Sergio Vega "El Shaka" (September 12, 1969 – June 26, 2010)

The bullet-ridden body of Sergio Vega, aka “El Shaka,” was laid to rest yesterday.  Vega is only the latest in a growing list of narcocorrido singers to fall to drug war related violence in the northern states of Mexico.

Narcocorridos are songs that often glorify the exploits of those in the drug trade (think Outlaw country or Gangsta rap but with polka).

The life of a narcocorrido singer can be highly lucrative, since rich gangsters – who make profits estimated at 3,000 per cent on drugs smuggled from Central and South America, where they are produced, to the USA where they are largely consumed – are prepared to pay tens of thousands of dollars to be immortalised in specially- commissioned songs.

It isn’t exactly a safe line of business to be in, though. A singer who writes catchy songs honouring the criminal activities of one gang immediately puts himself somewhere near the top of the hit-list of rival syndicates, who dislike seeing praise publicly heaped upon their enemies. Vega was no exception. A translation of the chorus of one of his recent hits reads: “I’m going to ask you a favour/Shaka told his people/I want to have some coca paste processed/Because that’s what the customer wants/At the end if it rains and I get wet/You will get wet as well.”

In gangster argot, “making it rain” means to shower bullets on a victim. (The Independent)

The following is the video for one of Vega’s recent hits, “Cuando el Sol Salga al Reves” (When the Sun Rises in Reverse):

“Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.  It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.” -Albert Einstein (on alcohol prohibition)

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One Response to Sergio Vega "El Shaka" (September 12, 1969 – June 26, 2010)

  1. David G says:

    There’s a lot to like about the horn section on the song, although I wouldn’t want to be immortalized by it: kind of crappy. That said, I would in general greet with enthusiasm more patronage songs. Suck on this white rapper ode to the great David G, Renaissance Poetry.

    With all due respect to Albert Einstein, there are plenty of unenforceable crimes on the books that don’t have that effect. Speeding for one. In those cases, criminality helps to reinforce the cultural taboo. The war on drugs, however, obviously sucks it. Unless you’re talking about the band, in which case only their name sucks it.

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