"Hey Mexico City, my name is Chingo Bling! I'm el ghetto vaquero, el rey de foreplay, el Versace mariachi ... "
That's how Pedro Herrera recently greeted the crowd at Pata Negra, a nightclub in Mexico City's hipster enclave, La Condesa. Herrera is a comedian and rapper from Houston who uses the stage name, Chingo Bling. When he took the stage with one of his classic spanglish hits, "Puro Pinche Pari," dozens in the crowd started singing along. Herrera however, was nervous about how he'd be received.
"Considering that I’m a Mexican-American, I didn't really know if anybody was going to be familiar with my stuff," Herrera said in a backstage interview. "But from the time we arrived [there's been] a lot of love. A lot of people are actually bilingual. I was worried because most of my lyrics are English."
Herrera fired up the crowd with his parody of Drake's "Hotline Bling":
You used to call me on my Cricket / late night when you want me to kick it ...
Ever since you got your green card, you you you / ya no quieres tacos, puro pasta / puro Olive Garden, no more raspas ...
Herrera explained how he adapted the Drake song to criticize the attitude of some immigrants when they cross the border. "People try to forget where they come from and they try to convert and be accepted as American," Herrera said. "I'm just kinda making fun of that."
The Mexican rapper El Aleman came out to chill with Herrera and said that, back in the day, few people would have attended a show by a Mexican-American rapper. They would have dismissed him as a pocho — someone who is more American than Mexican.
"It's as if the culture has changed," El Aleman said. "We know now that the term pocho really refers to someone who is Mexican, and that's their roots. Many [Mexican-Americans] sometimes represent [our culture] more than the people here."
Some Mexican-Americans who now live in Mexico City also came out to the club. Raymundo San Agustin, who previously lived in California, brought a big group and treated Herrera to shots of tequila.
"I think [Herrera] has love for the Mexican culture and he represents it to the fullest, even though he is transmitting the message through English," San Agustin said.
Backstage, Herrera was happy with his reception.
"I represent Mexico. I represent Mexicans," he said. "My whole perspective, my whole point of view, is from someone who is caught in the middle [of two cultures]. I love it. There is so much history and culture here. These are my roots."
Chingo Bling performs Oct. 28-30 at the Improv in Ontario.