A popular Mexican music style could be the culprit behind the many brutal killings of musicians there, the Telegraph reported.
Assassins have burnt, shot or suffocated at least 15 Mexican musicians in the past two years and according to the newspaper they've all included narco corrdos, or drug ballads, in their set lists.
The drug ballads have a folksy sound, but contain explicit lyrics about execution-style hits, drug seizures and trafficking kingpins — often with real names. The Telegraph compared it to American gangster rap.
And although the ballads are banned on Mexican raido, that style of music has become very popular.
Conrado Lugo, a producer at the Sol Discos record label in Culiacan, told the newspaper his label focuses on drug ballads because they sell, adding they have 189 artists signed to the label.
"For the narcos, getting a song written about them is like getting their doctorate," he told the Telegraph. "'It shows they are somebody in the crime world."
Many composers turn to local news outlets to get information for their next hit song.
''I like to read newspapers and watch the TV to get ideas,"Omar Meza, a 32-year-old singer and songwriter who calls himself 'El Comandante,' told the newspaper. "I also keep my ear to the street to find out what is happening."