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Jenni Rivera in 2009 at a concert in Denver, Colorado (Photo by Julio Enriquez/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic License)

Five years ago next week, Mexican local music superstar Jenni Rivera tragically died in a aircraft crash adhering to a concert in Monterrey. While she fans have rightfully mourned ever before since, the biggest tragedy was that Rivera was just about to walk big-time.

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Again.

The 43-year-old aboriginal of long Beach, California, was already a living legend once she died, having actually succeeded in the macho people of corridos. The one the traditionally saw women relegated to one of two people Madonna or objectified status, however Jenni upended this duality with songs the gladly actors mujeres as atrevidas—a trump “nasty woman.” women not topic to society’s standards, ladies as easy with a gulp of tequila or a beat to one ungrateful male as castle were v a wink. Jenni hailed these ladies, and she did it mostly in the genre of banda sinaloense, the brass tape music that only the the strongest of singers have the right to master.

But Jenni was no novelty act. She openly talked about the battles in she life—domestic abuse, negative husbands, also her weight. Larger generations the Mexicans to be shocked at together raw confessionals. Younger mexicans revered Jenni together their bard, the prima with the huevos to speak the truth. If the American media knew much more about Rivera before her death, castle would’ve compared her to other singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell or Carole King rather of her fellow Mexican-American musical martyr, Selena.

I to be lucky enough to perform two in-depth profiles that Rivera—a 2002 piece for OC Weekly, and also a 2009 profile because that Latina. Rivera was among the few celebrities I ever met who kept every promise she made throughout interviews—she developed businesses for her daughters, a non-profit, and even a television display that alphabet announced just two days before her death. “La Diva de La Banda” could’ve been the Mexican-American Oprah. Instead, she’ll simply live on together an icon.

Jenni’s music continues to be criminally underappreciated by Spanish-language music critics, allow alone identified by English-language writers. Let’s adjust that with these 10 tracks.

¡Música, maestra!

“La Chacalosa”

Jenni wrote this boast about a medicine dealer’s daughter in 1994 as a response to the narcocorridos tape-recorded in that era by she father, Pedro, the man who found Chalino Sánchez. “Nobody believed women must sing together songs, so ns figured I would certainly write one to display that we can.” however “The Jackal Woman” didn’t hit until 1999, ~ Pedro released it come the public. It’s a parody song, with a melody that sounds like Los Tigres del Norte’s “Pacas de a Kilo,” yet Rivera upends mrs conventions even this early. “When ns turned 15/They didn’t provide me a quinceañera,” Rivera roared. “I inherited a business/That would provide me good money.” If only much more families did the same—minus the drugs, of course!

“Las Malandrinas”

Jenni’s first famous song, it caused un escándalo amongst the tías in 1999 since she was glorifying loud, live independence atrevidas who, in a vault era that corridos, would’ve been shot dead (see: “Rosita Olvírez” and also “El Día de san Juan”). Females weren’t claimed to drink and also party! yet Jenni no GAF, and announced to the people that “The bad Girls” were she homegirls, ¿y qué? The track has due to the fact that become a classic, and even much better is the video—long prior to body positivity ended up being a thing, the zaftig Jenni gave much love to all the big girls with bad tattoos, and ridiculed those skinnier ones who dared talk trash ~ above them.

“Parrandera, Rebedele y Atrevida”

The location —“Partier, Rebel, and a Nasty Girl”— states it all. Jenni always experimented v her sound, and here she linked banda v conjunto norteño come both storage women prefer her and also trash fresas—the mean Girls. “Bitter champagne is because that stuck-up hags,” Rivera cracks. “Gimme Tecate with salt and lime.” and they say Beyoncé knows how to throw shade…

“Mariposa de Barrio”

The 2007 Mi Vida Loca album is an underrated masterpiece, with spoken-word passages, disses to she haters, and also shout-outs to she fans. It even memorably captures Rivera ~ above the back cover of she CD walking down the red carpet in one elegant red dress while flashing the “Westside” hand sign. On this track, Jenni subdues her strong voz to match the swaying banda and also look back at she extraordinary life, comparing her trajectory to the of a butterfly. “The caterpillar has actually transformed/her pain right into color,” she whispers. Also the name of a Telemundo novela that came out this year around her life.

“La Gran Señora”

I great Rivera did more songs donate by mariachi, since she could’ve easily become a modern Lola Beltrán or Lucha Villa. Her best mariachi song was this one, in i beg your pardon she dresses under the mrs who’s having an affair v her husband as only Jenni could. “You need much more than just a pretty face/You need more than a human body without stretch marks,” to be the various other woman, Rivera clapbacked. This 2010 show at LA’s Nokia Theater also gives you a sense of exactly how she commanded the stage.

“Por Que No Le Calas”

Now, Jenni addresses the male who’s cheating on her, daring that (“Why don’t you shot it?”) to leaving her. Unlike various other tales of bravado or grief, she speak matter-of-factly around the unfortunately situation prior to her in a way reminiscent that the ideal of José Alfredo Jiménez, who “Que te Vaya Bonito” Jenni name-checks in the chorus.

“De Contrabando”

Now, Jenni’s the other woman—see what ns mean about the mujer to sing her life like couple of others? This soft ballad is a Joan Sebastian cover, but Rivera sneaks in part oldies-but-goodies vocal flourishes, a call back to she “Playa Larga” roots. One of her best hits.

“Ahora Que Estuviste Lejos”

Jenni tasted flexibility after her male left her…and love it. “And now, when you return,” she wrote, “I desire to talk calmly/About the worry of goodbye”—BOOM.

“Basta Ya”

2011’s Joyas Prestadas: Pop (and that banda version) to be the last album Jenni ever before released. It witnessed her try pop standards, and also the ideal one was this Marco Antonio Solís-penned ditty originally performed by Olga Tañón. You understand you’re legit once El Buki himself not only lets you document his stuff, but duets v you.

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“Angel Baby”

Jenni recorded this variation of the can be fried oldie-but-goodie (itself sung through a Chicana from san Diego County) with banda, and also while it’s not the most scintillating tune she ever did, it hinted at Jenni’s revolutionary promise. She manages the standard’s facility chords through ease, and usually performed it in ~ concerts because she knew fans loved the song, too. We didn’t get sufficient of Jenni in English, but we to be going to: she and fellow lengthy Beach indigenous Snoop Dogg to be planning to collaborate ~ above a track. Even five years later, Snoop hasn’t forgotten.