Mexico Proposes Jailing Musicians For Singing About Drugs


Graphic: Rock101
South Central has gangsta rap. Mexico has narcocorridos.

​Dudes, if you don’t like the song, maybe you should just change the station. A new proposal by Mexico’s ruling party could result in prison sentences for musicians who perform songs that “glorify drug trafficking.”

The proposed law would mean up to three years behind bars for those performing or producing songs or films that the government deems “glamorize criminals,” reports The Associated Press.
“Society sees drug ballads as nice, pleasant, inconsequential and harmless — but they are the opposite,” claimed Oscar Martin Arce, a National Action party Member of Parliament.
There are so many of the drug ballads, there’s even a name for the genre — narcocorridos. The songs often describe drug smuggling and related violence, and are increasingly popular among some norteño bands.

Photo: City Pages

​Gangs transmit the songs, along with threatening messages, into police radio scanners, according to the AP.
Now, maybe I’m missing something, but just because bad people listen to music doesn’t make music bad… does it?
“We cannot accept it as normal,” Martin, who is threatening to become a serious rival in obnoxiousness to some of his fellow blowhard politicians in the United States.
“We cannot exalt these people because they themselves are distributing these materials among youths to lead them into a lifestyle where the bad guy wins,” Martin said.
Hmm… and here I was thinking the “bad guys” were “winning” because drug prohibition is making them rich by keeping drug prices artificially high. And it was all the fault of these damn songs! Such an easy solution to the drug problem, eh?
Martin claimed that the intention of the proposed law was not to limit free expression — of course not, it never is! — but to stop such performances from “inciting crimes,” claiming one alleged murderer had told police he became involved in crime because he “liked narcocorridos.”
Well, shit. Charlie Manson liked the Beatles, but we didn’t outlaw the fucking Fab Four, you ignorant fascist.

Graphic: HarperCollins

​According to Elijah Wald, the author of Narcocorrido: A Journey Into the Music of Drugs, Guns and Guerillas, said politicians were attempting to censor artists instead of doing anything about Mexico’s real problems.
“It is very hard to stop drug trafficking,” Wald said. “It is very easy to get your name in the papers by attacking famous musicians.”
Hey, Mexico: Blaming the messenger isn’t particularly smart, isn’t particularly original, and you know what, amigos? It never solves the fucking problem.
The norteño band Los Tigres del Norte cancelled a scheduled appearance at an awards ceremony staged in a government-owned auditorium last October after event organizers reportedly asked them not to perform a drug ballad.
In December, Mexican Federalés arrested the Grammy Award-winning musician Ramón Ayala at a party put on by members of a drug cartel in a mansion outside the central mountain town of Tepoztlan.
Ayala’s lawyer said the accordionist and his band, Los Bravos del Norte, didn’t know the guys who hired them were suspected members of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.