“You all got to get this shit,” Snoop Dogg told his 20 million-plus Instagram followers in a late-2017 video post. The rapper wasn’t extolling his favorite new cannabis blend; he was grooving to the band Legado 7’s “El Chinito,” from its LP Un Chamaco Sin Futuro, which debuted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Regional Mexican Albums chart in May 2017.
If Legado 7 itself seemed an unusual musical choice for Snoop, the group’s favored subject matter wasn’t. The band is one of the leading acts in the rising regional Mexican subgenre of corridos verdes (green corridos): songs about a marijuana-centric lifestyle, from young groups that typically eschew their music’s traditional cowboy hats and boots in favor of baseball caps, sneakers and jeans — and often will light up onstage. Earlier in 2018, Legado 7 headlined the Smoke Me Out Tour, joining four other acts singing corridos verdes that have been embraced by a new generation of regional Mexican fans. (The tour’s opening night sold out Los Angeles’ 7,100-capacity Microsoft Theater, and it will play 70 dates by the end of 2018.)
“These bands sing about real-life experiences in the U.S., and fans have connected,” says Jimmy Humilde, founder of the Los Angeles-based Rancho Humilde label, whose roster — including Arsenal Efectivo, El de la Guitarra, Los Hijos de Garcia and Legado 7 — all sing corridos verdes. “It’s a chill lifestyle,” says Humilde of the songs’ focus, though he clarifies that his artists don’t exhort fans to smoke. Legado 7 accordionist Ramon Ruiz notes that corridos verdes celebrate the camaraderie of “passing the joint” but also touch on issues like immigration and life near the U.S.-Mexico border. And the style is already evolving: According to Humilde, “Corridos verdes may have a romantic element to them very soon.”