You know how one human year = seven dog years? It’s kind of the same with the internet. By now we’re all familiar with the hype cycle, but even so I still feel occasionally surprised at how quickly small subcultures can spread to other parts of the world, gain traction, and eventually get adopted into the mainstream (or disappear into the ether *cough Kreayshawn cough*).
In this case, the genre in question is tribal guarachero – a mix of tribal electro rhythms and cumbia native to Mexico. Back in 2010, we first perked our ears up to Erick Rincon and 3Ball MTY, one of the most noteworthy tribal groups coming out of the scene (a scene that in fact had already been blooming for a few years prior). Now, just three years later, they are Latin Grammy winners, went into last weekend’s Latin Billboard Awards with 8 nominations, and have been featured in a Pepsi spot. Meanwhile, the avalanche of tribal musicians continues.
And now, this. Internationally acclaimed house DJ David Guetta has dropped the video for ‘Play Hard’ feat. Ne-Yo & Akon – and it’s chock full of botas picudas, cholos, unibrow beauty queens (??), conspicuous Takis product placement, and the general chafo aesthetic associated with the tribal guarachero movement.
Aside from the fact that the video makes basically no sense, I’m not sure how to feel about it. When it comes to culture, there’s a fine line between engaging and exploiting. M.I.A.’s depiction of the Saudi drifters in “Bad Girls,” for instance, felt thoughtful and purposeful. This video did not. It just feels…well, kind of random. I do have to give props for the sneakers picudas though – first time I’ve seen that anywhere.
Check out the video below: