Peso Pluma’s Life Before Fame: Waiter Between Texas & New York

The Mexican artist has become one of the most prominent figures in Latin music worldwide

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Peso Pluma has become one of the most groundbreaking Mexican artists in the last decade. Thanks to his reinvention of the rising «corridos tumbados» (a subgenre that combines traditional music and urban styles), he has ensured his position as one of the most relevant and listened to Latin stars in 2023.

And it’s been since the beginning of last year that the artist born in Zapopan (a city in Jalisco, Mexico) started occupying strategic positions on the most relevant music charts in the industry. At first glance, it might seem like the artist came out of nowhere, but there are numerous cultural and temporal aspects that can explain his rapid growth within and outside of Mexico.

However, perhaps the main question here is, where did Peso Pluma really come from, and what was his life like before fame?

Peso Pluma and Nicki Nicole at the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Arena on February 4, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Gilbert Flores/Billboard via Getty Images

Little Hassan

If you’ve followed the journey of «la Doble P,» you might already know that his name doesn’t entirely come from Mexican valleys: Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija. His paternal family is of Lebanese origin, while on the maternal side, they’re from Sinaloa. His name is quite common in Arab culture, as it was the one given to the grandson of Muhammad, and it means «the one who does well.»

During his adolescence between New York and Texas, the author of «Génesis» began playing the guitar and writing when he was between 14 and 15 years old. The main reason for doing so was to confront depression. «As a teenager, you go through many changes, and you feel alone, you feel sad. I have always been a very depressive person, and I believe that music is my therapy. When I write, when I sing, when I dance, when I take my little steps, it’s my way of expressing my feelings, and I think it’s my therapy,» the artist reveals in an interview with CNN.

During those years, he worked in the United States in construction and restaurants. In fact, a few months ago, a video uploaded by Hassan himself leaked, showing him doing his training at a Mexican restaurant in New York, explaining the tasks he performs in the restaurant as part of a school project.

«In general, I liked working in the restaurant, but I wouldn’t study gastronomy,» he indicates in the 2017 clip, where we can see a very young 17-year-old Peso Pluma.

Rise to Fame

La Doble P began his journey working with his cousin, Roberto «Tito» Laija García, and although Peso Pluma released his first solo album in 2020 (Ah y Qué?), his name started to be heard louder when he released his «narco-corrido» «El Belicón» in 2022 alongside Raúl Vega, which currently has over 270 million views on YouTube.

In this release, Peso Pluma seemed to finalize what would be his own style, the same one that would contribute to transforming the music industry from top to bottom. The main theme of his songs is associated with the so-called «narcoculture,» making references to substance consumption and its movement, as well as luxury, lust, and other hedonistic themes.

Peso Pluma Iconic Moments
Peso Pluma performs onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV

This is the main reason why the music of the young Mexican would have transcended the way it has, according to scholars. «[The success of Peso Pluma] is related to issues of mass media and social networks that generated an identity about our country, but it is closely linked to drug trafficking that is very present in our imagination and within our society… they are like superheroes or role models, seeking respect primarily. He doesn’t have a great voice; it’s the combination of different factors, feeling identified that had not been represented by that social sector, wanting to be like them. Now being Peso Pluma is the role model to follow,» anthropologist Horacio Mendízábal revealed to Infobae Mexico.

However, it’s worth noting that love (and heartbreak) is another potent theme in the Jalisciense’s catalog, as shown in his viral «Ella Baila Sola» with Eslabón Armado, the first regional Mexican song in history to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and surpass one billion streams on Spotify, certified platinum 21 times by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with over 1 million copies sold. Other hits that undoubtedly follow this line and have contributed to solidifying the Mexican’s career are «La Bebé» with Young Lvcas, «PRC,» or «Lady Gaga» from his album GÉNESIS, which recently won a Grammy for Best Mexican Music Album.

Peso Pluma performs at Estadio Mobil Super on November 8, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Medios y Media/Getty Images)

And you, how do you imagine Peso Pluma before fame?