Christian Nodal, left, and Gera MX have one of the biggest hits of the year with “Botella Tras Botella”.
Photo: Universal Music Latin Entertainment / Universal Music Latin Entertainment
In just one month, “Botella Tras Botella” has become one of the greatest songs of 2021.
The sad to drink song, released in late April, paired Mexican rapper Gera MX and Mexican regional singer Christian Nodal and made history as the first Mexican regional title to hit the Billboard Hot 100. It topped the charts. Global 50 from Spotify and totaled 170 million from YouTube. views. At Apple Music, he is in the top 25 in several cities, including Houston.
The creation of “Botella Tras Botella” was a kind of accident. Gera MX and Nodal live in the same neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico, and have become “compas” (buddies) because of their love for Mexican hip-hop group Akwid and for drinking songs. They were at Gera MX, brewing a carne asada and gaffing, when the inspiration came at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were playing on the patio with a ball, doing some header shots, and whoever dropped the ball was standing against the wall, and you were lucky enough to hit it. My cousin was making something to eat; I remember it well. Then Christian played the guitar, “Botella tras botella ando tomando” (bottle after bottle that I drink), but he only had the melody, not the lyrics. I turned around and said, “That’s it!” He said, ‘No, I have five that are better,’ and he stayed there, ‘says Gera MX.
They ended up in a nearby studio, where drinking continued and writing became an outlet for feelings.
“At 1 am, (Nodal) said, ‘Let’s see, let’s record it then.’ I started to play with the melody of the guitar. We have moved some parts. We had tequila. And that’s how the song was born, ”says Gera MX.
Gera MX is an established rapper who has been making music for a decade in Mexico. His first album, “Precipicio”, was released in 2013. His stage name is an abbreviation of his first name, Gerardo, and MX stands for Mexico. Nodal is a superstar of the genre whose sound mixes norteño and mariachi. He won three Latin Grammys and released his album “AYAYAY!” Last year.
“Botella Tras Botella” is the highlight of their career to date. It’s made even smoother for Gera MX because of its regional roots.
“Regional Mexican music gives me power. It reminds me of my roots; it protects me. When I go somewhere and people ask me about it, it really feels good to identify with something, even if it’s not specifically you, your country, your people, who is. taken to new levels, ”he said.
Nodal, who frequently plays video games on Twitch, teased a few seconds of the song during a livestream but had no intention of releasing it. A fan recorded it (of course) and uploaded the clip to TikTok, where it quickly went viral. Thousands of users have taken videos of themselves singing the love lyrics while drinking their favorite alcoholic beverage.
Soon after, fans of both artists started pushing them to release the full song. It’s an effortless mashup of their two genres that doesn’t feel forced or cheesy.
“Hip-hop culture is something I respect and admire tremendously. The fact that this song is so authentic makes it even more special. It had an impact that neither Gera nor I anticipated, ”says Nodal.
Gera MX says he knew something different was happening as soon as the song was released. He refreshes his screen in disbelief as he racked up millions of streams, convinced that something was wrong. But he was cemented soon after in person.
“I was in Sinaloa, in Mazatlán, and we went through the promenade. People in a club sang him like he was 6 months old. That’s where I got it, ”he says. “It was about time, after many years of fighting. The first two days I couldn’t even sleep because it was so energetic. I’m not used to this. In the rap world, I’ve been doing well for a long time. I am very comfortable. But this time it felt global.
The success of “Botella Tras Botella”, in addition to being the definition of a viral moment, underlines the need for solidarity of people in a world not quite post-pandemic. Drinking songs are perfect vehicles for connection – strong songs and like spirits and lots of people, even if it’s through computer screens.
The ubiquity also means that many ears will be ready for the follow-up. Another song, the pop-flavored “Wiken” with singer Ramon Vega, is gaining momentum. But Gera MX doesn’t seem worried.
“I don’t want to be frustrated and think, ‘The next song didn’t break a world record, I’m sad.’ I want to enjoy this song, sing it live. I sincerely believe, even if it sounds a bit cheesy, that this song has a soul. I wrote it to someone in particular, with a first and last name, ”he says. “It’s like when we listen to a song from generations past and you say, ‘This song hurts me too. I have been through this. I know how the person who wrote it felt. I think this song is one of those cases, at least in my lyrics. People, when they hear something very human like that, get hooked. It’s like that famous saying: ‘I smell you, my brother.’ “