‘Not in Your Territory’: Narcocorrido Band Kicked Out of Tijuana by Cartel
Being a narcocorrido singer is no easy feat. Just ask Grupo Arriesgado.
The famous Mexican group was threatened by the Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación (CJNG) days before their concert in Tijuana, scheduled for February 11. Amid gunfire and banners (also called narcomantas), the message was clear.
“You’re not in your territory here. You have hours to leave Tijuana, or else,” read one of the messages addressed directly to Panther Bélico, lead singer of Grupo Arriesgado.
According to Vice, the message was left the night before the event, hanging from an overpass at one of the city’s main intersections. That same day, unknown gunmen fired several shots in a crowded shopping mall during an autograph signing by the group. The gunfire caused panic among the attendees and forced the group to immediately leave the premises.
When verses unleash violence
The narcocorrido musical subgenre is a variation of the corrido in the era of organized crime. Its lyrics often speak of loyalty, love, money, drugs, and violence. Likewise, its original intent as a “musical newspaper” has now morphed into a narcococultural hit-and-run.
In fact, several performers of the genre have been killed by drug cartels, including Valentín Elizalde and Chalino Sánchez, and today narcocorrido is considered the soundtrack to Mexico’s drug war.
The CJNG’s threat to Grupo Arriesgado is just the latest scene in a tragedy of many acts.
Grupo Arriesgado has carved a niche for itself in Mexico’s narcocorrido scene, even being mentioned by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a speech. However, their fame goes beyond music, and they have been accused of links to the Sinaloa Cartel.
Following the incarceration of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the CJNG has stepped up its efforts to control territory in Tijuana, a border city and major drug trafficking route. As Grupo Arriesgado is a collective associated with Sinaloa, the threat was to be expected.
For these reasons, the Baja California government canceled the concert on February 11.
“I want to apologize to all the people of Tijuana. If this was up to me, I would be singing here tonight. But we’ll be back,” said the band’s vocalist when announcing the cancellation on social media.