Junior H’s “Sad Boyz” saga continues. The corridos tumbados pioneer is reaping the success of his hard work as one of the most-streamed artists in the world. With his new album $ad Boyz 4 Life II, released on Friday (Oct. 6), Junior H is pushing his alternative sound to new places. In an interview with Remezcla, the Mexican superstar discussed the música mexicana explosion, Mexico’s crackdown on corridos, and his latest LP.
“I’m speechless because, right now, we’re breaking through,” Junior H tells Remezcla. “We’re reaching new levels. I don’t think we’ve seen música mexicana like this before. I’m happy to be experiencing this day by day. I’m proud.”
Before amassing over 28 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Junior H worked hard with Natanael Cano and their label Rancho Humilde to get corridos tumbados taken seriously. Back in 2019, the emerging genre was looked down upon by artists doing more traditional regional Mexican music.
“Everyone thought it would be a wave that would come and go, but no,” Junior H recalls. “It’s impressive that we’re going on our fifth year. We keep working hard, and good things are coming every day. We keep growing each day.”
Artists like Junior H and his frequent collaborators Cano, Peso Pluma, and Gabito Ballesteros have made corridos tumbados go global this past year. What sets Junior H apart from his contemporaries is how he also embraced sierreño. In the first $ad Boyz 4 Life album, released in 2021, he brought an alternative edge to música mexicana. Thanks to his fans’ deep emotional connection to his music, he coined the phrase “Sad Boyz.”
“When I started to pay attention to people’s comments on social media, I began to understand that people were taking my music to heart,” he says. “I remember when I began recording the first [$ad Boyz] album, it was all about the feelings people in the comments said they felt from listening to my music.”
“Everyone thought [corridos tumbados] would be a wave that would come and go, but no… We keep working hard, and good things are coming every day.”
One artist who was a fan of Junior H’s “Sad Boyz” sound was Rauw Alejandro. The Puerto Rican superstar featured him on the perreo banger “Picardía” off his Playa Saturno album from July. For Junior H, it was a great opportunity to show there are no limits to his artistry.
“It was very cool that a year ago, I said I wanted to do a collaboration with Rauw, and now we’ve done it,” he shares. “For any artist who wants to work with someone like Rauw in the future, don’t lose hope. I know it’s very possible. I’m happy to see those artists working with people like us from this genre. It’s very beautiful. It gives me more energy to keep being versatile as an artist.”
With $ad Boyz 4 Life II, Junior H is blending elements of rock and pop into his emo música mexicana. Songs like the dreamy “Otro Amor” and the alluring “Miles De Rosas” show his sound in a new light. The singer’s best embodies the next era of “Sad Boyz” in the heartfelt “Y Lloro.” Among the 17 tracks, Junior H shines solo with no featured artists.
“It was more of an accident because all the guys were going to appear on it through features,” he recalls. “Everyone is working. We didn’t have time. For example, I remember that Gabito was in Brazil recording a music video and he couldn’t get to the studio. I talked with all of them and said, ‘It’s not a problem. If one of you can’t record your feature, then there will be no features.’ We took all of them off; I wanted to do the project by myself.”
While Junior H is helping take corridos to new heights, Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) criticized the genre, calling it a bad influence on young listeners. Officials in Cancun later banned concerts that could “promote violence” and lumped corridos into that category. However, Junior H doesn’t think those efforts will stop their movement.
“Before corridos tumbados and corridos verdes, there was a generation with corridos progresivos,” he says. “If you listen to those corridos, they’re more explicit than the ones out today. It’s very stupid and absurd to me that they want to do that when corridos are at their best moment. It’s going to be difficult to make people stop listening to it and for us to stop making music. I think it’s a waste of time.”
Listen to $ad Boyz 4 Life II below.