MEXICO CITY—One of Mexico's most famous rappers, El Millonario, has been arrested for murder.
Authorities allege that César Suárez, aka Millonario, was involved in the death of a 29-year-old male on the outskirts of the northern Mexican city of Monterrey in July. Little information has been released about the crime but the Nuevo Leon State Attorney General's office stated in an announcement that the deceased male died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Millonario, which means millionaire in English, is perhaps best known for being a frequent collaborator of Cartel de Santa, arguably the biggest Mexican rap group of all time.
Both Cartel de Santa and Millonario hail from the border state of Nuevo Leon and are considered pioneers in the Mexican gangster rap genre, often called Rap Malandro. “Malandro” does not directly translate to gangster, and is perhaps best translated as “thug”, but it is the Mexican version of gangster rap.
The 36-year-old Millonario first appeared as a protege of sorts of Cartel de Santa after the group exploded onto the Mexican rap scene with the release of their self-titled debut album in 2003. He appeared on a few Cartel de Santa tracks in the ensuing years, before dropping his debut album in 2012 on Cartel de Santa's record label. One of the album's songs, “Éxtasis” featuring Cartel de Santa and W. Corona, became a massive hit and instantly put Millonario on the map.
Often rocking gold chains and huge sunglasses, the heavy set and bearded Millonario is instantly recognizable with his gruff voice reminiscent of 2000s era DMX or Ja Rule. His solo tracks and collaborations have received hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. Recently, Millonario has maintained relevance by appearing on tracks with the biggest young names in the Mexican rap scene like Adán Cruz, Santa Fe Klan and Alemán. In 2015, he played a prominent role as a narco in the independent Mexican film Los Jefes—The Bosses—written by Cartel de Santa founder MC Babo.
Along with party tracks and love songs, Millonario frequently raps about street life. His videos often depict him as a gangster, like the video for “Casco Nazi” where Millonario totes a gun while running a drug dealing operation surrounded by armed men. In another 2019 video with Alemán, the two MCs drive around in a dune buggy surrounded by scantily clad women holding a wide variety of guns. Millonario raps about how he prays to the Virgin Mary “to give me aim to hit the head of the son of a bitch” who shoots at him mercilessly. A voice in the background then says shortly after, “I shot him in cold bold,” using the Mexican phrase “bala fría,” or cold bullet.
But while Millonario became a staple of Mexico's gangster rap scene and writes ambiguous songs about drug traffickers, he's generally steered clear of the dangerous sub-genre known as “Narco Rap,” where rappers are paid to write songs called “dedications” about cartel members.
Narco dedications for prominent drug traffickers first emerged in the traditional corrido genre in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and only recently began appearing in rap in the last dozen years or so. The first Narco Rap dedication is believed to be El Tigre, written and performed by Babo of Cartel de Santa, for a member of the Gulf Cartel. While Cartel de Santa also stayed away from making additional narco rap dedications afterward, the dangerous genre boomed in the past decade in northeastern Mexico, principally in Nuevo Leon and neighboring Tamaulipas state.
But according to authorities, Millonario recently found himself on the wrong side of the law and was arrested on October 15 while eating lunch in a restaurant in Monterrey. Hours after the news broke, Cartel de Santa posted a link to Facebook of the March 2021 video for the song "TUY" that features Alemán, Adán Cruz, and Millonario. In the song, Millonario raps, “Like an exploded bomb, I leave you in the hole, to kill them. I'm callous.”
Last week's arrest wasn't Millonario’s first run-in with the law, according to the Nuevo Leon Attorney General's statement. They noted that Millonario had previously been arrested in 2017 after being involved in a car crash that killed a 20-year-old woman.