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Peso Pluma bests Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny for most streamed YouTube artist of 2023

Mexican singer Peso Pluma performs in concert at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.
Aurea Del Rosario
Mexican singer Peso Pluma performs in concert at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

Peso Pluma is YouTube's most viewed artist of the year in the U.S.

The Mexican music phenom beat out Taylor Swift, Drake, YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Bad Bunny for the number one spot.

Globally, Peso Pluma racked up more than 8.5 billion views on YouTube in 2023.

TheYouTube chart put YoungBoy Never Broke Again in second place, and Drake, Bad Bunny and Taylor Swift at numbers three, four and five respectively.

The 24-year-old's hit song "Ella Baila Sola" with the California-based band Eslabón Armado ranked third on the platform's U.S. Top 10 songs of the year.

The song originally went viral on TikTok and then went on to become the first regional Mexican track to make the Top 10 in the Billboard Hot 100's entire 65-year history.

"I feel humble and grateful that my music has made it to the top spot on YouTube," Peso Pluma said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

Born Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija in Jalisco, Pluma grew up in Guadalajara. He dreamt of becoming a soccer star as a boy. He started playing the guitar at 15 by watching YouTube videos and was passionate about hip-hop and reggaeton music. He aimed to become a rapper.

But, as detailed in a recent story from NPR, "he quickly realized his voice — simultaneously gravelly and nasal — wasn't suited to those styles of music. So he joined the new wave of Mexican Gen Zers who have returned to the traditional country music of their parents and grandparents, putting their own spin on norteñas, corridos and cumbia."

The artist rose to international stardom this year. He won and was nominated for many awards, including the Billboard Latin Music Awards' Songwriter of the Year.

His third album, Génesis, is in the running for best Música Mexicana album at the upcoming Grammys in February.

In an episode of Alt.Latino dedicated to the rise of regional Mexican music earlier this year, NPR's Felix Contreras and Anamaria Artemisa Sayre discussed the huge popularity among mainstream U.S. audiences of Peso Pluma and other young Mexican artists.

"I feel as though this music represents being Mexican-American, wanting to love your Mexican self and struggling to show that," said Sayre. "Everyone finds something to love within this music. And I think it's because we've never been so visible in this country like we are right now."

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Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.