He was born in Matamoros but raised in what he calls one of the toughest neighborhoods in the Rio Grande Valley.
“My name is Carlos. I’m from Brownsville. I’m from Southmost, it’s kind of a rough area in Brownsville,” said Carlos Vallejo.
Vallejo is also known as “Big Los,” the Narco Rapper. His sound gives the vibe of a Latino Notorious B.I.G. or Big Pun.
“They can relate to what I’m saying,” Vallejo added. “Kids in the streets. Parents not taking care of their kids. Drugs, stuff like that. The song that got me out there was ‘Strictly for my Raza.’”
Growing up in a single parent household and living that street life eventually landed him behind bars.
“Would you say this is what helped you turn your life around?” Asked Local 23 Anchor, Brenda Medina. “I believe so. Music is therapy… you inspire other people,” said Vallejo.
“Big Los” is no stranger to the bloodshed across the border. The raging drug war which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands throughout the years.
“Bosses in Mexico started asking, ‘hey that’s Big Los he raps,’ added Vallejo. ‘I want him to do a song for me. How much does he charge?’ “First of all, I didn’t want do that.”
But his songs like “Alto Calibre” feature a jailed member of the Gulf Cartel. “Have you ever gotten any threats?” asked Medina. “I rather not talk about that. I rather not talk about that.” Yes, I have gotten threats, but I rather not talk about it, my family might be listening,” Vallejo said.
Big Los has taken Spanish hip hop and corridos and merged it with what’s now known as narco rap.
“But then they offered me money and it was good money,” said Vallejo. “But when they come knocking at your door and you don’t know who they are and they’re like, ‘Hey, here’s a phone call,’ and then they tell you, ‘I’m so, so and I want you to make a song for me.’ And they be like in a nice way, ‘hey don’t worry about it. Like, don’t trip because I know where you live. We come in peace,’” described Vallejo.
He’s one of the highest paid narco rappers, charging $5,000 for what’s known as dedications. All eyes are on Big Los, his Mercado Negro label and the Rio Grande Valley, following a feature spot on the big screen.
“He was the first to have his song in a major motion film,” said Santiago Martinez, Big Los’s manager and president of Mercado Negro. “Sicario (2) made 21 million within the first 5 days, and we were a part of that. So, it was a blessing.” “It’s unbelievable, I can’t even believe it sometimes,” added Vallejo.
As he continues to evolve, his mission is to reach more people through his music. Keeping kids off the streets and showing the positive side of the border. It’s a dream come true for “Big Los,” what started as buying music equipment for his brother, is now his career. Helping him earn a living with his passion for music and love of the Mexican culture. He tells Local 23, the drive behind his passion comes from his young daughter.
He has a packed schedule this year, including being a part of the spring break festivities in South Padre Island and in Austin, TX at SXSW.