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La Batalla

Roberto Tapia

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Album Review

Roberto Tapia has made some crossover moves along the way, combining banda and norteño with elements of Latin pop at times. But the San Diego-born singer (by way of Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico) has also recorded plenty of straight-ahead Mexican music, and he definitely keeps things straight-ahead on La Batalla (The Battle). Tapia isn't going after the grupero crowd on this 2010 release, which finds him sticking to rancheras and corridos and doing so with memorable results. Tapia fluctuates between norteño and banda, favoring brassy banda instrumentation on the rancheras ("No Pensaba Enamorarme," "Qué Te Faltó," "No Fue Fácil," "Tal Vez," and "Tú También Fallaste") and accordion-powered norteño on the corridos. Of course, countless banda artists perform corridos, and countless norteño bands perform rancheras. But on La Batalla, Tapia compartmentalizes and makes a point of reserving banda for the rancheras and norteño for the corridos. And Tapia isn't shy about performing narcocorridos — that is, corridos about drug trafficking. If hip-hop is "the CNN of the streets" (to borrow Public Enemy leader Chuck D's term), then corridos could be considered the CNN of the Mexican streets — and Tapia sings about Mexico's drug cartels on lively narcocorridos such as "Las Calaveras del Chino" and "Comandos del Yupo." On "El Jefe de la Familia" (The Boss of the Family), Tapia specifically mentions La Familia Michoacana (one of the Mexican cartels), and the title track is about the late José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos (who had become a major anti-drug prosecutor for the Mexican government before dying in a plane crash in 2008). Meanwhile, "Bandera del Chapo" is about Joaquín "El Chapo" Gúzman, notorious head of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. Tapia, singing in Spanish, observes, "Unos dicen que es mafioso, otros que es un empresario," which roughly translates to "Some people say El Chapo is a gangster, others say he's an entrepreneur" — and while critics of narcocorridos may accuse Tapia of glorifying criminality, the truth is that his role on these narcocorridos is that of a reporter/journalist who is using regional Mexican music to do his reporting. Tapia isn't promoting drug trafficking any more than Ice-T was promoting gang violence when he rapped about the crime problems of South Central Los Angeles back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Thankfully, Tapia has a really clear voice, which makes him all the more effective as a corrido storyteller. From romantic rancheras to edgy narcocorridos, Tapia never fails to be engaging on La Batalla.

Customer Reviews

Nice album

Good album overall fierrro!

Buenisimo

Me encantas tus canciones Roberto todo lo que haces lo haces un exito.

Ke buen discaso compadre y ke siga la matadando jajajayy

Grasias por darnos a escuchar estas cansiones fierro

Biography

Genre: Regional Mexicano

Years Active: '00s

Born in San Diego, Roberto Tapia was the son of parents who had relocated from Sinaloa, Mexico. At eleven years of age, the future musician entered Difocur, a prestigious music school where he studied clarinet. While mastering the clarinet, Tapia was still reluctant to showcase his talents. But after coaxing from friend and family, Tapia began performing at various dancehalls and receptions. At 17, he made his professional debut in Tijuana, Mexico alongside the Lobito de Sinaloa. In 2001, Tapia began...
Full Bio

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