Pedro Navaja: The Most Famous Knife-Wielding Pimp

As a child, I was not allowed to listen to "devil music." I remember borrowing a Playero 38 cassette from one of the high school kids in the supermarket where my father and I worked. Whenever my father wasn't around, I would pop it in the radio and listen to a young Daddy Yankee and to Grupo Nisse: "marijuana, bun, bun, that's what my flight attendant has to smoke, so she can get horny for me on the plane; that's what my nurse has to smoke..."

My father walked in half-way through that song and shouted: "what the coño is that vaina!? Do you understand what he's saying?" I understood, but didn't want to translate from Puerto Rican to Dominican because although it wasn't devil worship, the content was still raunchy. However, I can truly say that I was not at all influenced to smoke marijuana, and that today I am not a satanist. Nonetheless, my father angrily shut the radio off and made me return the cassette. Reggaeton was too new, too foreign, too scary; a plain-spoken salsa was the way to go.

If the adults around me were listening to something, then I'd be exposed to it too.  A few months after the Playero 38 incident, my father bought a bootleg VHS of a movie adaption to one of his favorite songs: Pedro Navaja. I was instantly hooked to the extent that I wanted to change my name to Razor Ramon, just to let everyone know I was so badass that my name was a weapon.

A lot of the other kids in my elementary school were also hooked after I passed around the VHS. We knew all the words, more so than Playero 38:
"Through a corner of the old neighborhood, I saw him pass. With that demeanor that tough guys have. With both hands in his trench coat so no one knows where he carries the knife. [He] wears a wide-brimmed hat slightly to the side and comfortable shoes in case he needs to start running, dark sunglasses so no one knows where he's looking, and a gold tooth that shines when he smiles. About three blocks from that street corner, a woman is walking the sidewalk for a fifth time, and she enters a hole-in-a-wall to get a drink and forget that the day is slow and that there are no clients for work.

A car slowly passes by. It's unmarked but everyone knows it's the police. Pedro Navaja, always with his hands inside of his pockets, smiles and the gold tooth is seen shining. As he walks he looks to each street corner and not a soul is seen, the entire avenue is deserted, when suddenly the woman exits the bar and Pedro Navaja squeezes a fist inside of his trench coat. He looks side-to-side and quickly but without making noise crosses the street, and the woman on the other side was angry because she didn't make any money to eat. While she walked, she pulled out a revolver from her jacket, she was going to put it in her purse so it wouldn't bother her, a .38 Smith & Wesson that she carries on her so it frees her from all evil. And Pedro Navaja with knife in hand jumped on her, the gold tooth illuminating the entire avenue. As he smiled he mercilessly plunged the knife, when suddenly a shot was heard like a cannon, and Pedro Navaja fell on the sidewalk while he heard that woman, revolver-in-hand and mortally wounded, tell him: 'I thought today wasn't my day, that I was doing badly, but Pedro Navaja you are doing worse, you are not up to anything.'

And believe me, people, that although there was noise, no one exited, no one was curious, no one asked questions, no one cried. Only a drunk bumped into the corpses, he took the blade, the gun, some money, and left stumbling while singing off-key the chorus and message that I have brought:
[Chorus:] life gives you surprises. Pedro Navaja, you street killer, live by the [iron] sword die by the [iron] sword. You brave fisherman, the hook you threw did not catch a sardine, but a shark. If you were born to be a hammer, from the sky the nails will fall on you. 8 million stories in the city of New York,  I like to live in America!"

So, I couldn't listen to Daddy Yankee going off about weed and sex, but I could listen to Ruben Blades immortalizing a brutal pimp, and then claiming that he enjoys living in the US because of all the stories. Though the song is set in New York with presumably Puerto Rican characters, the movie was shot in Mexico with Mexican actors. Jennifer Lopez was criticized for portraying Selena, a Mexican singer, and Marc Anthony was also criticized for portraying a Dominican in "In the time of the butterflies," but no one complained that a Mexican played a part reserved for a Puerto Rican pimp. No one complained because the movie was extremely well-made, especially considering that it was shot in the 80s.

In the movie, the relationship between Pedro Navaja and the sex worker is fleshed out. The drunk that stumbled into the corpses also plays a central role: he is the one that [spoilers] sells Pedro Navaja the gun, and Pedro later gives it to the sex worker. The drunk is in essence the one that closes the loop of destiny, the one that delivers the proverbial nails. 
Pedro's dance style is also quite iconic; he doesn't really dance salsa, he just paces while the woman moves, proclaiming throughout the movie: "it's my style."