Photograph by Ron Morales
Who knew Snoop Dogg was a fan of Mexican ballads?
Ven aquí, ay, mami /Holla at me. So begins Snoop Dogg’s verse in “Qué Maldición,” a banda-rap meld that Banda MS and the Long Beach rapper dropped in May.
“Snoop Dogg loves corridos, güey, especially from Culichi (Culiacan),” commented Angel from Chula Vista.
A corrido is a Mexican ballad whose lyrics recount a historical event or courageous deed, often associated with drug smuggling.
“When I visited Mazatlán, they played that song a lot,” Angel recounted, “and 'MS' stands for Mazatlán, Sinaloa.”
“Snoop’s ‘Ay mami ven aqui’ sounds medio-corny, but I see he’s practicing his Español. ‘Sta chingon.” (It’s bad-ass).
The 49-year-old rapper turned actor demonstrated appreciation for the regional Mexican genre of music on Instagram. One post shows him groovin’ to “Juicio Final (El Regreso De La Última Sombra)” by Bukanas de Culiacan, then says: “That shit’s jamming like a mother f*cker.” In a video he posted in October of 2016, he’s depicted listening to “Tengo Que Colgar” (I Have to Hang Up) by Banda MS, and said: “Sad day for the Dodgers, I wanna dedicate this song to all of the Dodger fans in the house.”
“That took everyone by surprise,” Oswaldo Silvas from Bandas MS said in an interview with Grammy.com. “We laughed thinking it was a meme, but no, he confirmed with another video that he really liked Banda MS’s music. He’s also said in interviews many times that he likes regional Mexican music.”
“I’ve always been a fan of banda music, and the collab just felt right with Banda MS,” Snoop said in a Billboard interview.
“Que Maldición” is a fusion of polka-influenced instrumentals played by the dozen or so Banda MS members — including clarinetists, trumpet players, trombonists, a tuba player, a snare-drummer, and a Tambora drummer, mixed with G-funk bass drops overlaid with Snoop’s smooth-Spanglish raps and Spanish vocals from Alan Ramírez and-Oswaldo Silvas.
The 178-beats-per-minute rollo debuted at number four on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs list and played on our countywide hip-hop and Spanish music radio stations.
“I trip out when I hear Snoop’s Spanish flow on the car radio,” Ron Morales said, “then I realize my dial’s on the EXA 91.7 station when the Spanish advertisements cut in. I hear the song’s popular in Tijuana as well.”
Morales, the founder of now-defunct Real Legit Magazine, a print publication on the hip-hop industry, fashion, and celebrity events — photographed and interviewed the rapper at the Athletes vs. Cancer Celebrity Flag Football Game in 2013.
“Covering Snoop Dogg at charity events, private events, and concerts, I’ve noticed his public persona crosses markets and platforms with ease.”
On November 12, mainstream news reported 23-year-old pop-star Becky G. joined the banda-hip-hop collab to begin filming the “Qué Maldición” music video in Los Angeles. “And now they’re going to tap into the younger demographic when that video goes live, and the kids will probably make a Tik-Tok out of it.”
In my circle, Snoop’s name came up a few times last week. For Thanksgiving, my family uncorked a bottle of Snoop’s 19 Crimes Snoop Cali red blend wine, and during dinner, we spoke of his “Ain’t No Jive Herbed” turkey and gravy recipe, and him kickin’ it with Martha Stewart. A couple of days later, we were eating leftover turkey sandwiches while watching the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight and heared Snoop’s commentating at ringside. “You can dress it up any way you like,” Morales continued, “Snoop transcends any industry, and the viewers believe in him because he appears genuine, even in Spanglish.”