“¡Arriba México, Viejo!” Peso Pluma enthusiastically said at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday (Sept. 12). Arguably the fastest rising star to hit the American pop mainstream this year, the Guadalajara native made his VMAs debut at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., to perform “Lady Gaga” off his 2023 album Génesis — and Peso Pluma fever was on full display.
Backed by his band — which was made up of of brass players, a tololoche (a sort of stand-up bass), a requinto (12-string guitar) and guitars — attendees gave the performer a warm welcome. With his performance, the Mexican hitmaker — became the first regional Mexican musical act to perform corridos at the annual awards show.
Wearing a huge black puffer jacket and durag, Peso Pluma appeared more like a drill artist than a traditional corridos singer, completing his look with a baggy T-shirt and pants. But that’s the appeal: He resonates with an urbano crowd that leans toward a street-style aesthetic and a bélico lifestyle.
Peso Pluma is nominated for a several VMA awards, including song of the summer for the Mexican reggaetón hit “La Bebe (Remix)” with Yng Lvcas, as well as the best new artist award, which Bronx rapper Ice Spice and North Carolina singer Reneé Rapp are also competing for. Previous winners in that category include Olivia Rodrigo, Tyler, the Creator and Lady Gaga.
“My life has changed a lot,” Peso told Billboard in the July cover issue, recalling that his first shows in Mexico just last year were attended by 500 people. He’s currently in the midst of his first U.S. tour.
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