Though Pablo Escobar has been dead for over two decades now, his influence and shadow still hangs over his home nation Columbia. From the reintroduction to the millennial generation in Netflix’s to Narcos, through to Kanye West’s ambiguously titled album ‘Life Of Pablo’, and more recently when Wiz Khalifa inadvertently enraged ardent followers by smoking weed by his grave.
In Lao Ra’s new song ‘Bala’, he’s there too. The Colombian pop provocateur has revealed that her new track, the MIA-esque fusion of dancehall and electro-pop is about the infamous drug kingpin. “Bala is about Pablo Escobar and the memories I have from the 90’s in Colombia – the news on the telly and my parents’ conversations from when I was very little. The referee, the TV presenter, the prison that he built, the wild animals that lived in his finca.” Lao says. “‘Bala’ means ‘bullet’; so does ‘plomo’, and those were his most famous words: ‘plata o plomo’ – ‘money or a bullet’.”
It’s another booming effort from Lao, with scattered, bassy beats and powerful distorted vocals culminating in a surprisingly joyous carnival atmosphere. One that somehow finds joy out of the darkness.