Narcoculture has become increasingly widespread and is just one of many facets in the mainstream media. This is especially evident when it comes to music by Mexican bandas (bands). Some of these bandas dedicate their time to playing and singing about the cartel and narcoculture, and they are even known as ‘Narcocorrido bandas.’ The narcocorrido musical genre encompasses organized crime, highlighting the life that it entails, specifically, and in relation to the drug war in Mexico. The lyrics often speak of loyalty, money, love, violence, and drugs.
However, being a narcocorrido singer comes with its risks. Recently, a famous Mexican group, Grupo Arriesgado, set to perform last month (on February 11) in Tijuana was threatened only days before their concert by the Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación. The cartel left a message the night before the event. One of the messages was addressed directly to Arturo González, the lead singer of the group:
“You’re not in your territory here. You have hours to leave Tijuana, or else. So, go grab your gun and your radio and go back to where you are allowed to sing your songs. Because if you stay here, you’re going to get fucked.”
This message was hanging from an overpass at one of the city’s main intersections. In addition, several shots were fired by unknown gunmen at a Tijuana mall during an autograph signing by the group. The gunfire caused panic among the attendees and forced the group to immediately leave the premises.
Why the threats and, consequently, the cancellation of their concert? On top of their fame as musicians, Grupo Arriesgado is associated with Sinaloa and has been accused of links to the Sinaloa Cartel. Following the incarceration of Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Jalisco Cartel has stepped up its efforts to control territory in Tijuana, which is a border city and major drug trafficking route. Naturally, with the group’s ties, this threat was to be expected and this news was unsurprising to many, considering the cartel’s immense hold and power over Mexican civilians and its government.