From the moment I walked into the Faena Forum’s Lounge area during Billboard Latin Music Week, I knew there would be a major shift of topic for the week. In the past, the lounge was filled with the sounds of Anuel AA, Bad Bunny, and Rauw Alejandro.
Now, I walk in and hear Natanael Cano’s 2019 underground hit, “Amor Tumbado,” a song that once radiated through high school hallways and pick-up trucks back in Texas now playing on Miami airwaves.
This genre of Mexican music, called corridos tumbados — fuses regional Mexico’s corrido genre with hip-hop and trap. Created around 2017, pioneers like Cano, Junior H and Fuerza Regida dropped many of their early hits on streaming platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud.
After a slow climb, the genre went mainstream with Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma’s “Ella Baila Sola,” which hit number one on the Billboard’s Hot Latin chart and number five on the US Hot 100.
Fast forward to the present where current hitmakers like Karol G, El Alfa and Jhayco all have hit collaborations with Pluma. Other notable collaborations include “De Lunes a Lunes” by Manuel Turizo and Grupo Frontera as well as the latest hit “El Jefe” by Colombian superstar Sharkira and Fuerza Regida.
Regional Mexican music has started a new flow and everyone wants to get in on it.
Fuerza Regida’s frontman Jesús Ortiz Paz participated in the “Rise of Mexican Touring” panel and gave insight on how to market and produce a successful tour. He reminisced on his humble beginnings throwing flyer parties throughout the Los Angeles area to now selling out venues like L.A.’s BMO Stadium.
Hans Schfer, Senior VP of Global Touring for Live Nation, and Jorge Garcia, Global Tour Promoter for Live Nation, both praised Perez’s unique approach to marketing. The group recalled a story in which Perez apparently stopped a traffic on a highway and performed to promote a concert he wanted to sell out.
Luminate also held a panel establishing the statistics of Latin music in the past few years with a slide dedicated to the rise of Mexican music. The presentation established that while rhythm and pop music has been steadily rising, regional Mexican music is exploding in popularity.
In 2023, there was a 56 percent increase in regional Mexican on-demand streaming, totaling 14.3 billion streams as of Aug. 24. In other words, regional Mexican music is taking a bigger share of the Latin music market than ever before.
The most anticipated panel of the day was easily, “The New Mexican Revolution,” with Adelaido “Payo” Solis and Juan Javier Cantu of Grupo Frontera, Yng Lvcas and Peso Pluma.
Led in by VP of Latin and Creative at BMI and moderator of the panel, Jesus Gonzalez, to the tune of “El Rey” by Vicente Fernandez, the crowd immediately went into a frenzy. The sight of all these Mexican artists at a panel in Miami seemed almost mythical, but it truly happened.
Pluma shared his feelings on what it’s like to be part of the growing popularity of Mexican music.
“We’re now taking this music global, which we were able to do because of unity, [and it] has others looking at us now. What we’re doing now will be in the history books of Latin music,” Pluma said.
When asked about the importance of collaborating with other Mexican artists, Yng Lvcas commented, “We are Mexicans, unity is strength.”
Halfway through the panel, the moderator let attendees know that Pluma had actually broken Bad Bunny’s record of having the most songs simultaneously on the Hot Latin Songs Chart with 25 songs. An astonishing accomplishment from the “Rookie of the Year,” Pluma has certainly established himself as one of modern music’s newest superstars.
“We’re the product of Chalino and Selena [Quintanilla], right. Tupac and Chalino [Sanchez] and this next generation has taken it even further, right,” Gonzalez, the moderator, said. “As we celebrate 50 years of hip-hop, I dare say you look out here [and] you wouldn’t know if this was an urban panel, Mexican panel — and I think that shows the influence of urban culture right throughout música mexicana.”
“The Rise of Mexican Touring” panel, which featured Fuerza Regida frontman Jesús Ortiz Paz, also touched on the evolution of Mexican music. Interviewed by legendary Reggaeton artist, Nicky Jam, the two talked about how Fuerza Regida’s popularity has affected the release of their new music.
“Back in the day, when we were doing music, if you had a million listeners on Spotify, you were doing it because no Mexican artist had that,” Paz said. “And now, you drop a song [and] boom — six million. That’s how you know how the audience got big, you get me?”
At his concert that evening, Pluma donned an unreleased Nike Nocta top and shorts along with Adidas Ozweego shoes and a fitted hat — an outfit he would say is inspired by Kanye West and A$AP Rocky. Held exclusively for Latin Music Week attendees, the room was packed and full with fans, some of whom waited for an hour and a half.
Peso came out with his band and immediately went into his song, “Rubicon.” The performance was electric. Peso’s signature spider graphics played on the screen as he broke into hits such as “PRC,” “AMG” and “Ella Baile Sola.” At one point, Pluma brought out a bottle of tequila for concert goers to drink and pass to one another.
Representing the legacy of Mexican music, legendary Mexican pop rock band RBD — who reunited this year after their 2009 split — also graced the Faena Forum with their presence.
RBD originally formed in 2004 with members, Christian Chavez, Dulce Maria, Christoper von Uckermann, Maite Perroni, Alfonso Herrera, and Anahi. Though the band split after five years of dominating charts and creating hits, their reunion tour this year has seen sold-out stadiums and arenas all over North and South America, showing that the fans have never left.
Their first-ever appearance at Latin Music Week, Maite Perroni, Christian Chavez and Christopher von Uckermann showed up to the “Reviving Rebelde” panel with the same energy they had pre-breakup. The room was filled with people screaming out, “I love you, Maite!” and “RBD por vida!”
When asked about their thoughts on newer fans finding RBD and older fans excited about their reunion, Perroni shared how their fan demographic transcends generations.
“We are no longer one generation. We are two — we are three generations. We are singing, we are dancing, we are singing to love, to life, and that is a beautiful movement full of strength, full of union, of understanding and equality,” Perroni said.
One of the most heartfelt moments of the panel came when Chavez discussed how fans embraced him after he came out as gay in 2009, the first high-profile Latin artist to publicly come out.
“I want to be me and I want to celebrate myself and all those people who, maybe, of my generation could not be them,” Chavez said. “I have realized that by going out and being me on stage, people have taken it in a wonderful way that makes me feel deeply happy.”
Those in the room shed some tears at the notion that Chavez was one of the first gay role models for Latino men looking to find themselves in a world full of toxic masculinity.
Following the panel, attendees rushed to the front of the stage, hoping to take a picture with one of the three RBD members or even get their iconic red tie signed.
After three days on South Beach interacting with future artists, producers, and managers, I left knowing that there was a new appreciation for Mexican music and culture. What was once known as either “uncool tio music” or “ corny pop rock” has now come to the forefront of the mainstream.
After watching Puerto Rican, Colombian and Dominican artists hold a strong grip on the Latin music charts for decades, there is finally change. That change lies just over the border y se escucha maravilloso. Arriba la bandera, viva México!