Lil Mexico is a flashy guy and encompasses everything you would expect a rapper to look like. The tattoos up to his neck, the diamonds dripping off his chains, rings and watch… The fresh set of braids, the designer clothes. Everything about the Mexico-city born rapper who grew up on the southwest side of Houston will make anybody look twice, wondering who he is and what he does. It’s the swag and star-quality that so many aspiring rappers nowadays lack. But Lil Mexico doesn’t just have the look, he has the lyrics and flow to back him up, too. The only problem is, he’s the new kid on the block in an already crowded space of Urban Latin superstars.
If you know anything about today’s Latin Trap that is dominating the billboard charts and setting streaming records worldwide, you know that most of it’s artists are overwhelmingly Puerto Rican, sometimes Colombian, maybe Dominican… Think Bad Bunny, Anuel AA, Farruko. Most of the Latin Trapstars who have found a way to merge our Hip-Hop culture with their Latino culture have found immense success… Bad Bunny, whose American pop culture and sports references have made non-Latinos find a way to relate to him even if they don’t speak the language, and Anuel who recently said in an interview that he wanted to be like Tupac growing up and has worked with Meek Mill and Gucci Mane, have over 35 million Instagram followers alone just between the two of them. What we find in common with them both, is that they have in some form relied on many aspects of our Hip Hop culture to garner new fans, and that’s not even mentioning DJ Luian, or J Balvin, or Nicky Jam who are global superstars and have fashionably found a way to inject our street culture into a new wave of Reggaeton that had lost its mass appeal until recently.
What’s different about Lil Mexico, however, is that he’s representing a growing group of young Mexican adults who find themselves stuck between two worlds where they listen to Young Dolph and Future and 2 Chainz just as much as they listen to Gerardo Ortiz and Legado 7 and El Fantasma. It’s almost like living two separate identities… On one hand you have your group of black homeboys who you grew up listening to Tupac and Biggie and Scarface with, but then you have your Mexican cousins that you listened to Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Los Tigres Del Norte and Intocable with at your little sister’s quinceañera. This is what puts Lil Mexico in a league of his own. There is no Spanish rapper out now with a Mexican background who is rapping in Spanish and understands how to blend the Hip Hop music and culture we grew up on in the states with the unforgiving Narco street culture that we may or may not have witnessed on those holiday visits in Mexico the way he does. “When I was little, I never thought I was going to do music,” he said. “I feel like we don’t have a Mexican who’s in that category where he can go at it… Hip-Hop and new Latin Trap music.”
Not only are his lyrics telling the story of a young Mexican trying to make sense of both identities, but the producers and beats he is selectively choosing to rap over in Spanish will resonate with listeners who don’t necessarily have to understand what he’s saying. Let’s not forget to mention the video for his song LOBOS (WOLVES) that was directed by Michael Artis, a mostly rap film-maker who regularly works with Young Dolph, YBN Almighty Jay, and Key Glock, just to name a few.
First impressions are everything and my first encounter with Lil Mexico came in the form of him pulling up in a camo-wrapped Corvette beating down the block on customized tires branded LIL MEXICO in bold red lettering. He was here to give me a tour of where he comes from and where he spends his time now. Our first stop was the house he grew up in on off W. Airport on the Southwest side of Houston, a minority-ran neighborhood that runs adjacent to the infamous Missouri City where Travis Scott, DJ Screw, and a lot of other, now infamous, local rap legends called home. “A lot of people rap about this place,” he said. “But I’m really, really from here.” The neighborhood had a rough exterior and Lil Mexico had expressed to me multiple times wasn’t a place he wanted to spend too much time visiting. “This is where it all started. I moved to this house when I was 10 years old,” he told me. Six years later, his mother who moved his family from Mexico for a better life, would get taken into federal prison on a R.I.C.O. charge and spend three years locked up awhile the aspiring rapper maintained paying on the home. “This house made me a man, it made pay bills. It showed me responsibility at the age of 16.”
He then played me his unreleased track produced by duo Breakfast N Vegas called PAKAS which features a snippet of a classic Los Tigres Del Norte track Pacas De A Kilo as we took a drive to the neighborhood loosely referred to as Little Mexico on the Northside of the city. He took me to his favorite taco truck and introduced me to other members of WolfPack Music group, a Houston-based label that he calls home. Over the years, the group has been known to host toy-drives and serve meals to those in need. I met Brick, another member of the WolfPack who started rapping when his father was killed by the Houston Police Department awhile being served a fraudulent search warrant. “Living in these streets and being where we’re from we could end up dead or in jail and God prevents all that to make us do something positive for the community to change everybody’s life and I think we’re in that position to do it.”
Get to know Lil Mexico in the video above, the neighborhood that raised him, and the way he plans on staying true to his Mexican roots awhile securing his place in the worlds of both Hip-Hop and Latin Trap.
You can also find Lil Mexico on Instagram @LilMexicoHov
Check out the visual for LOBOS below: