Los Kumbia Kings were a Latin Grammy-winning Mexican-American cumbia group from Corpus Christi, Texas, created by A.B. Quintanilla and Cruz Martinez. 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 the brother of the late "Queen of Tejano", Selena. A.B. played bass guitar for the group, while Cruz, husband of international artist Alicia Villarreal, 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 from 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 K1 (Kingz One), a collaboration of founding members of Kumbia Kings 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 have solved their differences, and announced that the Kumbia Kings will reunite for a series of concerts lasting from late 2009 through early 2010.
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 fourth 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, the Latin Grammy was 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 Los "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 United States. Cruz Martínez 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 2007. Their first single, titled "Muévelo" has topped Latin radio airwaves in the United States as well as Latin America.
A.B. Quintanilla successfully petitioned Mexican courts to claim the naming rights to "Los Kumbia Kings". Fellow Kumbia Kings founder Cruz Martínez never pursued counter 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 Los Kumbia All Starz, and their 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.
Cruz Martínez regrouped and took what was left of Los Kumbia Kings to Warner Music Latina. In late June it was announced that the new venture would be named "Los Super Reyes" with their first album 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, Martínez lured original Kumbia Kings members Alex and Roy Ramírez (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 Martínez to Univision.
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 Kumbia Kings 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 the United States and Mexico. The group is again expected to release another very anticipated studio album early 2009.
Possibility of reunion
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.
As of fall 2009, Kumbia All Starz and Super Reyes feature a combined 18 touring members. Members from both groups that seem to be rooted for the rebirth of Kumbia Kings (according to sources) are A.B. Quintanilla, Cruz Martínez, Jason "DJ Kane" Cano, Alex "PB" Ramírez, Roy "Slim" Ramírez, Anthony "Nino B" López, Abel Talamantez, Chris Pérez, DJ Crazy J Rodriguez, Juan Jesús "JP" Peña, and Ricky Rick.
The reunion concert was held at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico on November 21, 2009. The concert started with guest singer Flex who sang songs like "Te Quiero", "Escápate", "Si No Te Tengo" and "Dime Si Te Vas Con Él". Then Cruz Martínez & Los Super Reyes sang songs like "Tu Magia", "No Tengo Dinero", "Muchacha Triste", "Sabes a Chocolate", "Na Na Na (Dulce Niña)", "Todavía", "Quédate Más (I Want You Back)", "Eres" and "Muévelo". Then A.B. Quintanilla & Kumbia All Starz sang songs like "Mami", "Reggae Kumbia", "Dijiste", "Por Ti Baby" with Flex, performed a special tribute to Michael Jackson and Selena Quintanilla, and "Parece Que Va a Llover". For the grand finale A.B. Quintanilla and Cruz Martínez and the rest of the Kumbia Kings got on stage and sang songs like "Pachuco", "Te Quiero a Ti", "Desde Que No Estás Aquí", "Fuiste Mala", "Dime Quién", "Se Fue Mi Amor", "Azúcar", "Boom Boom" and "Shhh!".
According to various sources a concert planned for early 2010 will feature A.B. Quintanilla's "Kumbia All Starz" and Cruz Martínez' "Super Reyes". With the show culminating with members from both groups reuniting and performing on stage for a "Kumbia Kings" reunion. Rumors persist that Martínez and Quintanilla will reunite early next year and begin production on a 2010 Kumbia Kings album, with original Kumbia Kings vocalist DJ Kane on lead vocals.
- These are the former members who started their own groups, as listed in parenthesis, but who were in the group at some point, as noted in years, before the split while the band was still called Kumbia Kings. They were the only official Kumbia Kings.
- Abraham Isaac "A.B." Quintanilla III – Bass Guitar (KAS) (1999–2006)
- Cruz "CK" Martínez – Keyboards (LSR) (1999–2006)
- Jason "DJ Kane" Cano – Vocalist (1999–2003)
- Francisco Javier "Frankie J/Cisko" Bautista, Jr. – Vocalist (1999–2003)
- Andrew "Drew" Maes – Vocalist (1999–2003)
- Fernando "Nando" Domínguez III – Vocalist (Nando y Solja Kingz) (2003–2006)
- Frank "Pangie" Pangelinan – Vocalist (LSR) (2003–2006)
- Abel Talamantez – Vocalist (LSR) (2003–2006)
- Irvin "Pee Wee" Salinas – Vocalist (KAS) (2003–2006)
- Anthony "Nino B" López – Dancer (Kingz One) (2003–2010)
- Juan Jesús "JP" Peña – Dancer (LSR) (2003–2006)
- Chris Pérez – Guitar (KAS) (2003–2006)
- Luigi Giraldo – Keyboards (KAS) (1999–2006)
- Chris "BotMachine" Domínguez – Keyboards (2002–2005)
- Robert "BoBBo" Gómez III – Keyboards (KAS) (2004–2006)
- Noe "Gipper" Nieto, Jr. – Accordion (KAS) (2003–2006)
- Roy "Slim" Ramírez – Percussion (Kingz One) (1999–2003)
- Alex "PB" Ramírez – Keyboards (Kingz One) (1999–2003)
- Jonathan "JB/Sneak" Barrientes - Vocals / Dancer (Kingz One) (2000-2003)
- Robert "Robbie" Del Moral – Drums (Nando y Solja Kingz) (1999–2006)
- Jesse "O'Jay" Martínez – Drums (1999–2003)
- Frankie "Frankie Boy" Aranda – Percussion (1999–2003)
- Jacob Ceniceros – Vocalist (2003–2004)
- Jorge "Peanut" Peña – Percussion (1999–2003)
- Jorge "Pekas" Caballero – Percussion (2003–2006)
- Carlos Salazar- Trumpet (2003-2006)
- Ronnie "Campa" Delgado – Timbales (2003–2006)
- Amor, Familia y Respeto (1999)
- Shhh! (2001)
- All Mixed Up: Los Remixes (2002)
- 4 (2003)
- Los Remixes 2.0 (2004)
- Fuego (2004)
- Kumbia All Starz "A.B. Quintanilla's new band"
- Los Super Reyes "Los Kumbia Kings' new name"
- Kingz One "band formed by founding members of Los Kumbia Kings"
- Nando y Solja Kingz