However, on Tuesday, Caballero said in a radio interview that artists like Peso Pluma had potentially invited the attention of the cartels with their lyrics. “Let’s be clear: They sing and make an apology of crime and thus they should know the risk and consequences,” Caballero told Azucena Uresti, the host of Radio Fórmula, in a phone interview.
She added that whether the authorities canceled the concert would be contingent on whether the narcomantas were the work of organized crime or ordinary citizens. Caballero, who is from the governing party Morena, moved into the military headquarters of the 28th Infantry Battalion after one of her bodyguards suffered an armed attack, and has said she is being targeted by organized crime for confiscating arms.
Other Mexican musicians have drawn attention to the risks of the genre as well. Natanael Cano, who is considered a pioneer of corridos tumbados, recently stopped mid-song during a concert in Sonora, remarking that he was “going to get killed.” The lyrics of the song, “Cuerno Azulado,” allude to drug deals and potential government involvement, including a line assumed to be a reference to Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug lord known as El Chapo.
Narcomantas have long been used by cartels and organized crime to leave public messages for authorities, rivals or the community at large. Popularized at the height of the drug war in the 2010s, the banners can be used to promote or assuage fear, although it is often unclear who is responsible for making them and how credible their messages are.
Peso Pluma had previously been expected to appear at a concert at the Chevron Stadium in Tijuana in March, alongside the artists Eden Muñoz, Roberto Tapia and El Fantasma. But in late February, Tapia Entertainment, which was organizing the show, said tickets would be reimbursed “due to insecurity and threats towards other events.”
Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, criticized some of the country’s current popular music in June, invoking Peso Pluma’s hit song “AMG,” about a Mercedes-Benz. “As if material things were the most important things — brand clothes, houses, jewelry, power or arrogance,” he said. “There are other options, there are other alternatives, it’s possible to be happy in another way.”