Narcocorridos are a money-making, award-winning genre of regional Mexican music. These songs, which glorify the lives of drug lords, have even found younger audiences thanks to narco raps. For Mexican rappers Cano and Blunt, these songs are a way to make money. “Shit, man, there isn’t any other way of earning a living here in Reynosa. Just try to find a job around here; you’ll see it’s better to sing than to work for the maquiladoras,” Blunt said to Vice.
But Mexicans aren’t the only ones inspired to make music about the drug cartels. Mainstream rappers have also had a long-standing fascination with the cartels, particularly with El Chapo, who is the subject of countless songs. Think of him as the new Scarface. “In the eighties it was Miami, the Cuban drug dealers, but now, it’s the Mexican drug traffickers…,” said Mexican-American rapper Drojo. Perhaps it’s the near-mythical status El Chapo has achieved after escaping from maximum security prisons twice, or the wealth he’s amassed. Whatever it is, though the language and genres have changed, El Chapo remains a popular topic.
Check out six of the countless rappers who have dedicated songs to El Chapo: