||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2012)|
|Cultural origins||Early 20th century Mexico|
|Derivative forms||Pasito Duranguense
Rock & roll
|Mexico (with origins in the states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Durango, Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacán)
United States (notably in the states of California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada)
Central America (notably in Honduras and Guatemala)
South America (notably in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia)
A narcocorrido (Spanish pronunciation: [narkokoˈriðo], 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 by Juan Ramírez-Pimienta to the 1930s. Early corridos (non-narco) go back as far to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, telling the stories of revolutionary fighters. Music critics have also 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, torture, racketeering, extortion, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and sometimes political protest due to government corruption.
Among the earliest exponents of narcocorrido music were Los Alegres de Teran, who recorded many. In the 1980s, Rosalino "Chalino" Sánchez contributed to narcocorridos. Known throughout Mexico as "El Pelavacas" (Cow Skin Peeler), El Indio (The Indian, from his corrido "El Indio Sánchez"), and "Mi Compa" (My Friend), Sánchez was a Mexican immigrant living in Los Angeles. He then began distributing his music for a sale price. His lyrics composed of heartbreak, revolution, and socioeconomic issues. Soon he was selling mass copies. Chalino Sánchez was murdered in 1992 after a concert in Culiacán. In death, he became a legend and one of the most influential musicians to emerge from California, he was known throughout Mexico and United States as El Rey del Corrido (The King of the Corrido).
From the 1990s through 2000s, the number of bands that played narcocorridos increased dramatically. Among the most popular groups that performed such songs were El Cuquio AKA Frankie Franco de Cuquio Jalisco Mexico, El As de la Sierra, El Original de la Sierra, Los Huracanes del Norte, Los Alegres del Barranco, Los Morros del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Los Inquietos del Norte, Los Amos de Nuevo León, Los Cuates de Sinaloa, El Potro de Sinaloa, Los Originales de San Juan, Grupo Exterminador, El Tigrillo Palma, Beto Quintanilla, Los Canelos de Durango, Larry Hernandez, Roberto Tapia, El Halcon de la Sierra, El Compa Chuy, Los Titanes de Durango, El Komander, Los Dareyes de la Sierra, Los Razos de Reynaldo many corridos composed by Emilio Carrillo, Banda Nueva Clave de Oro, Colmillo Norteño, Fuerza Norteña, Revolucion Norteña, Explosion Norteña, El Gavilancillo, Jorge Gamboa, Arley Perez, La Nueva Rebellion, Los Incomparables de Tijuana, Los Nuevos Rebeldes, Grupo Cartel, Grupo Patron, Leo Yonis. For some of these groups, the narcocorrido was only one of many song styles utilized; others specialized in narcocorridos almost exclusively.
Various companies, governmental agencies, and individuals have sought to ban narcocorridos. These attempts include a voluntary radio station black-out in Baja California. Representative Casio Carlos Narváez explained that radio executives did not want to make "people who break the laws of our country into heroes and examples". Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox also proposed banning narcocorridos.
Violence in narcocorrido industry 
Between 2006 and 2008, over a dozen prominent Mexican musicians, many of them connected to the narcocorrido genre, were murdered. The violence came in the midst of the Mexican drug war. The most popular musicians killed were Valentín Elizalde, and Sergio Gómez, the lead singer of Chicago-based Duranguense band K-Paz de la Sierra. In December 2007, both men were nominated posthumously for Grammy Awards in the banda category. On June 26, 2010, Sergio Vega, known as El Shaka, was gunned down in Sinaloa state. He was shot dead only hours after he had denied reports of his own murder. Ramiro Caro, Gerardo Ortiz's Manager and cousin was also killed when Gerardo Ortiz's Chevy Suburban was attacked by men with AK-47's at an attempt to kill Gerardo Ortiz. Gerardo Ortiz escaped unhurt but unfortunately Ramiro Caro wasn't so lucky.
Other murdered music industry figures include Javier Morales Gómez a singer for Los Implacables del Norte, four members of Tecno Banda Fugaz, four members of Los Padrinos de la Sierra, Zayda Peña, singer for Zayda Y Los Culpables, trumpeter José Luis Aquino of Los Conde, record producer Marco Abdalá, manager Roberto del Fierro Lugo, Jorge Antonio Sepúlveda, Jesús Rey David Alfaro Pulido, Nicolás Villanueva of tropical group Brisas del Mar, and four members of Los Herederos de Sinaloa. Three members of Explosión Norteña were shot and wounded in Tijuana in August 2006. In October 2010 the singer Fabian Ortega Pinon (El Halcon de la Sierra) was executed along with two other victims in Guerrero, Chihuahua.
While few if any arrests have been made in these cases, experts and musicians themselves say that the murders can be explained by many Mexican musicians’ proximity to drug traffickers. Some speculate the killings could be related to romantic disputes and jealousy. Others cite cases in which a musician writes a song praising or criticizing a drug trafficker. Many assert that Valentín Elizalde's murder, for example, was related to a song of his, "A Mis Enemigos," which some interpreted as an attack on the Gulf Cartel following its appearance in a widespread YouTube video.
There has been debate over the motives behind the killings and over to whether the media has exaggerated the trend. Narcocorrido expert Elijah Wald has disputed the assumption that any of the murders were related or that musicians on the whole are targets for drug traffickers. But given the grisly nature of the murders, some of which were accompanied by torture and disfigurement, few doubt that drug cartel hitmen are to blame.
In the wake of the high-profile murders of Elizalde and Gómez, among others, some prominent corrido musicians postponed concert dates in certain parts of Mexico. Others have said they are afraid to sing narcocorridos in public for fear of offending the wrong person. Likewise, some vendors of narcocorrido CDs have reported low sales, citing fear among listeners of buying a CD featuring songs favoring one group of traffickers over another.
Narco anthems and their lyrical contents 
Since music plays an important role and major influence in the narco culture, the following "rolas" (songs) have been tagged as "anthems" for such nature and have been banned from airplay in Mexico and parts of the United States. However, the banning has failed in Mexico because the music is somewhat still displayed and available on the web for listening and downloading. Pirated (Bootleg) copies of this music are sold in the "tianguis" (outdoor markets) at affordable prices.
- Song listing of "narco anthems"
Like rap/hip hop and other genres, narcocorridos describe the lives of the poor, destitute and of those who seek power in a violent manner. Also like Hip-Hop and Rap music, narcocorridos are listened to by a large portion of Spanish speakers who greatly vary in age and is widely popular among people who are non-cartel or gang related. This is a genre that is becoming mainstream in many Spanish speaking countries in recent years, it is now entering countries like Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, countries of which at first had never heard of the genre in the past but are now playing the music on an everyday basis. Many of these described songs are based on real-life events as described at the beginning of the article. Also, some performers have composed songs either dedicated or tributing (besides drug cartel leaders) to some of the world's most controversial characters from Pancho Villa to communist revolutionary Che Guevara and even terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
- These are
- "En Preparacion" (In Preparation) (a song that refers to the life of violent cartel leader Manuel Torres known as "El Ondeado", brother of Javier Torres known as "El J.T.") by Gerardo Ortiz
- "El Señor de los Cielos" (The Lord of the Skies) by El As de la Sierra
- "A Mis Enemigos" (To All My Enemies) by Valentín Elizalde
- "El Coco" (The coke head) by El Halcon de la Sierra
- "Caballos de Pantanal" (refers to the "Boeing 727" aircraft) by Grupo Laberinto
- "Cuerno de Chivo" ("Goat's Horn", Spanish slang/term that refers to the AK-47 assault riffle.) by Los Huracanes del Norte
- "Mis Tres Animales" (My Three Animals) refers to the 3 main types of narcotics. by Los Tucanes de Tijuana
- "'El Macho Prieto (a supposed tribute to drug trafficker Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza) by Luis Salomon El Arremangado
- "Ajustes Inzunza" (Retaliations Inzunza) by Colmillo Norteño
- "La Vida Mafiosa" (The Mafia Life) by Los Canelos de Durango
- "El Chapo Guzmán" (a supposed tribute to drug lord Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán) by Los Tucanes de Tijuana
- "El Jefe de Jefes" (The Boss of Bosses) by Los Tigres del Norte
- "Chuy y Mauricio" (Chuy and Mauricio) by Los Canelos de Durango
- "Chingon de Chingones" (The Badass of Badasses) by Los Razos de Sacramento y Reynaldo
- "Los Duros de Colombia" (The Colombia Hardhitters) by Gerardo Ortiz
- "Carteles Unidos" (United Cartels) by El Movimiento Alterado
- "El Sr. Mayo Zambada" (Mr. Mayo Zambada) (a song dedicated to another one of Mexico's dangerous cartel leaders, Ismael "Mayo" Zambada) by Enigma Norteño.
The Following lyrical content was taken from a narcocorrido anthem; Here is a verse of the song "El Cabron" (2005) by Los Capos.
Original Spanish verse:
"Desde que yo era chiquillo tenia fintas de cabron; ya le pegaba al perico, y a la mota con más razón
Es que en mi México lindo Ahí cualquiera es cabron"
Exact English translation:
"Ever since I was a lad (child) I had the fame of a badass, already hittin the parrot (Cocaine) and blowing dope (Cannabis/Weed) with more reason
It's because in my beloved Mexico anyone there is a badass"
On TV and in other media 
In the third season of The Shield, the episode entitled "Safe", a narcocorrido is found. It was a song about an unrequited love, and the man killed her. However, several bodies are found, from meth lab exposure. Later evidence proves that she is alive and living with the boyfriend, so the narcocorrido turned out to be fake. The detectives use the corridos albums to close cases from stories that are true.
In the 2005 episode "Snakes", CSI: Crime Scene Investigation took on the subject of narcocorridos. In it, a freelance reporter who has gone undercover in the narcocorrido-producing subculture is killed over an article critical of the genre.
In the 7th episode of the 20th season of Law & Order, a narcocorrido is used as evidence in a murder.
In 2008, the Fox TV show America's Most Wanted had also mentioned the genre while depicting the case of a wanted criminal that is wanted for murder and trafficking. This wanted individual may be traveling back and forth between Mexico and the United States.
The 7th episode of the 2nd season of Breaking Bad opens by sampling Negro Y Azul, a narcocorrido by Los Cuates de Sinaloa, cowritten by Vince Gilligan, inspired by the events depicted in the series.
On the radio, airplay of narcocorridos has increased in recent years. Artists such as Larry Hernandez, El Compa Chuy, and El Potro de Sinaloa, and songs such as "El Katch", "El Piloto Canavis (The Cannabis Pilot)", and "El Señor de la Hummer (The Man with the Hummer)" have increased the genre's popularity. Listener requests have helped to overcome radio stations' reluctance.
- 2006 - Al Otro Lado (dir. Natalia Almada)
Academic articles and books 
|This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (April 2012)|
- Astorga, Luis: Mitología del traficante en México. México: UNAM / Plaza y Valdés, 1995.
- Astorga, Luis (2005). "Corridos de traficantes y censura". Región y Sociedad 17 (32): 145–65.
- Astorga, L. (1997). "Los corridos de traficantes de drogas en México y Colombia". Revista Mexicana de Sociolog 59 (4): 245–261. doi:10.2307/3541131. JSTOR 3541131.
- Cabañas, Miguel A (2008). "El narcocorrido global y las identidades transnacionales". Revista de Estudios Hispánicos (in Spanish) 42 (3): 519–42. ISSN 0034-818X.
- Cabañas, Miguel A. (2008). "Lo popular transnacional: el narcocorrido como género musical en los Estados Unidos, México y Colombia". In Moret, Zulema. Intersecciones: Abordajes de lo popular en América Latina. pp. 89–101. OCLC 468040146.
- Edberg, Mark Cameron (2004). El Narcotraficante: Narcocorridos & The Construction of a Cultural Persona on the U.S.-Mexican Border. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-70206-6.
- Flores y Escalante, Jesús (2003). "El narcocorrido: Tradición sin tiempo ni frontera". Somos (in Spanish) 13 (228): 72–9.
- Herrera-Sobek, María (1979). "The Theme of Smuggling in the Mexican Corrido". Revista Chicano Riqueña 7 (4): 4961.
- Nicolopulos, James (2006). "The Problematic Question of the Earliest Narcocorridista: Manuel C. Valdez or Juan Gaytán?". In de V. Renwick, Roger; Rieuwerts, Sigrid. Ballad Mediations: Folksongs Recovered, Represented and Reimagined. Traer: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Traer. pp. 51–7. ISBN 978-3-88476-819-8.
- Quinones, Sam (2001). True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx. Albuquerque: University of New México Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-2296-8.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos.Cantar a los narcos. voces y versos del narcocorrido. México: Editorial Planeta, 2011.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos (2011). "El narcocorrido religioso: usos y abusos de un género". Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 29: 184. doi:10.1353/sla.2011.0016.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos (2010). "Los corridos de Juan Meneses: dos antecedentes tempranos del narcocorrido en la frontera México-Estados Unidos". Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 35 (2): 89–113.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos. “Sicarias, buchonas y jefas: perfiles de la mujer en el narcocorrido.” The Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies. Volume 8 - 9 (2010-2011): 311-336.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos.“Doscientos años de corrido y algunos menos de narcocultura.” Conciencia mexicana: Bicentenario de la independencia y centenario de la Revolución. Rodrigo Pereyra Espinoza, ed. Edinburg: Céfiro Press, 2010.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos. "Del corrido de narcotráfico al narcocorrido: Orígenes y desarrollo del canto a los traficantes." Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. Special issue on border culture. XXIII (2004):21-41.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos. "Búsquenme en el Internet: Características del narcocorrido finisecular." Ciberletras # 11. Special issue "End of 20th Century Mexican Literature". (July, 2004)
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos. "El corrido de narcotráfico en los años ochenta y noventa: un juicio moral suspendido". The Bilingual Review/ La Revista Bilingüe. XXIII.2 (May–August 1998): 145-156.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos (2010). "En torno al primer narcocorrido: arqueología del cancionero de las drogas". A Contracorriente (in Spanish) 7 (3): 82–99.
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan. "Chicago lindo y querido si muero lejos de ti: el pasito duranguense, la onda grupera y las nuevas geografías de la identidad popular mexicana." Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos. (2010): 31-45.XXVI.1
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan. De El Periquillo al pericazo: Ensayos sobre literatura y cultura mexicana. Ciudad Juárez: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez Press 2006.
- Simonett, H. (2001). "Narcocorridos: An Emerging Micromusic of Nuevo L. A". Ethnomusicology (University of Illinois Press) 45 (2): 315–337. doi:10.2307/852677. JSTOR 852677.
- Wald, Elijah. Narcocorrido: Un viaje al mundo de la música de las drogas, armas, y guerrilleros. Nueva York: Rayo, 2001
- Wellinga, Klaas. "Cantando a los traficantes."Foro Hispánico: Revista Hispánica de los Países Bajos, 22 (2002): 137-54.
- Villalobos, J. P.; Ramírez-Pimienta, J. C. (2004). "Corridos and la Pura Verdad: Myths and Realities of the Mexican Ballad". South Central Review 21 (3): 129–149. doi:10.1353/scr.2004.0050. JSTOR 40039894.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (April 2012)|
- Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos (2004). "Del corrido de narcotráfico al narcocorrido: Orígenes y desarrollo del canto a los traficantes". Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (in Spanish) 23: 21–41.
- Hodgson, Martin (19 September 2004). "Death in the midday sun". Observer Music Monthly. Manchester Guardian. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- Musica Regional Mexicana para toda la Plebada! | Corridos | Musica Nortena | Musica de Banda | Musica Duranguense | Mexican Music[not in citation given]
- Quinones, Sam (2001). True Tales from Another Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-2296-8.[page needed]
- Wald, Elijah. "Corrido Censorship: A Brief History".[self-published source?]
- "Murdered Mexican trumpeter 3rd musician killed in a week". CBC News. 7 December 2007.
- Johnston, Lauren (June 28, 2010). "Famed Mexican singer Sergio Vega shot dead hours after denying reports he'd been murdered". Daily News.
- Mexico: Trouble in Culiacán, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
- Roig-Franzia, Manuel (26 December 2007). "The Savage Silencing of Mexico's Musicians". The Washington Post.
- Roig-Franzia, Manuel (9 April 2007). "Mexican Drug Cartels Leave a Bloody Trail on YouTube". The Washington Post.
- Gajewski, Josh (26 April 2009). "'Breaking Bad' crosses over into narcocorrido territory". Chicago Tribune.
- "Q&A - Los Cuates de Sinaloa (Narcocorrido Band)". AMCTV Breaking Bad blog.
- Leila Cobo, "Beyond Borders", Billboard, 10 October 2009, Vol. 121 Issue 40, p52.
Further reading 
- Etter, Gregg W. (2009). "Hip-Hop, Narcocorrido, and Neo-Nazi Hate Rock: A Comparison of Alienated Criminal Groups". Journal of the Institute of Justice & International Studies 9: 98–112.
- Dávila, César Burgos (2011). "Música y narcotráfico en México. Una aproximación a los narcocorridos desde la noción de mediador" [Music and drug trafficking in México. An approach to narcocorridos from the notion of mediator]. Athenea Digital (in Spanish) 11 (1): 97–110.
- García, Martín Meráz (2006). "'Narcoballads': The Psychology and Recruitment Process of the 'Narco'". Global Crime 7 (2): 200. doi:10.1080/17440570601014461.
- Campbell, Howard (2005). "Drug trafficking stories: Everyday forms of Narco-folklore on the U.S.–Mexico border". International Journal of Drug Policy 16 (5): 326. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2005.06.003.
- True Tales From Another Mexico: the Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx by journalist Sam Quinones, includes the story of narcocorrido legend Chalino Sánchez.
- Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas, a journalistic book about this style, including interviews with most of the foremost composers.
- Timeline of narcocorrido censorship attempts
- BBC article on Narcocorrido
- Compiled media reference file on Los Tucanes de Tijuana
- New Yorker article on the new narcocultura
- Mexico: Trouble in Culiacán, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
- Mexican singer El Shaka killed after denying his murder
- New York Times article on Colombian narcocorridos http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/world/americas/05colombia.html