Peso Pluma’s rapid ascension in the music industry was something of a happy accident. The 23-year-old rapper, singer and songwriter – whose real name is Hassan Laija – grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and taught himself guitar as a teenager. He fell into music by happenstance, adapting songs from entries he had written in his diary and taking inspiration from regional artists like Ariel Camacho.
In time, Pluma struck a small label deal and released a string of compact EPs throughout 2020 and 2021. But it wasn’t until 2022’s “El Belicón,” an acoustic trap song ruminating on Guadalajara’s narcoculture and featuring Raul Vega, that he experienced a breakthrough. Listeners who were introduced to Pluma by way of “El Belicón” were ushered into a sonic world of corridos tumbados, a unique fusion of regional Mexican music with modern trap anthems that was dissimilar from much of the music he had produced before — more traditional and lyrically-driven tracks with narratives inspired by the country’s socio-political state. And earlier this year, he dropped a series of singles that made him the first Mexican act to secure the number-one spot on Spotify’s Top Global Songs chart.
In conversation with Hypebeast, Pluma opened up about being surprised by his fame, the meaning of his stage name and his love for luxury fashion.
He didn’t expect his EPs to be so popular
Pluma’s initial approach to making music was considerably more casual than it is today, but after collaborating with artists such as Becky G, who he joined onstage at Coachella, he’s raised the bar for himself. Recalling his last full-length project, 2021’s Efectos Secundarios, Pluma casually notes he “didn’t think about it as a professional album. I just made it with my friends and then it got famous.” Since then, he’s been taking his music more seriously. “I think now I treat it as a discipline and my life has more of a routine, where before I was mostly doing it for fun” he added. “I’m learning little by little.”
View this post on Instagram
His stage name is inspired by a famed Mexican boxer
Peso Pluma translates to “featherweight” in English, and the artist got it as a nickname from his friends for being especially skinny. Pluma says that his appearance was often compared to the legendary Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera, who held titles in three different weight classes during his 22-year career.
Outside of the studio, he mostly listens to rap
Pluma’s own musical style is uniquely eclectic, drawing on corridos, rap and trap, as well as reggaeton and urban sounds. “That’s why people like it so much,” Pluma says. “They’ve just never heard this kind of style before.” As for what he’s personally streaming, the artist says he listens to a lot of Drake, 21 Savage and Bad Bunny, the latter of whom he was recently pictured hanging out with at Coachella.
Since his come up, he’s launched his own record label
Pluma first got his start at a small record label based in Mexico. Following the release of Efectos Secundarios, he switched over to George Prajin’s Prajin Records before launching Double P Records, his own label, in partnership with Prajin this April. At the label, Pluma serves as both CEO and head of A&R, and he’s already signed several of his friends, including Jasiel Nunez, Tito Laija and “El Belicón” collaborator Vega. Looking back on obstacles he encountered in his first label deal, Pluma says he “doesn’t want to see new artists run into the same troubles I did as a beginner in music.”
“The most important thing is I want to see my friends doing good,” he continues. “I’m signing people who have a lot of talent, who have a lot of hunger and vision to do different things and reach more people.”
A chunk of those royalty checks go towards building out his dream wardrobe
As for what he’s wearing while trotting the globe – Pluma is currently in the middle of a headlining world tour – he’s an aficionado of luxury fashion brands. The artist lists off Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior and Burberry as some of his favorite labels. For a more casual look, he says he’ll sport Nike and, as a true Drake fan, he also wears quite a bit of NOCTA.
View this post on Instagram