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Peso Pluma Strays From His Corrido Comfort Zone, a Little, on ‘Éxodo’

When Peso Pluma announced his album Éxodo in his historic Rolling Stone cover story earlier this year, he promised to reveal a “darker side” of himself and explore a part of his artistry he hadn’t touched on his excellent 2023 breakthrough, Génesis. “There’s going to be a lot of things about why we do what we do,” he said coyly about his new music. On Éxodo, Peso delivers a solid album and generally stays true to his word, but he struggles to push himself out of his comfort zone on the album’s corridos. He divides the album into two parts: the 16-track música mexicana Disc One, and an eight-track second disc, where he branches out into a range of genres, from rap to reggaeton. 

On Disc One, Peso sticks with what he knows best: bar-filled corridos full of requintos, tubas, and trombones, and the raspy vocals he made famous on Génesis. He also packs the record with collabs with mexicana heavyweights: Luis R Conriquez, Junior H, and Óscar Maydon join him on tracks like “Santal 33” and “La Durango,” and he shines on songs like “Sr. Smith” and “La Patrulla,” delivering the narco stories he knows how to tell well.

It takes nine tracks, until “Bruce Wayne,” to hear Peso without features. The track shines as a standout on the album, transitioning into the second half of Éxodo’s first disc, where he finally opens up and dabbles, albeit briefly, with new sonics. The Batman-referencing song opens with a left-field piano, and sees Peso change up his vocal approach, offering a Conriquez-style rapid-fire lyric drop and long emotional notes. “People first love you, and then they hate and hope the worst for you, even death,” he sings about grappling with fame: “Staying alive might be my punishment.” 

Fame is also a theme on “Hollywood,” this time contrasted with lyrics about being whipped as a child. And then comes “Reloj,” with Iván Cornejo, which strays from the “culitos Kardashians” and Rolls Royces he sings about on other tracks, as he finally dives deep on the “inexplicable pain” he felt after a breakup (presumably his headline-making split with Nicki Nicole), and convinces himself he’s going to be fine. Here’s where Peso’s artistry sparkles. The track is laced with the same unrestrained vulnerability that made Génesis’ “Lagunas” a fan favorite.

After a pair of songs with distracting intros — “ICE” starts with a Ric Flair speech and “Solicitado” opens with a bizarre James Brown interview after he was accused of assaulting his wife with a lead pipe and firing a gun at a car she was in — we get “Vino Tinto.” The track is bookended by torpedoing sonics that bring to mind the Weeknd’s Dawn FM, and it seems to suggest the possibility of a foray into EDM-corridos. But it only serves as a transition into another song in Peso’s classic style, accompanied by Natanael Cano (“the king of corridos”) and Gabito Ballesteros. This kind of mashup briefly promises a true celebration of the present and future of the genre. It would’ve been nice if he’d followed through and fused the two impulses into one song. Instead, the end result leaves a taste of what could have been.


By the time Disc Two arrives, a genre switch-up is more than welcome. It feels like a treat after getting through 16 tracks of more-or-less straight corridos and gives a hint at what Peso is capable of achieving outside of his main sound. He opens with an ode to straight hip-hop, making space for Rich the Kid’s fiery rap style before he comes in toward the end of the track with his own flow in Spanish. “Put Em in the Fridge” hears him rap in Spanish over a trumpet-backed beat before Cardi B arrives with a shiny Spanglish verse reminiscent of the flow on her classic debut album. (Unfortunately, Peso’s stab at an English verse fails to convince on this one.)  “Mala” and “Tommy & Pamela” showcase the rising reggaeton Mexa scene and bring back the vocal style Peso introduced with his appearance on “La Bebé,” a 2023 track with rising Mexican singer Yng Lvcas. “Mala” is a classic nightclub-ready perreo banger, while on “Tommy & Pamela,” Peso and Mexican pop star Kenia Os embrace the amor tóxico of Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson as they drop bars referencing the couple’s infamous sex tape. Reggaeton suits Peso well.

Peso Pluma succeeded in helping make música mexicana a global genre. His impact on the culture is undeniable. He’s sparked important conversations about narcoculture and has become a beacon for Mexican music at large. On Éxodo, he reminds us of his talent, and commendably shares the spotlight with a number of great artists. But despite its epic length, the album largely presents a Peso Pluma we’ve already met, perhaps with a bit more experience and angst, but still struggling to take the extra risk.

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