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Bum rap

28 February 2007

updated 2-March-07, 5 am):

Be on the lookout for whoever produced the hot new video, Desmadre en Tepito (“Fucked up in Tepito”). Whoever “Producciones Ralf Energymen” might be, the police want to “dicuss” the matter with you.

Joel Ortega, Secretary of Public Security (Mexico City Police Commissioner) says the video, a reference to the recent “expropriation” of El Forteleza is an “apologia for violence.”  (or… anyway, the rap says cops are jerks.  About the same as any other rap anywhere else).  So… he’s bustin’ heads and takin’ names. The police have been chasing Tepito’s pirate video salesmen with usual vigor the last few days. They… are…. pissed.

The 90 or so comments on the youtube posting are evenly split between the folks who can’t understand why people are upset that a gangster-run coop apartment (and… ok… crack house on crack? steroids?) was raided, and those who point out that people have to live somewhere, and make a living somehow.

 I only lived on the edge (of living on the edge, I guess) — on calle Rep. de Bolivia for a couple of weeks (I was going back to the U.S. and had already moved out of my previous place), and wasn’t going out at night, so I can’t say I’m one of the gente.  But El barrio bravo has been playing by its own rules since the Aztecs. 

 There’s an energy there, not necessarily good or bad, but its own.  I’d compare to to Harlem, but it’s not a “minority” neighborhood.  The locals use their own slang and inpenetrable patois, that mixes in Ñya-ñya (the Otomi language) with Spanish… I guess they’re Mexican cocknies.  Whatever they are, they’ve got an outsized reputation for being very bad boys… it’s a hard working, hard-scrabble place where the finer things of life are hard to come by.  Which doesn’t mean there isn’t an artistic and cultural side.  and a few great Mexicans.  They’ve bred a real poet in Cantinflas, and a saint — make that two saints.  El Santo and  Padre Sergio Gutierrez Benitez both were born here. 

Besides, where else can you shop for used coffins (as someone I know claims she saw being sold there), heroin, shoes and stereos (sometimes somebody else’s stereo), wedding gowns and pirate versions of the newest Hollywood movies (usually before they’ve been released) within a few blocks? 

Desmadre en Tepito couldn’t be reproduced even on Mexican mass media.  There’s a relatively “mild” version — called “Tepito es mi barrio — featuring the usual fat guys rapping and the scantily clad chicas available from El Universal’s website.   

One Comment leave one →
  1. 28 April 2007 11:23 pm

    This video brought back many memories of my visits to Mexico City and Tepito during the 1990’s. Back then because of my job I had the good fortune to visit “el DF” at least a dozen or so times. It’s a wonderful megalopolis with a mix of everything including the surreal, but after every visit to Mexico City I always came back to Los Angeles recharged and more energetic.

    The energy that seeps in the streets, the shear vastness of city, the blatant economic and social layers that comprise this city, the maze of “El Metro” and it’s unsung efficiency, the grime and grit of certain areas that locals themselves warn you to stay away from, from their lips they tell you Tepito, Itzapalapa and Lagunilla, but in the same breath mention them as great places to pick up a bargain on whatever consumer item you fancy.

    The recent commentary on YouTube regarding this video appears to be mostly between indignation by those directly affected by Mareclo’s actions and others who see the need to perform a Guliani type of crime cleansing to area, both are right, if things were black and white, but in el DF, just like any other mega city, things are never black and white, but a proverbial fuzzy gray.

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