Long a force within hip-hop, Mexican artists have been dabbling in trap since the aughts, when Dyablo, C-4, Kartel de Las Calles, Big Los and El Pinche Brujo were among the performers experimenting with the genre’s beats. Later on, the streets-facing Mexican trap sound was fleshed out by Cartel de Santa with the Nuevo León group’s iconic 2013 hit “Me Alegro de Su Odio.”
By 2020, the scene has expanded to encompass a thousand trap realities, including the trapeton of Mexican genre innovator Hadrian and the ranch trap of Homegrown Entertainment’s La Plebada.
As the urbano and regional movements merge, keep your eyes on Mexico to find ways to further innovate where trap can take them. We’re here to help with that surveillance—here’s a list of trap’s Mexa shining stars.
The Mexico City emcee cut his teeth dominating freestyle battles, but has rarely shied away from experimenting with unexpected subgenres. These explorations led him to drop what many think of as the country’s first trap album, 2014’s Gran Maestre, in addition to early trap mexa hit “Chatarra de Oro” with Go, Adan Cruz and Kid Sun. It hasn’t all been good — Hadrian also went through a widely panned tribal phase. But such is life for an innovator. These days he’s exploring trapetón, by now a respected elder on the scene.
This Los Cabos emcee started rapping at the tender age of 14. Nowadays, Aleman counts as Homegrown Entertainment’s greatest breakout star and possibly, the biggest name in trap mexicano today. 2018’s Eclipse album, featuring longtime Aleman collaborator C. Tangana, is a legit genre classic. But Aleman earned his berth in the trap mexicano annals via he and Yoga Fire’s defiant ode to the country’s most infamous anti-hero of modern times, “Chapo Guzman.”
Santa Fe Klan
Guanajuato-raised Angel Quezada is from the Santa Fe neighborhood, and at a young age has become one of the most exciting trap talents in the country. He made a short film and tattooed the tracklist on his chest to celebrate 2019 album Bendecido, the LP’s name a nod to Quezada’s many blessings in arriving to fame by the age of 19. The star of his label Alzada Music, SFK makes hardscrabble odes to hood life, expressed via sounds that range from pitch-dark trap beats to R&B and corrido-inflected balladry.
One of the first Mexican artists to experiment with trap was Ecatepec’s Yoga Fire, who founded influential collectives Jedi Revolver and Never Die and was featured on the seminal Somos Lengua documentary. He’s now a core member of Homegrown, and during his time at the label has put out raw, unexpected releases that illustrate the copacetic relationship between Mexico and the world of trap. Yoga recently surprised fans yet again with a guitar-strung, anti-Valentine duet with musician Dromedarios Mágicos called “Fuck Luv.”
BabyBoss has come up quick churning out icy trap singles, which she initially released under the name of Amunet Mafia. Classic genre themes figure prominently in her work. Lean lovers, she’s got your number on 2018 track “Jarabe.” Last year, the makeup artist took the stage at Sonar México alongside Robot and ForyFive during the ambitious set of NAAFI’s Lao. Next up, Babyboss has collaborations dropping with producers BABYTHUG and Miguel Rivero.
F.k.a. Los Raprimal Boyz, this duo from Tláhuac has been grinding since 2012, but a recent name change and alliance with the NAAFI producers has cast them in a new light. Richi Boy and Khetzal could seemingly care less about the intense antipathies between subgenres that have marked the Mexican hip-hop scene, and move freely from boom bap to trap to reggaetón. They’re gathering momentum in 2020, powered by eminently 2020 party jams and modern love songs like “Nasty Barbie.”
She’s one of the premier vocalists of the Mexican trap scene, but don’t think Yoss Bones can’t rap. Early on a member of the Hood Money Click, she fatefully linked with Alzada Music at a meet and greet the label held in her hometown of Salamanca. Within a month, she had become the label’s only signed woman artist, and was laying down both smoky hooks and searing flows for the crew. Check the 2019 Alzada cypher to check her talent for melodic aggressions.
This Ensenada, Baja California-born trapero is a member of the West Gold crew, whose sound is often reminiscent of a Golden State reality from further north; 1990s Long Beach. Jarabe Kidd is currently working on a nine-track album for 2020 that will come out on the Nishi Thief label, featuring songs with Haxiro and Blss. Expect more of his blunted, bilingual anthems from the Baja streets.
Robot is one of the most radio friendly Mexican trap luminaries. The Mexicali emcee has been reliably delivering smooth, West Coast hip hop and R&B-influenced missives since 2016’s “Tú o Satanás.” One of his best known recent tracks is the pop-friendly “Love & Money” with Venezuelan emcee Akapellah, and he aims to continue that streak with pending 2020 single releases with André VII, Beatboy, Yoshi and Lao.
This elusive emcee comes out of the city of Los Reyes La Paz in Estado de México, but launched his professional career in Playa del Carmen. High Life Studios’ Soda Boy has stayed dedicated to the underground, granting few interviews. It doesn’t matter to his fans, who thrill to his street anthems and explicit hustler story arcs. Check “Campeón” to get into his pitch-perfect trap rasp—not to mention, a cameo by the emcee’s mom herself.
Rappers Cozy Cuz and Fntxy were at the core of Mexican trap culture on the Homegrown Mafia roster when they decided to experiment with integrating banda from their shared Sinaloan heritage. The result was their new duo, which is breaking ground in rancho-inspired trap. The project’s 2019 debut album Lo Más Solicitado is both 808s and twang, approaching the trap corrido movement popularized by SoCal’s Rancho Humilde and Del Records from an entirely new direction. La Plebada’s live show, featuring accordion and tuba players, is not to be missed.