Chapter 6: Los Coyotes – I Must go North

Reggaeton is a fascinating genre. Sure a lot if it is mindless pelvic grinding to the same repetitive beat from the mid 90s, and singing about petroleum products, but it is unique in that it is one of the few truly regional styles to evolve out of something from a completely different musical culture. In this case, a track with a distinctive beat created by Mr. Lovaman (SHABBA!) Ranks himself sunny Jamaica, somehow ended up in sunny…Puerto Rico and became the foundation of every Reggaeton tune. Fascinating. As is the entire subculture that grew out of it. There’s a lot of great energy in these songs. Even that one about Gasoline.

Dem Bow by Shabba Ranks. Every. Reggaeton. Song. Ever. Except mine.

My Los Coyotes tries to do something a little different musically so that it’s still true to the style, but perhaps more alt Reggaeton.It’s from the point of view of a young Mexican man, who lives in a part of the country run by cartels. He knows his life will end up nowhere, and he knows the only way out is ‘North’. Of course, he knows that the ‘North’ has a leader that calls his people to rapists and murderers, even though our young friend himself is trying to get away from this climate. He is also in a bit of an ethical dilemma: he knows that the cartels run the coyotes, so to use them would be to enrich the cartels. Our young man is conscientious and bright. He is a survivor. He is resourceful. But it is a bit of a pickle isn’t it?

‘Masculinity’ at its most toxic. (David Horsey)

It’s the luck of the draw. Some get to fly here via Singapore Airlines, some have no choice but to use Los Coyotes. Could I have been that man? How would those statements have affected my psyche? The economics of organized crime and human traffickers? Our very own now former El Presidente’s shithole comments really made me think.

A lot of those Reggaeton beats came from vintage drum machines like the LinnDrum. But since that cost $$$$ a lot of canny producers like Shabba, sampled records that had the Linn on them. This software version from Audiolounge is what I love for my R’ton beats.

It’s also just a slammin’ club tune. You can dance and feel slightly guilty at the same time. Musically, I wanted to keep it raw, funky and angry. I brought in the Kanun, which is a shimmery middle eastern/Eurasian zither that has a melancholy and mysterious sound. Coupled with my ‘junkyard’ beats and a Shenai, I think it was just the ‘ticket’ to a place we don’t often think about. A place about twenty minutes from San Diego…

And yes, I know Reggaeton isn’t huge in Mexico, but my Latin pop credentials are dodgy at best, and it’s getting bigger they tell me. I hope Los Coyotes will be a small part of that. Lyrics by me in English plus assistance with the Spanish by Mr. Blanco de la Cruz.

Hungry for a Trump Taco?

Next: Chapter 7 – You and What Army

Lyrics:

He says he will build a wall
He says he will keep us out
He says we are criminals
He says we are scum

I just want to breathe
I just want to survive
But the cartels won’t let me live
And the cartels won’t let me live

So I will use the coyotes
The crazy coyotes
I will go north
I will find a way
I will go north
I will find a way

The coyotes want big bucks
The coyotes are mucho corrupt
It’s the only way, the only way
I wish there was another way

I know I will break the law
I know the cartel owns the coyotes
I know they create this system
So we run from then and to them

Should I use the coyotes?
The crazy coyotes?
I want to go north
I want to find a way
But maybe I should stay
Maybe I should find a way and stay

Los Coyotes, Loco Coyotes