Kumbia Kings Crew
Cumbias Gruperas

Los Kumbia Kings

The Kumbia Kings were a Latin Grammy-winning Cumbia music group from Corpus Christi, Texas created by A.B. Quintanilla.

Their music encompasses the styles of cumbia (hence their name), hip-hop and R&B. They produce songs in both Spanish and English. The band’s producers from the beginning have been A.B. Quintanilla III and Cruz Martínez.

A.B. Quintanilla is also known as the brother of the late “queen of tejano music”, Selena. A.B. played bass guitar for the group, while Cruz played keyboards. Both co-wrote songs for the Kumbia Kings. Though the group has gone through a revolving door of members in recent years amid controversy and finger-pointing, and the Kumbia Kings of today are vastly different than what originated in Corpus Christi, Texas over 8 years ago, A.B. and Cruz were always the soul of the group.

Gone are original members Frankie J and DJ Kane both who have gone on to significant success as solo artists, as well as the group Kingz1 (K1), a collaboration of former Kumbia Kings members who have defected from the group for reason of “internal dissention”.

Unfortunately, A.B. Quintanilla, Irvin “Pee Wee” Salinas, as well as Selena’s widower Chris Pérez, also decided to leave the group due to that same “internal dissention”. Cruz Martínez kept Los Kumbia Kings but changed the name to Los Super Reyes for legal issues. In October 2009, A.B. Quintanilla and Cruz Martínez announced that the Kumbia Kings will reunite.

Los Kumbia Kings 1999 debut album, Amor, Familia Y Respeto, immediately sold over 500,000 copies and earned them a Grammy nomination. 2001 brought the album Shhh!, which in its first week, was number 2 among all Latin releases, and stayed at the top for almost 2 years. By 2003, the Kings had already earned a nomination for the “Latin Artist of the Year” at The American Music Awards, along with countless other musical awards and achievements.

4 was released in March 2003. It was a bilingual project that brought together innovative fusions of R&B, pop, reggae, hip-hop, vallenatos, and electro-cumbia hits. Latin all-stars, such as Aleks Syntek, El Gran Silencio, Juan Gabriel, and the Grammy-winning group Ozomatli brought extra dimension to the Kings’ already encompassing style. In October 2004, Los Kumbia Kings released their 6th studio album titled Fuego, another CD that, as well, has gone on to sell over 500,000 copies. This album had again saw the Kings meeting the “Gold-Standard” in the music industry.

On November 2, 2006, Los Kumbia Kings won their first Latin Grammy for their album, Kumbia Kings Live (Best Tropical Regional Mexican Album). Unfortunately, this is a bittersweet victory for the group amidst the controversy and love/hate relationship between the co-founders of the band, A.B. Quintanilla and Cruz Martínez, as well as the other members and ex-members of the group. A.B. Quintanilla left the group and early in the summer of 2006 formed “Kumbia All Starz”, a Kumbia Kings styled ensemble that released their first album Ayer Fue Kumbia Kings, Hoy Es Kumbia All Starz in early October of that year.

A.B.’s new group has launched many hits such as “Chiquilla”, “Parece Que Va A Llover,” and “Speedy Gonzales”. They are now touring all over Latin America and the U.S. Cruz Martinez continued to tour with “Los Kumbia Kings” until he decided to change the name of the group he now headed to “Los Super Reyes”. Many of the members of the Kumbia Kings opted to stay with Cruz and released their first album as Los Super Reyes El Regreso De Los Reyes in August of 2007. Their first single, entitled “Muévelo” has topped Latin radio airwaves in the U.S. as well as Latin America.

A.B. Quintanilla successfully petitioned Mexican courts to claim the naming rights to “Los Kumbia Kings”, though there really was not much opposition. As fellow Kumbia Kings founder Cruz Martinez never pursued litigation to retain or share the naming rights with Quintanilla. The name “Los Kumbia Kings” is retired according to Quintanilla, though rumors persist that “Los Kumbia Kings” will resurface at a later date with new band members. “That name will make you money”, so it’s foolish to think that it will not be used again, cites one record company executive.

Quintanilla continues to tour with his group “Kumbia All Starz“, and their self-titled October 2006 release sold well. Plans for a follow-up album have not been discussed, as the group continues to heavily promote and tour their current release, but in the Latin music market where album releases by the biggest stars average about every 15 months, another release by the “All Starz” is expected early next year.

Martinez regrouped and took what was left of Los Kumbia Kings to Warner Brothers Music Group Latino. In late June it was announced that the new venture would be named “Cruz Martinez Presenta Los Super Reyes” with “El Regreso De Los Reyes” coming August 14, 2007.

The single “Muévelo” was released to the public over the internet and radio. The “Super Reyes” ensemble includes cast-offs from the last edition of “Los Kumbia Kings”. And in a surprising move, Martinez lured original Kumbia Kings members Alex and Roy Ramirez (who are also working with their own group Kingz One) to help him out with the project. “They are original Kumbia Kings, so I thought it would be great to have them back, plus they’re family,” stated Martinez to Univision.

What success Cruz Martinez will have with his new project will be closely watched, and maybe answer the question many have been asking for the past year. Where Los Kumbia Kings and their groundbreaking success a figment of A.B. Quintanilla, or a collaboration of countless musicians, personalities, and ideas over the 10 year existence of the group.

So it appears this ends the great “Kumbia Kings Kontroversy” of 2006, with all parties seeming to be at peace with their respective projects. “They may make more money, they make less money being on their own, But I really don’t think this was about money. In fact I assure you it was not about money. I think Quintanilla and Martinez learned one of the harder lessons there are in life. Never go into business with friends or family, because in the end family, friends and business just don’t mix”, said a record executive. Kumbia All Starz has many supporters and among his biggest supporters are Manny and Gil (MP Productions).

Los Super Reyes after their huge success on the first debut album have continue to tour all Latin America and for the first time in King history will be headed to Japan in October 2008 and Spain in November 2008 due to international hit “Muévelo” which has also cerftified the group for platinum and gold record sales between U.S. and Mexico. The group is again expected to release another very anticipated studio album early 2009.

It was recently announced by A.B. Quintanilla and Cruz Martínez themselves that the Kumbia Kings will reunite again. An exclusive interview was given on October 26, 2009 through Ventaneando America.

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