Los Amos y Señores: Los 20 Corridos Más Perrones

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If you're exploring a group's recordings for the first time, the most logical starting point is usually a best-of collection. That doesn't always hold true, but it usually does -- and in the case of Grupo Exterminador, an excellent introduction would be Los Amos y Señores: Los 20 Corridos Más Perrones. This best-of CD contains 20 corridos that underscore the norteño agitators' ballsy, in-your-face, hard-hitting nature -- corridos that aren't for the faint of heart. Los Amos y Señores is full of what Exterminador fans call narco corridos -- that is, tales of drug trafficking in Mexico and the United States -- and these stories touch on some of the subject matter that Los Tigres del Norte have boldly addressed. But while Los Tigres' influence is quite strong on this 75-minute collection, Grupo Exterminador have a gutsy energy of their own -- and if you speak any Spanish, it is evident that they pull no punches when it comes to describing the perils of la vida pelegrosa (the dangerous life). These narco corridos describe, in vivid detail, how drugs can make their way from Durango or Guadalajara to the streets of L.A. or Chicago -- and how much violence can accompany that illegal activity. Exterminador aren't glamorizing la vida pelegrosa, but they are giving listeners a dose of cold, hard, bitter reality (often in a dark-humored way). Los Amos y Señores demonstrates that great art isn't always pretty; in some cases, it can be downright disturbing. Like Ice-T on "6 in the Mornin'," U2 on "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Merle Haggard on "Mama Tried," or Rubén Blades and Willie Colón on "Pedro Navaja," Exterminador use their narco corridos to shed some light on a troubling reality -- and on Los Amos y Señores, their skills as compelling storytellers are never in question.

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