It’s not every day you get Snoop Dogg bumping your latest album to his 21 million Instagram followers. It’s especially unheard of when your latest album is Un Chamaco Sin Futuro — all in Spanish.
But this is where Alex Guerra, the artist behind Un Chamaco Sin Futuro, or “A Kid With No Future,” found himself the end of 2017. Guerra is frontman for the increasingly popular band Legado 7, a grupo born in Santa Ana and rising to fame in SoCal on a cloud of marijuana smoke arguably not seen since the days of the Up in Smoke Tour. Legado 7 is carving out its own genre in the corrido scene. Guerra calls it “corridos verdes,” or weed corridos.
Basically his band is doing corrido music for what our grandmothers or parents call the “marijuano” set.
Last November Snoop Dogg posted a video of himself listening to “El Chinito,” a Legado 7 track written about Guerra’s uncle (who got a nickname due to his resemblance to the Buddha), from Un Chamaco Sin Futuro.
“Ya’ll gotta get this shit,” Snoop tells his followers.
After that, Guerra was flooded. “Everyone I knew called me up, ‘Hey Snoop is playing your shit!’ It was crazy, loco, man,” Guerra recalled.
But, this being Snoop, it also made a lot of sense.
L.A. TACO recently caught up with Guerra — who speaks fluent Spanglish — over the phone on a rainy night in Los Angeles, to discuss what’s in store for Legado 7 in 2018. “I’ve been enjoying my vacation,” he said, the sound of falling water and L.A. traffic underscoring his relaxation. “Getting ready to get back to it.”
‘We don’t really consider our music narcocorridos … They’re corridos verdes.’
Guerra’s vacation ends next Friday, when Legado 7 opens their Smoke Me Out Tour 2018 at Ruby’s Nightclub in Oxnard. The tour is a celebration of cannabis legalization in California, Guerra explained, and Legado 7 wants to make the most of it, with plans on releasing their own Afro Kush branded strain of weed, named after the band’s first hit single, “El Afro.”
The track is about a Mexican stoner friend of theirs that loved to smoke good weed and party, and it’s video features a dealer with an exaggerated “mexifro,” slanging kush at a party. “I write about the people around me,” Guerra said. “That’s what we do. We smoke, have a good time, enjoy life.”
“We’re hoping to release Afro Kush later this year,” Guerra said. “It’s going to be lumbre, lit as fuck.”
My first introduction to Legado 7 was in the middle of festival season last April, at famed promoter Pepe Garza’s tenth annual Invasion del Corrido. There I was in the headliner’s dressing room inside Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, waiting to film an interview and wondering where everyone was at during another sold-out concert in this Mexican cowboy world.
The smell of blueberry kush coming from the hallway was my first clue. The second was the sound of the accordion and standup bass coming from the much smaller Legado 7 dressing room down the hall, where the guys from Orange County were hotboxing a room full of old-school paisas and famous balladeers from the still controversial and still highly popular world of narcocorridos.
“We don’t really consider our music narcocorridos,” Guerra told me. “They’re corridos verdes. Weed corridos.”
In the genre known as “Regional Mexican,” their stories are legendary. Tiny bars bursting at the seams with crowds and kush smoke. Packed night clubs where the paisas are blazing and pounding Buchanan’s, the preferred and often named-dropped brand of blended scotch whiskey that has become synonymous with narco culture. Arenas filled with men in cowboy boots and Burberry belts and women in Gucci heels and Ralph Lauren little black dresses. All for some marihuanos.
“Mexicans use that term as like an insult,” Guerra said. “Like if someone is acting crazy they’ll say ‘mira ese marihuano’ or if some car speeds through the neighborhood it’s like ‘must‘ve been a marihuano’, but it’s legal now so I think it’s changing. Even the hardcore narco groups are singing corridos verdes now.”
Legado 7 was born from change. Guerra and co-founder Ramon Ruiz created the band in 2014 after a string of failed projects. “I had been in a bunch of bands. [Ruiz] had been in a bunch of bands. Finally we just started our own thing.”
Ruiz had already booked some house party gigs and quinceañeras before. He asked Guerra if he wanted to play the gigs with him, and they grew from there. “I had written a bunch of corridos from back in the day,” Guerra recalled. “And I showed them to Ramon, and we decided to record them live at his place.”
The album 100% Corridos Verdes featured a cover styled after Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and the band’s first underground hit, “El Afro.” They uploaded the album to YouTube and the band hit the L.A. Mexican party scene.
“We were grinding for a year, man,” he recalled. “Just playing fiestas, quinceañeras, bautizos. But we started getting a following all over LA. It was crazy.”
Weed Corrido weed?
Eventually, word of mouth got the attention of the Norteño record label Rancho Humilde. And they recorded a studio version of “El Afro” and a music video that went viral. “It felt good, you know?” Guerra recalled. “People were telling us we created a new genre and shit.”
A few weeks after the Pepe Garza concert, Legado released their first official studio album Un Chamaco Sin Futuro. A couple months after that they went on his popular YouTube show “Pepe’s Office” to promote it. Even Garza was on board by then, telling his 667,000 subscribers that Legado is on the verge of something transcendent.
That transcendent moment finally happened on November 9 when the godfather of weed himself Snoop Dogg posted two videos bumping the album to his 21.1 million-strong Instagram account.
The videos combined for more than half a million views, and got Legado 7 a spot playing at Snoop’s 4/20 festival later this year. “It’s going to be an honor to be on the same stage,” Guerra said. “I hope to at least get to smoke a blunt with him.”
On February 10, Legado will be headlining at the Microsoft Theater, giving them the opportunity to hotbox the big dressing room again. Guerra thinks about it for a minute. “I think people would be disappointed if we didn’t at this point,” he said. “It’s what’s expected of us.”