Monterrey, a city of 1.1 million in the mountains of Northeast Mexico, has long featured some of the country's best urban music. In the mid-Nineties, local trio Control Machete established themselves as one of the hottest rap groups in the country, and today, DJs like 3BallMTY (assisted by former Control member Toy Selectah) are fusing regional rhythms and EDM synths to create a new style known as tribal guarachero.
MC Davo, meanwhile, is taking Monterrey rap into the Internet age. Inspired by artists like Eminem and Dr. Dre, the 23-year-old began self-releasing albums on the web at age 17. His online presence steadily grew, and last year, it transferred into real-world sales when El Dominio, his major label debut, became the most popular album in Mexico.
Davo recently visited Rolling Stone's studio to perform two of the record's hottest tracks: "Ya No Hay Nada" and "Andamos de Parranda." Where the latter is a straight-forward party-starter, the former tells a more complicated story about, as he puts it, "a mother that doesn't want her daughter to date a rapper because she believes he can't offer her much." "Both in the U.S. and in Mexico, that dilemma is present," says Davo, speaking in Spanish. "If you're being somehow romantic then you're not tough or you're not street smart. That's not true."