Photo: Nick Ut/AP
Grand Theft Auto 5 has been in the news recently, not because of its latest depictions of digital depravity (it’s 2013; hardly anybody is fazed by video game murder), but because it has made a billion dollars within three days, making it “the fastest selling entertainment product in history”.
I myself have a copy and the game is a blast. But we’re not in the business of reviewing video games, we’re in the business of documenting latin culture – which brings me to my point. Players of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) will be familiar with the fact that each year, the game includes a number of fictional radio stations that blare out of the games’ many stolen cars. Rockstar Games, the developers of GTA V, are known for pulling out the stops when it comes to crafting a music selection for their flagship product, and the stations of varying genres are always a fun, dead-on snapshot of the music and culture of GTA’s real world counterparts. In Vice City, for instance, the GTA series crafted a Spanish Language station focused heavily on Latin Jazz and oldies – since, of course, the game takes place in the 1980s.
The newest GTA has a contemporary setting, and the music on its Latin station reflects that. Titled East Los FM, an obvious nod to the real-life location of East L.A., the station includes a number of artists we feature regularly on Remezlca, like “Radio Capital” by La Vida Boheme, “Es-Toy” by Mexican Institute of Sound and “Pachuco” by Maldita Vecindad. Los Tigres Del Norte, Milkman and others round out the list.
Beyond that, the game saw fit to include Neon Indian in a separate radio station that caters to Indie music. In fact, according to his Twitter page, GTA V is the place he decided to release a new song. What better way to do so than to have it attached to one of biggest games of this year?
Be sure to scope Radio Mirror Park while mowing thru GTA 5. Got a new jam on it! #changeofcoast
— Neon Indian (@NeonIndian) September 17, 2013
This mainstream exposure could be a game changer for artists who are usually limited to a niche market. In fact, if YouTube pages are any indicator, many of these artists’ videos are starting to fill with comments that mention GTA V, like the top comments on La Vida Boheme’s video for “Radio Capital”:
Who would have thought violent video games would broaden musical horizons?