In the world of norteño music, a boisterous, accordion-driven genre of Mexican music, there is no bigger act than Los Tigres Del Norte. Think of the Rolling Stones in English-language rock and roll, and you'll get an idea. The band boasts the same kind of longevity (some 45 years since its inception) and stadium-filling power across the world.
So, in shades of John Lennon's children, how do you follow that up if you're a Tigres kid with similar musical aspirations? Turns out, if you're Raul and Mexia Hernandez, sons of Tigres del Norte bassist Hernán Hernández, you head to Miami for a bit and seek out your own sound. The duo's new album under the name Raul y Mexia, Arriba y Lejos, skips the oompah beat of norteño in favor of more potential crossover fare: smooth pop ballads and clubby anthems.
The New York Times published an extensive feature on the album on March 1, detailing the brothers' attempt "to connect themselves to the Tigres legacy while simultaneously breaking away from it." That meant heading to Monterrey, Mexico to record with Toy Selectah, a DJ, producer, and titan in the rapidly growing world of "alternative Latin" music with "urban" leanings.
But the brothers Hernandez also headed to Miami to record a few tracks. It's appropriate, as in the Times story, Mexia (somewhat surprisingly) cites Miami booty bass artists like Luther Campbell and Gucci Crew as childhood favorites. Later in the story, Raul explains a musical approach that Miami nightlife denizens will easily recognize:
"We represent the modern day Latino,” Raul said. “We like all styles. Whether your parents are from Cuba or Puerto Rico or Central America, you have that same feeling that we have: I love my heritage, but what exactly is mine? We didn’t want to put up any walls. It’s music for the Latino who’s about everything.”
Besides the Miami connection, the Times story makes for an important read in the development of Latin music. It's further proof that it's no longer restricted to genre ghettos or traditions, presenting something newer and fresher that dovetails with the United States' demographic shifts. Click here to read the New York Times story on Raul y Mexia, and listen to a track from Arriba y Lejos below.