A Narcocorrido (Spanish pronunciation: [narkoko?riðo], Drug Ballad) is a type of Mexican music and song tradition which evolved out of the norteño folk corrido tradition. This type of music is heard on both sides of the US–Mexican border. It uses a danceable, accordion-based polka as a rhythmic base. The first corridos that focus on drug smugglers—the narco comes from “narcotics”—have been dated to the 1930s. Some say that early corridos go back as far to The Mexican Revolution of 1910. Other music critics have compared narcocorrido music to Gangster Rap.
Narcocorrido lyrics refer to particular events and include real dates and places. The lyrics tend to speak approvingly of illegal criminal activities such as murder, racketeering, extortion, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and sometimes political protest due to government corruption.
NPR story on the Ballads of the Mexican Cartels.
I don’t think people on the east coast have any idea how epic and out of control this has gotten, both in Mexico and the United States. The LA Times has done an amazing and ongoing job of covering it.
There is a student journalist in Mexico blogging about the cartel wars at El Blog del Narco. Not only does it cover the war, but the cartels are often the ones providing him with the graphic content.
Things such as:
- A video of a man being decapitated. Media only reported police finding a beheaded body, but the video shows the man confessing to working for drug lord Edgar ‘La Barbie’ Valdez Villareal, who is involved in a war with rival cartels Beltran Leyva and Sinaloa.
- The prison warden case, which was revealed in a video of masked members of the Zetas drug gang interrogating a police officer, who reveals that inmates allied with the Sinaloa cartel are given guns and cars and sent off to commit murders. At the end of the video the officer is shot dead.
- Links to Facebook pages of alleged traffickers and their children, weapons, cars and lavish parties.
As opposed to being exploitative, the blog gives an actual, unedited perspective about what is taking place. It is phenomenal and scary.
And as deadly as this has all become, it makes the narcocorrido songs even more surreal and insane.