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Peso Pluma addresses narcocorrido culture during Coachella set, pays homage to Mexican music artists

Peso Pluma, the música Mexicana artist from Guadalajara who's skyrocketed to global fame, played a lively, frenetic set — with guest appearances from Becky G and Arcángel among others — during his Friday performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

During his set, the 24-year-old also alluded to the criticism aimed at his music's occasional references to drug trafficking and gun violence, also known as narcocorridos. Mexican officials, including the country's president, have criticized the music's themes for what they see as glorifying drug culture. The "LADY GAGA" singer's bravado has also drawn threats from Mexican cartels, including one in Tijuana last fall that caused Peso Pluma to cancel a concert there.

Peso Pluma made references to the criticism throughout his theatrical set, which opened with a narrated video playing old TV news clips critical of Mexican drug culture. The set reached a frenzied peak during "PRC," as the screens on stage displayed a range of news articles related to Peso Pluma and, more broadly, the intersection of music and drug culture.

INTERVIEW: Peso Pluma knows you know who he is. How the Grammy winner put Mexican music on the map.

Peso Pluma performs on the Coachella Stage during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on Friday, April 12, 2024.
Peso Pluma performs on the Coachella Stage during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on Friday, April 12, 2024.

While Peso Pluma referenced the ongoing discourse, he also paid homage to those who came before him in the corridos genre, with a video showing a litany of past and present Mexican artists. Paired with Peso Pluma’s shouts during the show — "¡Que vivan los corridos! ¡Que viva Mexico!" — the tribute reminded the large crowd that many artists paved the way for him to be on the Coachella stage.

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Here's what else stood out from his Friday night set.

Peso Pluma performs on the Coachella Stage during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Califrnia, on Friday, April 12, 2024.
Peso Pluma performs on the Coachella Stage during the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Califrnia, on Friday, April 12, 2024.

A strong showing from Peso Pluma's live band

Peso Pluma brought his signature corridos tumbados — a long-standing form of folksy, guitar ballads in Mexico, mixed with modern trap and hip-hop influences — to Coachella, though it was really his live band that set the tone, starting with a violin solo for his opening song, "Rubicon," from his 2023 album, "Génesis."

The band, replete with an impressive array of bass horns, trumpets and guitars, hit plenty of high notes and brought enthusiasm that only amplified Peso Pluma’s fun as the figurative bandleader, as he danced around the stage in his sleeveless white outfit.

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Peso Pluma and Becky G performs at the Coachella Stage during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2024 in Indio, California.
Peso Pluma and Becky G performs at the Coachella Stage during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2024 in Indio, California.

Becky G, Arcángel, more make surprise Coachella appearances during Peso Pluma's set

As one of the biggest names in music right now, it was no surprise that Peso Pluma had a surprise guest (or four) up his sleeve for his Friday night set at Coachella. He began his surprises with an appearance from Becky G, who returned the favor after Peso Pluma appeared at her set last year, with the duo playing their 2023 song, "Chanel."

INTERVIEW: Becky G says this 'Esquinas' song makes her 'bawl my eyes out' every time she sings it

Junior H and Peso Pluma perform at the Coachella Stage during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2024 in Indio, California.
Junior H and Peso Pluma perform at the Coachella Stage during the 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2024 in Indio, California.

Peso Pluma then brought out his frequent collaborator Junior H, with the two playing their song, "El Azul," and he later welcomed Santa Fe Klan, a Mexican rapper slated to deliver his own set at Coachella on Saturday.

The surprises concluded with an appearance from Argentinian rapper Arcángel for a debut performance of their song, "PESO COMPLETO," which they released shortly before the festival began.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Coachella 2024: Peso Pluma brings out Becky G, Arcangel, Junior H