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Peso Pluma

In under a year, Peso Pluma has become the world’s biggest música Mexicana artist: the superstar born Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija has pushed corridos, or the folk songs of his native Mexico, into the mainstream, and now leads the trap-infused wave of corridos tumbados. His stunning success on the charts and in the culture has, however, also drawn fierce criticism: the 25-year-old singer has, become a lightning rod for controversy around corridos’ historical connection to narco culture.

Though Peso has not been easily drawn on the topic in the press (he has received cartel threats), he did use his landmark performance at Coachella in April to acknowledge the complicated artistic legacy of corridos and make a statement: news reports and press clippings that flashed on a screen behind him drew a connection between the history of corridos, that has veered into drugs and gun violence, with that of the ’90s gangsta rap movement.

And now, Peso Pluma unveils ‘Éxodo’ (‘exodus’), his fourth album and the ambitious follow-up to 2023’s name-making, Grammy-winning ‘Génesis’. Peso opens up about his newfound fame while showing another side to his artistry, exploring genres like hip-hop and reggaeton. But he certainly doesn’t turn his back on the sound that made him. The corridos that dominate the first part of this record are more fiery, fearless and bélico (Mexican slang for ‘badass’) than before.

In ‘Hollywood’, a swaggering collab with Esteban Plazola, Peso Pluma glorifies the grind to stay on the top. “I live very fast, the life of an artist / Drugs and women / Another one for the list,” he sings in Spanish. Peso reunites with Eslabon Armado – the Mexican American group with which he scored a global hit in ‘Ella Baila Sola’ last year – and Junior H for the brassy ‘La Durango’, where they sing about partying with women, bottles of Don Julio and rosa pastel (slang for ‘pink cocaine’).

There are love songs, too, shrouded in dreamy soundscapes. He convincingly slides into sierreño mode with the genre’s resident sad boy Ivan Cornejo in the haunting ‘Reloj’, where he appears to touch on his breakup with Argentine singer Nicki Nicole: “That you loved me / I swallowed that story / There are no more reasons to cry for you.”

On the second part of ‘Éxodo’, Peso brings corridos’ connection to hip-hop full circle. On knockout Cardi B collaboration ‘Put Em in the Fridge’, horns and the requinto guitar colourfully collide with bass-heavy trap beats, the duo unloading lethal rhymes on their haters. The crossover isn’t so seamless in ‘Gimme a Second’ with Rich the Kid, though: Peso doesn’t quite find his footing on a fully trap song.

Later, he gets into the reggaeton groove while flexing a sexier side to his raspy voice, turning up the heat with Brazilian pop star Anitta in the alluring ‘Bellakeo’, their ode to perreando, or grinding, on the dance floor. Peso even evokes an infamous sex tape with the sultry reggaeton romp ‘Tommy & Pamela’ featuring Mexican pop princess-gone-bad Kenia Os.

With ‘Éxodo’, Peso Pluma continues to proudly flesh out his vision of música Mexicana, furthering his corridos crossover agenda while proving he’s become a global pop star. The major swings he takes not only pay off, they highlight his uncompromising spirit.

Details

Peso Pluma Exodo album art

  • Release date: June 20, 2024
  • Record label: Double P Records

The post Peso Pluma – ‘Éxodo’ review: the Mexican superstar furthers his corridos crossover agenda – and tests his musical range appeared first on NME.

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