Rosalino ‘Chalino’ Sanchez was a Regional Mexican singer famous for popularizing the narcocorrido genre. Chalino passed away in 1992, but he still earns millions of streams annually from Latino listeners. After a series of unfortunate events, a jobless Chalino launched a music career to try and make ends meet.

He recorded music in cassettes and sold them out of his car trunk. Chalino’s music caught the attention of Mexican immigrant Pedro Rivera, who offered Chalino access to a small recording studio. Together, Rivera and Chalino pioneered narcocorridos, a genre of corrido that praises the drug trade and the violent crimes associated with it.

Chalino was allegedly murdered for his connection to drug cartels

The first public sign that Chalino’s life was in danger came during a January 1992 performance at Los Arcos nightclub in Coachella, California. As he performed, a drug-addled local mechanic named Eduardo Gallego jumped on stage and began shooting Chalino.

Chalino responded by pulling out a gun and shooting back at Eduardo. A running gun battle ensued, causing injuries to seven to ten people at the event, including Eduardo and Chalino. Claudio Rene Carranza, a local man, passed away due to his injuries. 

Chalino and Gallego were in critical condition as they underwent surgery in Palm Springs. Sanchez’s sales skyrocketed in the aftermath of the event, and at his next appearance in Los Angeles, additional security measures were implemented to guarantee his security. 

At a rare gig in Culiacan for months after the shooting, Chalino reportedly received a note that caused his complexion to change. The show was a success, but things turned awry after Chalino and his crew left the party. 

Chalino’s entourage was reportedly intercepted by armed state officers in Chevrolet Suburbans. After deliberations, Chalino agreed to accompany the men to see a commandant. Several hours later, two people discovered Chalino’s dead body dumped in an irrigation canal near Los Laureles, Culiacan. He had been shot twice in the head, was blindfolded, and his wrists had rope marks. 

It is alleged that Chalino’s connection to drug cartels led to his demise. Since his death, many big-name narcocorridos singers have been murdered, including Sergio Gomez and Valentine Elizalde. Per, 17 less-known narcocorridos artists were murdered in 2013. 

The issue is that to be a narcocorrido artist, you have to be involved with the drug culture and everything associated with it. Once you start dealing with cartels, there is no guarantee that you will make it out alive. 

At age 15, Chalino killed the local bully who’d raped Sanchez’s sister four years earlier

Chalino Sanchez was born on 30th August 1960 in Culiacán, Mexico. He was the youngest of seven siblings born to Santos Sanchez and Senorina Felix. Sanchez’s parents named him Rosalino, but he preferred Chalino because he thought Rosalino sounded too feminine.

At age 11, Chalino witnessed a local bully. Chapo Perez, rape his sister. Four years later, he avenged his sister by shooting Perez during a party celebrating the Mexican revolution. After the murder, Sanchez fled and eventually settled in the United States.

Chalino’s violent background and passion for music made him the perfect person to popularize narcocorridos. He drew from other people’s experiences and his own to come up with the violence-glorifying lyrics.

The songs were a massive hit, and they still are, but their connection to the actions of ruthless drug cartels endangers artists participating in the genre. Chalino and others have paid for it with their lives, but it doesn’t deter young artists from creating and performing narcocorridos.