La prensa

El Komander representing Mexico’s ‘gangsta’ style of life

Created: 04 November, 2011
Updated: 13 September, 2023
5 min read

Alfredo Ríos, El Komander, is a singer and songwriter of narco-corridos.

    Karen and her friend Marisela drove 12 hours to come to Tijuana for a concert.

    Once here, she seduced bouncers and staffers and managed to get on stage to hug and kiss her favorite performer: El Komander.

    “He was driving in Culiacán 3 days ago and waved at me, but was a little drunk and could not roll the window down to holler back so I came to see him and whispered I wanted to say hi and see him again” Karen said before laughing loudly and refusing to share her last name.

    With her laughter, her breasts giggle through a tight golden spandex vest.

    “I adore him” she adds.

    At least 5 thousand other people agree with her and are here to see him play.

    Alfredo Ríos, is a singer and songwriter of narco-corridos, and one of the most prominent representatives of a movement called Movimiento Alterado -MA- (Altered State Movement), despite being 26 years old, he is already well established for writing songs for other performers until he decided to sing himself in 2008.

    The music gender has lyrics about violence, escaping police and US authorities and talks explicitly about a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol women and fast cars. It is not just music now but a lifestyle all under the MA name.

Article - Uber

    It is like gangsta rap in the US, in the context of the Mexican fight against cartels by the authorities.

    It´s members call themselvesand call their lifestyle “purely ill.” Both singers and their followers have pictures of them using high caliber weapons and adore luxurious cars. They have favorite brands, like a Ferrari or Hummer, as well as favorite drinks like whiskey, and they make clear mention of them in their songs.

    The music comes with a certain aesthetic, curvy women with heavy makeup wearing micro skirts and micro dresses paired with 10 inch heels and platform shoes, the men with black cowboy hats and colorful shirts, tight jeans and expensive boots.

    It has extended rapidly across Mexico and the US, with virtual stores and an official website. Just one of the many Facebook pages about MA has 23,000 followers, many from the US, including Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans living in Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa and Washington.

    They all want to be like Komander and live the life he has in his native Culiacán, Sinaloa.

    It was closet to midnight when he agreed to be interviewed.

    He is young and fair skinned, with a soft tone of voice and calm presence, in contrast to his on stage presence where he is a force of nature.

    He is like a shy boxer, who is only aggressive inside the ring.

Article - Uber

    He goes on stage at 1:30 in the morning, he takes the stairs towards the stage and enters running while the crowd screams and he starts to sing “Fiesta en la Playa” one of his hits.

    His songs include titles like “10 rounds a second” “High and Insane,” “The Hummer King” and “100 shots at my bulletproof car,” where he tells of being attacked by a group of armed men and escaping without a scratch. He will seek vengeance ´cause he is a bloodthirsty man.

    The people in the crowd know every word by heart, and as they sing, they sign with their hands mimicking a rifle, shooting, beheading and calling their boss for help when being attacked.

    Ríos claims his music is just that, and he is not connected to organized crime in real life. He denies being part of Movimiento Alterado, even as his latest music video is highlighted on the website.

    “You know, Movimiento Alterado is just a term people are using” he claims, “I sing ranchera music, mexican music, and I don’t even agree with the term.”

    “Before you start following a certain style you have to be an artist and start from the bottom up, which is exactly what I did” he states.

    Maybe his life is not riddled with violence, but maybe it is. He was having a concert in Tijuana just six months ago and it got canceled. Many of his fans rumored he had received threats to his life.

    The rumors where never confirmed, but it is not rare that musicians praising the drug dealers life are targeted by rivaling cartels or other enemies. This is especially true for norteño singers, many of them have been killed in ambushed or gunned down while they are performing, such as Valentín Elizalde and Sergio Vega”El Shaka.”

Article - Uber

    In the concert, the crowd is going crazy, a dozen couples dance in the back as Komander calls for birthday girls and dances with all of those who get on stage.

    He even used the mic for public announcements, “Friends or family of Maribel Garduño, she is ill in the restroom, she asks you go take her home” he shouts between songs, giving the night a sort of town fair feel.

    After a 2 hour performance, El Komander leaves the stage all covered in sweat. He head towards the dressing room, while outside, a dozen girls await in line, as if in a beauty pageant, waiting for him to choose whom he will take with him.

    “People like me because of me, because I’am El Komander, not because of MA. Before I became a singer I was a songwriter and this is my work, my doing” he says with a satisfied smile before disappearing into his dressing room.

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