22 April 2019
Molotov Cocktail at the United States
People look at Mexico as a poor country with nothing but crimes, drugs, and rapists to offer to the United States. However, it is much more than what people imagine. Though the country is more corrupt with drug cartels and such, many people there are still hardworking, and Molotov want to make sure that their listeners are aware of that. In “Frijolero”, Molotov express their views between the southern border states of America and Mexico and the mistreatment of people who cross the border.
Throughout the song, Molotov incorporate both English and Spanish vulgar lyrics to express the hardships and racist stereotypes Mexicans face at the border of Mexico and the United States. The opening of the song begins with a rock beat incorporated with an accordion, which is a bit ironic at first, but quickly proves to further prove the point of the song. Paco Ayala sings, “Yo ya estoy hasta la madre/De que me pongan sombrero/Escucha entonces cuando digo/No me llames Frijolero” (I am fed up with people putting a sombrero on me, so listen when I tell you: don’t call me a beaner), to comment back at the stereotype of Mexicans being associated with sombreros. The term “beaner” is a derogatory term for Mexicans, especially immigrants, that’s constantly used by Americans. It remains a strong racial slur even today. In fact, “’beaner’ is by far the most prominent anti-Mexican slur, academics say”, furthering the concept of discrimination of Mexicans in the United States (Romero). The first opening lines are by far some strong lines, but the following lines take a jab at the United States.
Molotov continue their rant about the United States being discriminant towards Mexicans while also explaining how the United States is a problem, not just for Mexico, but for other countries as well. Essentially, Molotov sings about the issue that the United States have for being involved in other countries and making war, causing economical issues, such as inflation. Ayala sings, “Y aunque exista algún respeto/Y no metamos las narices/Nunca inflamos la moneda/Haciendo guerra a otros países” (Even if some respect exists and we don’t get involved in each other’s business. We never inflate our currency by going at war with other countries). The fact that the United States is constantly at war with other countries or at least is involved in another country’s issues explains how irresponsible the U.S. is being with its economy. By constantly going to war, the currency in the United States inflates, making it harder for people to get out of poverty and making the richer, richer. Molotov continues to explain the fact that the U.S. is essentially exploiting Mexico’s oil reserves, “Te pagamos con petróleo/E intereses nuestra deuda” (We pay you our debt with oil and interests). The band is highly known for their politically charged songs and this is one of those songs. They sang this line to show how well aware they are of the exploitation the United States is causing for oil. By placing this line in that song, it shows a bit of irony from the United States because they don’t want the people of Mexico, but the oil is what they do want. Not only that, he also adds, “Aunque nos hagan la fama/De que somos vendedores/De la droga que sembramos/Ustedes son consumidores” (Even though we’re portrayed as sellers of the drugs we plant, you are the consumers). This is a clear direct hit at the drug issues in the United States and how they blame Mexicans for bring drugs in the United States, according to President Trump. However, many Americans remain as the buyers and consumers of said drugs. It portrays Molotov as an aware band of the late 90’s and early 00’s when issues between the United States and Mexico were prominent.
Molotov consisted of mainly Mexican members until Randy Ebright joined the group soon after they formed. Randy Ebright is an American born, white man who joined Molotov as their drummer. In fact, in “Frijolero”, he sang his own verse in both Spanish and English to express his own experiences of crossing the border with his wife, who happens to be Mexican. In one interview, he explained how his baby daughter and his wife, and him were separated into different lines. He passed with ease while his wife and his baby daughter were both frisked down by the officers (Zonkel). Ebright has seen and experienced the racism and discrimination that happens at the border first hand, and clearly he understands just what people have to go through to cross to the United States, while pointing out how white Americans seem to take things for granted by singing, “Si tuvieras tú que esquivar las balas/De unos cuantos gringos rancheros/Les seguirás diciendo good for nothing wetbacks/Si tuvieras tú que empezar de cero?” (What if it was YOU who had to dodge bullets, from a bunch of redneck farmers who kept calling you ‘good for nothing wetbacks’. What if it was YOU who had to start from nothing). The song consistently tries to express the concern for those crossing the border and face discrimination while crossing it, hence why the chorus depicts a conversation between an American and a Mexican fighting about stereotypes.
The chorus of the song says:
Don’t call me gringo
You fu***** beaner
Stay on your side
Of that goddamn river
Don’t call me
Gringo, you beaner
No me digas beaner
Te sacaré un susto
Por racista y cu****
No me llames Frijolero
Pi**** gringo pu******
The chorus speaks for itself in the idea of how racist some Americans can be towards Mexicans and how they think they have authority over them. The lines even address the American as “Mr.” rather than the explicit word they mention after. It portrays the control they already have over Mexicans through fear. This song is about fighting back on those stereotypes and to at least have respect between both sides rather than have one side control the other.
Molotov’s music is not the purest or
the most innocent, but they do try to express and convince their listeners to
try and understand the issues that are happening even today. The song “Frijolero”
tries to educate the audience by explaining the issues at the border and how Mexicans
are poorly treated because they are in search of a better life. Many still go through
this 16 years after the release of the song and it is now portrayed as a bigger
matter than it was back then. The idea of coming to the United States in search
of better work and a better life is a tough choice that many choose to do,
while leaving behind everything they know. Many cannot go back to visit their
loved ones. Many do not get paid even the minimum for a day’s work. Yet, they
come to the United States because life is a lot better there compared to the life
in Mexico. There should not be a reason to their back on and discriminate against
people who are willing to help a country that is not theirs to begin with.
Molotov, “Frijolero”, Dance and Dense Denso, Surco Records J.V., 2003, Track 6, open.spotify.com/track/5YyetAy34sgROhslaW3BZc?si=hG57XW9VT3CknvlbUPgMJg
Romero, Dennis. “The Worst Slur for Mexican-Americans Is Still a Mystery for Some.” NBCNews.com, NBC Universal News Group, 1 Feb. 2019, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/worst-slur-mexican-americans-still-mystery-some-n959616.
Zonkel, Phillip. “Mexican Band Wants English Speakers to Listen, Too.” Banderas News, Nov.2005, http://www.banderasnews.com/0511/ent-molotov.htm