A musical derivation of the traditional polka-and waltz-like corrido, the narcocorrido is often dismissed and simplistically read as an archaic and ultraviolent form of the “classic” Mexican ballad, updated only in its replacement of revolutionary heroes with the glorified exploits of contemporary cross-border drug traffickers. While increased attention has been given to the genre from both scholarly and popular authors in the past decade, most notably Mark Cameron Edberg, Hermann Herlinghaus, Sam Quiñones, Stephen Tatum, and Elijah Wald, this essay will reveal how this iteration of the contemporary corrido not only operates as a narrative form of geopolitical intervention, reflection, and critique, but one that serves to illuminate the tragically perverse, historical paradoxes that have produced this musical form within the context of both the referential past and the present of its making. Specifically using Jean Baudrillard’s notion of simulations and simulacra as a framework, this essay seeks to deconstruct the narco performance, revealing how any grounding in a rational reality has long since been replaced by a world of spectacle and empty signifiers.


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pp. 56-69
Launched on MUSE
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