Peso Pluma in Argentina and collab with Anitta
Courtesy EA Agency/Latin Times

MIAMI - Peso Pluma, a relatively new but already powerful name in the international music scene, gained recognition primarily in Mexico as part of the 'corridos tumbados' movement, particularly on 'corridos bélicos', which focuses on figures and experiences in the world of organized crime.

His rise to fame accelerated last year with a breakthrough song, which, intriguingly, wasn't originally his. The track "Ella baila sola" marked his entry into the global spotlight, a successful collaboration extended by the group Eslabón Armado.

Internationally, his career was bolstered by collaborations with superstars like Becky G with "Chanel", who brought him to the prestigious Coachella music festival last year, and Karol G. with "Qlona," among others. His biggest charted song is "La Bebé Remix", a reggaeton song with Yng Lvcas.

A very different audience

As his popularity grew, so did controversy. Last year, Peso Pluma, his real name Hassan Emilio Kabande, faced serious death threats in Mexico from criminal organizations, something that led him to need heightened security and which provoked the cancellation of several shows.

Ironically, as La Doble P faced criticism for depicting the harsh realities of Mexico's most violent areas in his music, younger middle- and upper-class fans found themselves were enamored by with his raspy voice and the compelling guitar riffs in his corridos.

This new public, able to afford streaming services and avidly engaged in social media, appears to particularly enjoy the tracks that celebrate themes such as women, champagne, fast cars, and the joys of carefree living. Those are the topics of his latest hits: "Lady Gaga," with Gabito Ballesteros; "TULUM," with Grupo Frontera; and "Por las noches," his duet with girlfriend Nicki Nicole, as well as his session with Bizarrap.

His only performance in Chile in December of 2023 attracted a crowd described as predominantly 'cuicos' (a Chilean term often referring to well-to-do young people), as shared by a young attendee with Latin Times, who preferred to remain anonymous

The combination of his blooming local popularity and the decision to broaden its international audience led the producers of the legendary Viña del Mar Song Festival to invite Peso Pluma.


El cantante #PesoPluma debutó en Chile con un show en el MovistarArena, una actuación en la que adelantó parte de lo que mostrará en el próximo Festival de ViñadelMar. #musica #concierto #doblep #ellabailasola #pesopluma💯👹 #corridostumbados #santiago #cooperativa #magazine #pesopluma💯

♬ sonido original - Cooperativa

The news that Peso had joined a cast of super stars including Alejandro Sanz, Sebastián Yatra, Maná, Andrea Bocelli, Anitta, Manuel Turizo, María Becerra, and more, gave Viña del Mar a 'cool' patina. However, the situation changed in Chile following a column by sociologist Alberto Mayol, who criticized Peso Pluma's promotion of narco culture at a public event broadcast in public television.

"Don't forget, on March 1, on the screens of the state channel, we will hear the voice of the narco. It's just so we can get used to it, I guess. But of course, no one wants to go against Peso Pluma because he is famous, because removing him from the festival could be contrary to electoral logic because the young vote could be lost," he wrote on January 7th on BioChile


Buscan cancelar la participacion de Peso Pluma en el Festival de Viña del Mar en Chile 🇨🇱 #longervideos #pesopluma

♬ Vlog Video work Fashionable BGM(847726) - Tsuyoshi_san

This sparked various reactions, including legislative proposals and requests, even from the mayor and the authorities of Chile's national television, which broadcasts the festival, to cancel his performance, which were not only ultimately unsuccessful but also backfired.

Peso Pluma more famous than ever

This week, Peso Pluma's latest album 'Génesis' has soared in popularity across Latin America, ranking as the 18th most streamed album in Chile and positioning itself within the top 20 across the region. He is currently the 11th most-viewed artist on YouTube in that country.

Anthropologist Carla Pinochet, researcher at the Millennium Nucleus in Musical and Sound Cultures (CMUS), is not surprised. Throughout her work, she has dismissed the efficiency of censorship mechanisms, which can also be accommodating depending on the authority in power.

"What happened with Peso Pluma? Before, not many people knew about him, and now everybody does," said to the Spanish newspaper El País.

"Instead of banning the music that is listened to today in the urban peripheries, let's raise specialized programs to discuss urgent problems such as narcoculture and that we are not being able to have as a society. The media can play a very important role, as can the workshops where young people create their digital productions in popular libraries. We must listen to those who are listening to this music," she added.

Peso Pluma in Viña del Mar

Launched in 1960, the Viña del Mar International Song Festival is held annually at Quinta Vergara, a 15,000-capacity amphitheater located in the Chilean city of Viña del Mar, in the central coast region of Valparaíso. This year, the Festival starts on February 25th.

Each day will feature two performers. On Sunday, Feb. 25, Alejandro Sanz and Manuel Turizo will take the stage. Andrea Bocelli, who will make his Viña del Mar debut alongside his son Matteo Bocelli, and Miranda! are set to sing on Monday. Maná and Men at Work will perform on Tuesday; Mora and Anitta on Wednesday; Los Bunkers and Young Cister on Thursday; and to close the event, Peso Pluma and María Becerra will close the show on Friday, March 1.

Peso Pluma's set is scheduled to last around 90 minutes, with some interruptions. Every night, the artists on stage (competitors on the singing portion of the festival, or the big names) can receive silver, gold, and platinum "Gaviotas" (the names of the awards). In the case of the super stars, el monstruo de la Quinta Vergara, as the audience is called, votes with applause if they are worthy of a Gaviota and in which material. It is a rite of passage for any artist who wants to conquer Latin America.

Discussions have surfaced about Peso Pluma potentially excluding his most controversial songs from the setlist for his upcoming performance at Viña del Mar. Despite attempts by The Latin Times to reach out to his team for comments, there has been no response. We may have to wait and see.

The festival can be seen in Chile on TVN and Canal 13, Starz in Latin America, Telemundo in the U.S. and in Youtube.

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