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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

J. Patron often wears clothing with the slogan “Puro Oro.” This translates to “Pure Gold”—and that’s exactly what J. Patron is in the local hip-hop scene, as an artist who has opened doors for many others.

J. Patron (Camilo Gomez) came to the United States from Colombia when he was 4 years old and grew up in the Coachella Valley. Local hip-hop artists Provoked and Willdabeast have talked to me in recent months about J. Patron’s hip-hop talents, which developed at an early age during high school during rap battles. In recent years, J. Patron has toured the United States and Latin America, including a SXSW appearance in March.

During a recent interview, Patron explained how he grew up listening to Latin music—and how that went on to meld with his hip hop.

“It was everywhere!” Gomez said. “It was all my parents listened to. There is a cool little Colombian community here in the Coachella Valley, and they would throw parties all the time. I grew up around cumbia, merengue and stuff like that.

“The hip-hop stuff was my influence just being here. Going to school with friends—that’s the stuff we were listening to. As far as the Latin roots go, that’s the stuff I grew up with at home, and I never really had the desire to make that type of music. I was more interested in making hip hop, so it was later on, after a few years of rapping, that I started experimenting and mixing the two, and I realized that people were already doing that. There was a scene already going on in Latin America, so that’s what united me and the cats down there.”

Gomez said he’s always felt attached to his Colombian roots.

“Back in the early ’90s, (the Colombian community) was all over the Coachella Valley. (There were) a few families here and there; everyone would get together and throw stuff,” he said. “Obviously in bigger cities, there are bigger communities. But they would just be really active with the Independence Day festivals and soccer games.

“That’s part of our religion,” he added, laughing.

Gomez said he’s excited about the growing popularity of Latin music in the United States.

“It’s always been there—but for it to be so Americanized, it’s something new,” he said. “They said at the Latin Alternative Music Conference that I used to go to in New York, ‘It’s going to take over, and it’s growing.’ I believed in it, but just this last year, in 2018, it was a crazy year for Latin music, where it’s on English radio stations. It’s opened a lot of doors for me as a Latino making Latin-American Spanglish music in the United States. At first, it was super-hard; nobody wanted that shit anywhere. People were telling me I wouldn’t go anywhere with that. … Now it’s like everyone is accepting of it, and it’s opening doors. It’s truly a blessing to have this wave that it’s having right now, and it feels like it’s only going to get bigger.”

That growing popularity is taking place locally, too.

“It was about three years ago that I stared doing shows at The Hood and the Red Barn,” Gomez said. “Everyone was like, ‘This is predominantly a Caucasian music scene, so you’re going to play rock, some type of country or some other shit like that.’ Everyone (else) was like, ‘Bro! No! Stick to the nation! They are the ones showing you love.’ Even when I was doing shows at The Date Shed, everyone was fucking against each other over it, and I was like, ‘Dude, if these people are opening the doors for me, I’m not going to shut anyone down, and I’m going to take advantage of everything.’ The Hood was like, ‘OK, let’s see what’s up,’ and I did a few shows and brought out a couple of local guys and Giselle Woo, and we threw a sick-ass party. It was like, ‘Boom! There it is!’ We just kept doing it.

“I remember one time we had a salsa night at The Hood, and it was pretty sick,” he said with a laugh. “You should have seen the dance floor; everyone was dancing salsa, and it was insane! At the Red Barn, I was always doing Latin trap, mixing the Latin and the American trap and stuff, and it was a hit; people would jump like a punk-rock show. At first, the venues weren’t what they were now, and since they’ve opened themselves to that, it’s been going really well for all of us.”

However, not all venues have been welcoming.

“I played somewhere north of Los Angeles. I was on tour at that time and … doing my Spanish thing,” he said. “The club owner or whoever it was told me that it wasn’t going to fly there. I said, ‘Well, let me finish my show. I’m still going to get paid, and I just won’t come back here. We’ll both be happy.’ That was a couple of years ago—but now it’s a whole different story. I’m sure if you go back to that place with the same kind of shit now, they’re going to open the doors for people to come in.”

His brand-new EP, My American Dream and Colombian Fantasy, represents a new direction for J. Patron.

“I started working on this EP about a year ago,” he said. “It’s a new genre for me that I’ve always wanted to be a part of, but I never really felt like I was ready: I started working on some reggaeton two years ago, and then officially started to make the EP a year ago; 75 percent of it is reggaeton. There’s one trap song on there. It’s entirely produced by a good friend of mine who goes by Deltatron, from Lima, Peru. I met him at SXSW about two or three years ago, and we’ve been making music together ever since.”

“Even Goldenvoice is throwing more Latin-infused parties up in Los Angeles and now down here, too,” he said. “It’s exciting, and it’s very beneficial to someone like me who is an independent artist to be able to bring home the bacon.”

For more information, visit jpatronmusic.com.

Dear Mexican: Why do so many Mexican women feel so jealous when other Mexican women achieve success? I have to deal with this all the time. Please explain.

A Successful Mexican Woman

Dear Pocha: Because cishet patriarchy—DUH.

Dear Mexican: How do I get over my consciousness about being seen as a “sell-out” for dating a white guy?

I think if I were a receptionist, I’d feel less troubled, but I’m a professional and hate fitting into the stereotype of the successful Latina with the hyphenated last name. Is there any way that a chola from East L.A. and a surfer from Malibu would not be seen as an odd couple?

Loca Pero No Naca

Dear Crazy but Not Trashy: You’re not a sell-out for dating gabachos; you’re a vendida for thinking you’re better than others because you’re a “professional.” A secretary isn’t a professional? Maybe the Malibu crowd thinks you’re a maid, and perhaps the Eastlos crowd thinks your surfer is some hipster douchebag.

Dear Mexican: Why have you all kept Astrid Hadad such a secret? I just saw a show about her, and for God’s sakes! A woman who has a skirt that looks like a huge set of tits? THIS woman really, really needs a bigger audience for her act. Does she ever come to El Norte? Could you ask? Please? She has a wit like a razor for EVERYONE. Pretty cool—if nothing else, get her name out, as she is very cool.

Galloping Gorda the Pavement Crusher

Dear Gabacha: Haddad is a chingona, but there are a bunch of similarly subversive mujeres in Mexican music and performance art, from the days of Lola Beltrán and Gloria Trevi through the late, great Jenni Rivera and Rita Guerrero of Santa Sabina. There’s more to Mexican female art than Frida Kahlo, gentle cabrones.

Dear Mexican: My “Mexican” workmates get very excited to see go see Latin bands. (I say “Mexican,” because some have been here so long, they don’t speak Spanish well.) These people put salsa on the jukebox whenever they get a chance. They clamor for Mexi music at holiday parties. They seem to wrap themselves in the Mexican flag. I’ve seen their record collections, and there is a bunch of classic rock and reggae—but if it has Latin flavor, they’re all over it. They even start speaking with accents. We’re talking post-grad degrees, third- or fourth-generation.

Question: Why can’t they be motivated to see rock or reggae at free shows around town, but get so easily excited about Latin bands?

Bruja in HB

Dear Huntington Beach Witch: Because free rock or reggae shows tend to vale madre.

But I really don’t get your question. So you’re mad that assimilated Mexican Americans like Mexican music? Why aren’t you mad at Italian Americans for worshiping at the altar of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra? Or Southerners for wishing to see bluegrass remain as pure as a mountain spring in the Bluegrass? That’s right: Because they’re not Mexican. To paraphrase the old Annie Get Your Gun song, “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”—anything Americans can do, Mexicans can’t, because we’re just illegal alien savages to them. And they wonder why we planned the Reconquista …

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I’m interested in a job that says it is a plus to have an understanding of Latin, Spanish and Mexican music. I found out names of musical styles such as Tejano, norteño, mariachi, banda, cumbia, merengue, flamenco and so on.

I’m wondering if there is a way to form a “good ear” for the different styles of music, and, if I’m asked, a way to learn how to explain the different styles of music on a structural basis—and know something about the artists in the different genres. I know they have introduction books and CD programs for classical and jazz, but was wondering if there was a similar one for Latin music—or some similar learning method. Can ya help a gabacho out here?

Also: Will this kind of knowledge give me an “in” with the Latin ladies, or does that just come with salsa-dancing?

Gabacho Who Seeketh Knowledge

Dear Gabacho: True story: An amigo of mine once texted me that he was going to a Romeo Santos concert and wanted to know who he was. I immediately texted back that he was going to chichis heaven: There would probably be 14,999 shrieking women—all of them 10s—to see the bachata superstar, and he’d be the only straight male. He replied that he wished he knew that information beforehand, because he had taken a date to the concert: “A 10,” he wrote, “but I’m surrounded by 12s!”

For the last time, men: Women in general love to dance, but it’s a requirement to love music if you want to bed a mexicana. You need to learn the slow groove of a cumbia, the flips of salsa, the hip-shaking beauty of meringue. You’ll need to know a proper waltz or polka to be able to dance to norteño and banda sinaloense—and all of it will lead to choni-melting abilities.

I’m not going to direct you, Seeketh Knowledge, to any books or CDs to learn Latin music’s many grooves, but rather urge you to become a quinceañera crasher—cute second cousins for días!

¡FELÍZ BIRTHDAY, ¡ASK A MEXICAN!

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of this infernal columna—10 pinche years already! The Mexican is not much for retrospectives—that’s a gabacho thing—but I do want to take a moment to offer thanks to a couple of cabrones: former OC Weekly editor Will Swaim, for giving me the idea for the column; Vice Media chingón Daniel Hernández, for writing the Los Angeles Times profile that changed my life; Scribner, for printing ¡Ask a Mexican! in best-selling book form; mi chula esposa, for all her support and pickling my peppers (and that is not a metaphor); Tom Leykis, for hosting a call-in-version of ¡Ask a Mexican! all these years (subscribe to his podcast at www.blowmeuptom.com); all the haters, whose vile words remind me why I started writing this in the primera place; my friends and familia, for the obvious reasons; and the Albuquerque Alibi, for being the first newspaper besides my home periódico to have the huevos to run the column. Lastly but not leastly: ustedes gentle readers, whose eternal curiosity about Mexicans makes this weekly rant an eternally rollicking bit of DESMADRE. To the next decade or 50!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican