of the lying down corridos.
“Natanael was the one who opened this new wave, this new genre within the Mexican regional,” says García.
Precisely Natanael Cano told Zona Pop in 2022 that the birth of the corridos lying down was inevitable.
“I think it came from within, it was inevitable. I had to spend the corridos lying down. We did it from the heart, we did it organic, we did it in the neighborhood. People were able to capture it well, perhaps they forgot that essence because it has happened It’s been a long time,” Cano said.
For García, innovation within the genre will be the key for it to continue occupying spaces on global radio stations and platforms.
“I think that ultimately what happened with urban music for this to have a better future and be compatible, now that, with the whole world, including that it be more compatible with Latino cultures, I think it has to continue innovating. . The music of this genre that is going to hit the most, or that is going to break the most borders, is going to be the one with the most commercial lyrics”, adds García.