Ay Papi, que padre? 10 Songs for Pops

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I remember it used to strike me as odd that in Mexican slang they’d use the word “padre” as synonym of “cool,” because in my rebellious eternally-adolescent worldview there was nothing more uncool than a dad. I’d tell my Mexican friends, “No, don’t say my song is padre! To me that means it’s conservative, boring, lame… that’s like, to me, everything fathers represent.”

Of course, what fathers in general represented to me was very much an extrapolation of my experience with my own authoritarian father. And of course, that negative image of fatherhood I had started changing when cool friends of mine started to become papis themselves. Still, when my editora (who’s Mexican but, for the record, never said any of the work I submitted was “padre,” and never called me papi either) contacted me with the idea of doing a top ten for Fathers Day, and my obvious first reaction was: “but father-songs by definition suck!”

Then we started brainstorming and coming up with candidates to fill the list, and of course the whole first wave of songs we found sucked, but after a while we started digging out others, and we were like, “Hey, this one is not that bad.” So, to make a long story short, here it is, our ten songs about fathers that don’t suck too much.

by Timbiriche

Similar to Data, I had a similar complex to the whole, “Let’s do something awesome for Fathers Day” thing, cause it’s not like father day-themed songs that are great reign on us commonly. We especially had a hard time believing that these type of songs would be suitable for this site, and probably more for Latina Mag.

Kind of like this one. A submission that our Mexican graphic designer, Katro, suggested. A bunch of little kids that would grow up to be some of the most mainstream Latin artists of today. But hey, we’ll forgive them for this one cause any little boy and girl should be close to papá. I mean, that’d be nice and probably avoid the whole gang banging experience to a limit when they grow up. -IR

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by Fito Páez

A song about fatherhood from the perspective of the father, in this case Argentine rock legend Fito Páez, who in 2000 dedicated this song and the whole album of the same title to his newborn son Martín.

Over a funky beat, Fito talks about how the baby brought new light into his life, like a sun, which is cute, but then fills the other half of the song with a lot of la-la-lara-la-la and repeats the chorus a bit too much. A sign that he had lost the lyrical dexterity he exuded on his late ’80s/early ’90s phase or that he was simply too busy changing diapers to sit down and write good songs. -JD

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by Céu

We’ve confessed before that the lovely Brazilian singer Céu is like Remezcla‘s muse. It was an instant mega crush. Her vocals, and looks of course, will carry you to sweet bliss. I mean, how could they not?

“Papa” is off her 2009 sophomore album Vagarosa, and it’s a beautiful loungy, bossa nova tune that doesn’t really say anything else other than this one sentence: “Don’t take yourself too seriously, Papapapapa used to say to me.” I guess we won’t, just for you Céu. -IR

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by El Cuarteto de Nos

Feminists love complaining about the roles imposed to women by the worldwide conspiracy of the Patriarchal System. But what about the imposition of lame-ass roles this system has in store for men, specially when they become fathers?

“Daddy doesn’t wanna go to work,” says this song, “he’d rather stay home all day and be a mantenido.” But of course poor daddy, he has to fulfill the expectations imposed by a system that tells us that “work is health” and he answers back: “then send the sick to work!” -JD

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by Los Tigres del Norte

¡Malditos cabrones! Yeah, I’m pointing fingers at all you married cheaters. The balladeer kings of Mexico, Los Tigeres del Norte — one of the best contemporary narrators of all around happenings in Mexico — describe the experience of one little boy and his dying mother. A familiar theme in poverty, Latin America.

As the boy in “El niño y la boda” runs in desperate plea to help his sick mother, he soon finds his dad at a wedding chapel and discovers that he’s the groom. As the priest calls out for any one who objects, the boy cries out saying, “That’s my dad and my mom is dying at home,” the groom denies and asks for the boys discharge. Dang. What else can I say rather than what a fucking dick! -IR

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by Akil Ammar

Akil Ammar is one of the best MC’s in the current Mexican hip-hop scene and with his recently released new album, Post Data, he established himself as the one with the most international projection too.

This song was included in his previous opus, 2009’s Requiem, and it’s a sad homage to his father who died when he was young. A heart-felt ode masterfully crafted by an expert lyricist. Sure his father would be proud of his son’s work. -JD

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by Tiro de Gracia

Known for their outspoken, conscious rap ditties, Chilean hip-hip group Tiro de Gracia writes about one of the most awkward song from a father to a daughter. You know, it’s about those normal things that worry any jealous father when their adolescent daughter is becoming of age, and their breasts start developing nicely.

OK, no, it’s actually not about that. That seriously would’ve been hella awkward. But that was my first impression when I saw the video. It’s really about, yes, becoming of age and wanting to move past that masturbational stage and wanting to get some adult rated action. But then it ain’t all that “padre” when you become preggo as a teenager. -IR

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by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

At one point Los Fabulosos Cadillacs grew thick beards and round bellies, and all of a sudden, they didn’t wanna die playing ska anymore. What happened? They started having babies.

This video caused a lot of controversy in its time because of the abundant nudity, but those who saw something remotely offensive about it totally missed the point.

This is definitely one of LFC’s most beautiful songs ever and at the same time one of the best songs about fatherhood (from the father’s point of view) that was ever aired on Latin American MTV during its hey-day. -JD

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by Maldita Vecindad

This classic Mexican tune pretty much sums up what any rebellious kid went through growing up mom and pops. I can recall my personal experience when I shaved off and drew on my eyebrows, chola style, and how that would completely piss off my dad. Well down in Mexico City, Roco of Maldita Vecindad sings about such thing when he was a punk kid, and how that would displease pops.

So the band wrote this mambo punk ditty called none other than “Pachuco,” the song that put them on the forefront of Mexican rock. Such fashion of the pachuco derives from zoot suite culture, wearing high wasted, baggy trousers and fedora hats with a feather — a subculture from the ’30, like old school cholos more or less, with the whole street gang life, but y’all know that! The same way that Roco’s father ranted about how his own generation wouldn’t have allowed an outrageous sense of punk style, Roco reminds, “Hey pa’ fuiste pachuco!” -IR

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by Bang Data

“Many of my friends grew up without a father and there’re many rap songs dedicated to mothers and almost none dedicated to fathers because of that” told me Nicaraguan-American rapper Deuce Eclipse in a recent interview. “I was lucky to grow up close to my dad so I always wanted to do a song to honor him.”

That wish came a reality when he met Peruvian drummer/producer Juan M. Caipo in 2008 and together they started working on a new project that would eventually become Bang Data. “Mi Viejo” was one of the first tracks they ever put together, based on the 1969 classic of the same name by Argentine singer-songwriter Piero. It was originally released in Bang Data’s debut EP, Maldito Carnaval and recently again on their album La Sopa. Full video coming up soon. -JD

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Tell us which Father-themed song is your favorite, if or if not on this list.