Peso Pluma talks shaking up music, already having a legacy at 24: 'This is global'

Mexican musician Peso Pluma is aware of his global star power.

"We all know who Doble P is," the 24-year-old tells USA TODAY in an interview conducted in Spanish. And for those who don't, Pluma says, well, "What the hell are they waiting for?"

Born Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija, Pluma is part of a new generation of young Mexican and Mexican American artists − including Fuerza Regida, Grupo Frontera, Junior H and Natanael Cano, among others − dominating the Billboard, Spotify and Apple Music charts and "removing the stigma of regional music from Mexican music," says the Zapopan native from the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

This year alone, Pluma has seen eight of his songs land on the Billboard 100 and in April his collaboration with Eslabon Armado, "Ella Baila Sola," made history as the first regional Mexican song to enter the top five on the all-genre chart.

"It is no longer regional music anymore," Pluma says over the phone from his Hidalgo, Texas, tour stop in early September after soundcheck. "This is global and everyone is listening to Mexican music all over the world."

In July, he broke Bad Bunny's record on the Hot Latin Songs Chart with 25 simultaneous titles on the ranking of 50, outdoing the Puerto Rican superstar's 24-title record from 2022. This summer, Pluma's hit song with Mexican rapper Yng Lvcas, "La Bebe (Remix)," made former President Barack Obama's summer playlist, and in September at the MTV Music Video Awards, he became the first Mexican artist to perform on the coveted VMA stage since the show's inception in 1984.

History-making moments aside, Pluma is simply in it because it's his passion.

"I've never done it or will do it for any other reason," he says. "I'm happy that people are identifying me as someone who came to shake up Mexican music and leave (my) legacy behind, and my influence."

He adds, "It's what I love doing most and me (and my team) aren't fighting to be in any No. 1 spot. Obviously, it's any artist's dream to be at the top, but I know that's not always going to be the case."

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Pluma's ascension to stardom since selling out his first stateside performance in Ontario, California, in April has been swift. The young musician who began playing the guitar at 15 by watching YouTube tutorials doesn't feel the need to adapt to this newfound fame, it's just the way the dice roll.

"It's not about adapting … life brings new days and new lessons and it's part of my own evolution as a person, not just as an artist," Pluma says. "I go with the flow and I learn through what I love doing and what I enjoy the most."

For the moment, Pluma doesn't need to worry about the descent. Ahead of Thursday's Billboard Latin Music Awards, where he will also take the stage, Pluma leads the nominations list with 21 awards across 15 categories, including Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Top Latin Album of the Year for "Génesis."

"Nominated or not, I'm always going to be the same person and I'm always going to sing what I love to sing," Pluma says as Bad Bunny and Grupo Frontera trail behind him with 15 nominations each.

"We're there thanks to the fans. There's no other explanation, the fans are the ones that get us there and keep us there, and the ones that show us so much love so that's why we are where we are," he adds.

In July, he kicked off the 17-city Doble P Tour, his first tour of the United States, which wraps up Oct. 20. Then he's off to Mexico for three dates to kick off his first South American tour this fall, concluding in Colombia.

Peso Pluma performs on stage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on Sept. 12 in Newark, N.J.
Peso Pluma performs on stage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on Sept. 12 in Newark, N.J.

More: Peso Pluma cancels Tijuana show following threats from Mexican cartel, cites security concerns

Known for his corridos tumbados (which translates to "knocked down," and features a mix of electronic beats, Latin trap and hip-hop sounds layered with instruments from other Mexican music genres) and the already-established corridos bélicos (translating to "warlike," and heavy on lyrics about drug trafficking and ongoing cartel turf battles in Mexico), Pluma broke into the scene last February with the release of "El Belicón," a corrido anthem on the local narcoculture.

Those musical ties seemingly led to threats from a Mexican cartel last month, warning Pluma to "refrain" from performing in Tijuana, Mexico, on Oct. 14. "It will be your last show due to your disrespect and loose tongue," a banner that was posted on a bridge in the border town and signed by Jalisco New Generation Cartel read.

About a week later, Pluma and his record label Prajin Music Group announced in a statement that the concert had been canceled; the specific cause of the concert's cancellation was not disclosed, however. Pluma also hasn't directly addressed the alleged threats.

Peso Pluma performs at the Arizona Financial Theatre on July 22.
Peso Pluma performs at the Arizona Financial Theatre on July 22.

Still, he keeps it moving.

After releasing two studio albums to moderate success, "Génesis" was what further catapulted Pluma into crossover territory.

"I'm happy that this project that I love so much has resonated with so many people and we're seeing the fruits of our labor," he says. "It's not my first album, but it's the first one where I feel people have embraced it in the way I wanted them to, and this is just the beginning of Peso Pluma."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Peso Pluma talks global rise of Mexican music, Billboard nominations