In the past year, Mexican singer/songwriter Peso Pluma has gone from an unknown to the second most-streamed Latin artist on Spotify, trailing only Bad Bunny. His trap-infused take on the age-old folk song form of corrido has put regional Mexican music in the global spotlight, and on Génesis, he channels his rebellious swagger into a feisty collection of songs pushing corridos into the mainstream – and the future.

Alongside a wave of Gen-Z acts such as Natanael Cano, Junior H, and Gabito Ballesteros who are updating traditional Mexican genres, Pluma has turned this music of yore into party anthems, love songs, and introspective reflections on life relating to his experiences as Mexico’s biggest pop star. Though Génesis is Pluma’s third album, it feels like his first true outing as a música Mexicana maverick.

Through his songs, Pluma has popularized and embodied the word bélico, which has become Mexican slang for “badass.” He’s in full bélico mode on the fiery “Zapata,” an ode to the strength he’s drawn from Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata to make it “through the fire.” On the feel-good “Rubicon,” he shrugs off the haters, keeps his friend circle small, and enjoys living the high life amidst a bit of banda music brass. “The necklaces that I wear on my chest take care of me / They keep away the jealous and traitorous people,” he sings in Spanish. The most bélico of the bunch is the knockout “77,” which features Latin trap star Eladio Carrión.

Peso Pluma also offers the romantic side to corridos on the sultry “Lady Gaga.” Junior H and Ballesteros, which concerns being enamored by an influencer who wears extravagant shades. On the flip side, “Bye” is a haunting kiss-off to an ex-girlfriend who broke his heart. He sings about numbing the pain with weed and alcohol in an emotional performance which sounds like it came from the depths of his soul.

More adventurous are songs with an alternative rock influence such as the dreamy, Junior H-featuring “Luna.” The fervent guitar chords typically used in corridos tumbados are mellowed out by an emo edge, as both artists ask the moon to watch over their ex-lovers who linger on their minds. “Lagunas” twinkles with a similar charm, as Pluma and Jasiel Nuñez reminisce about past relationships which perhaps could’ve worked out in another galaxy.

Génesis marks the beginning of Peso Pluma’s reign as corridos’ global game-changer. While being inspired by Mexican traditions, he proudly carries his culture forward in a refreshing way which is true to his fearless spirit. As his name alludes to in English, this “featherweight” has plenty more fight in him.