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Brazilian hip hop is one of the world's major hip hop scenes, with active rap, break dance, and graffiti scenes, especially in São Paulo, where groups tend to have a more international style, influenced by old school hip hop and gangsta rap.

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History

São Paulo's hip hop scene is largely influenced by social inequality and racial factors. Rappers like Racionais MC's focus on criticizing the city's unequal wealth distribution, the lack of opportunity given to children growing up in the slums, and São Paulo state's corrupt government, and avidly promote an anti drug-use agenda. Brazilian slums known as favelas are frequently referenced in songs, as more radical types of Brazilian funk and hip hop have been used as a forum to speak out against local, regional, and national issues. Groups such as Cambio Negro and Chico Science adhere to a musical style known as rap consciencia, or socially conscious rap.[1] In the mid 1990's, Brazilian hip hop and funk were advertised to the public as being connected to the drug scene in Rio de Janeiro. Reports in the press around this time classified both styles of Brazilian music as being rooted and funded by the main drug lords in Rio. Part of the speculation of the connection expressed in the reports came from a famous rap that came onto the scene in the early 1990s, entitled "Rap do Borel." Borel, a slum in the neighborhood of Tijuca where drug lorders are notoriously known to operate, was recorded by Brazilian musicians William Santos de Souza and Duda. It has been speculated that subsidized funk parties organized by the Brazilian crime group "Comando Vermelho" (Red Command) were actually parties in which Brazilian youth could be recruited for drug dealing.[1] Brazilian rap, at least as it has developed in poor neighborhoods here in the country's largest city, tends to be highly politicized and scornful of lyrics that boast about wealth or sexual conquests. In contrast, the funk movement in Brazil, also imported from the United States but centered in Rio de Janeiro, is unabashedly about celebrating sex, bling and violence. Since established commercial radio stations and publishing houses have shown minimal interest in the music and poetry that new hip-hop artists are producing, or want to impose contract terms that are too stringent, rappers have developed their own channels to distribute their work. These range from selling their discs and books themselves on the streets and at shows to having the works played on a network of low-power but linked community radio stations.[2] [2]

Brazilian rap has served as a reflection of political, social, and racial issues plaguing the disenfranchised youth in the suburbs of São Paulo and Rio. The lyrical content, band names, and song names used by Brazilian hip hop artists often connote the socio-political issues surrounding their communities. For instance, Racionais MCs were "unanimously regarded as the voice of the suburbs," with songs such as Pânico na Zona Sul (Panic on the South Side) and Tempos Difíceis (Hard Times). Rapper Gabriel o Pensador titled one of his songs "Tô Feliz, Matei o Presidente" (I'm Glad, I've Killed the President), which addresses former president Fernando Collor's corruption-related impeachment.[3]

Additionally, police brutality against poor black youth in Rio and São Paulo is also a salient issue incorporated into Brazilian rap. According to George Yudice, "in 1991 in São Paulo alone, the military police killed 876 street youth."[4] With violence rates of such a devastating proportion, it is no wonder that impoverished Brazilian youth use hip hop as a voice to speak out. Markedly, Pavilhão 9, a live hip hop group, got their name from the exact location where about 100 convicts were murdered by the police inside the Carandiru jail.[3]

In other major cities like Rio de Janeiro and Recife, hip hop also appears in fusion styles. Rio de Janeiro represents the largest urban area of national politics, and in popular culture (in general) in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is portrayed as the headquarters for major corporations of the country's popular music industry. Rio is the most important place for new music composers to gain knowledge of the business, In Recife, manguebeat, a style which was born in the early '90s, mixes regional folk styles as maracatu and coco with hardcore punk rock and hip hop. In Rio de Janeiro in the late '90s, MV Bill opened the way to hip hop. Brazilian funk was considered somewhat naive until its sudden "rediscovery" in 2000s, following the international fad towards the "exotic" style.

A new movement has started to make use of the Brazilian hip hop and creative music scene to keep favela residents out of trouble with the ever dangerous and ever evasive Brazilian drug lords versus the Brazilian police force drug war. A brave new documentary has been made about this subject entitled Favela Rising. The film is a documentary about the group Afro Reggae. Formed in 1993 by Brazilian José Junior, Afro Reggae is a non-profit organization that aims to take young favela residents off the streets and away from drugs through means of music.[3] As a hybrid of traditional Brazilian dance music fused with hip-hop and reggae, Afro Reggae's ultimate goal is to offer young favela residents something to do other than join the increasing ranks of drug dealers. In the face of adversity, the Afro Reggae movement offers hope and leadership to young Brazilians, and has moved from the favelas to actual stage performances, as they recently signed a contract with Universal Records. Their Afro Reggae movement's music features styles also interesting to avid listeners of Brazilian hip hop, as well as other genres too.

There are also artists of Brazilian heritage active in other countries, such the UK grime MC Aggro, who burst onto the scene in 2006 with his hit song, Free Yard.

The aforementioned new movement has resulted in hip-hop stylings finding their way into the sub-culture of youth's throughout Brazil. In the TV series Cidade dos Homens we follow the lives of two best friends who struggle everyday to survive life in the favela and still manage to keep a smile on their faces. One of the mediums used to alleviate stress is hip-hop, although, since most of the episodes occur in Rio De Janeiro their music might be more attributed to Funk Carioca. Nonetheless, it is the Hip-hop mind set and the idea of a "cypha" (a circle of MC's that spit together and maintain a particular tempo without stopping) that is ever incarnate in the youth of Brazil. This is particularly apparent in the episode Sábado. While the young men are re-telling the crazy and, consequently, exaggerated stories of their crazy night, they form a cypha and begin to rhyme. When one of the supporting characters by the name of Alex, breaks the cypha because he gets offbeat, he is rewarded by a barrage of boos.Cidade dos Homens further accentuates the universality of Hip-hop in the character of Larinjhia, who is the other protagonist of the show. When he finds himself feeling trapped by society and by his social status he turns to hip-hop as an escape. Much like the real life documentary of Favela Rising, we see Laranjinha using hip-hop as a way out of gang violence and into positivity and activism. The show also features many actual Brazilian Hip-hop Stars such as Xis and Thaide. The songs written by Laranjhia and Hip-Hop stars shown in the series are often based on the rough lives they faced in the Favela, just like many MC's in the United States base most of their material retelling stories of the places where they grew up. Another episode from the series of Cidade dos Homens that deals with the influence of Hip-Hop in Brazil, specifically in the city of São Paulo, is called "Hip Samba Hop," where the main characters are exposed to the magnitude of molding that Hip-Hop has caused in that community.

In addition to the above, periferia and marginalidade are some of the most prominent cores of Brazilian hip hop. In reference to Derek Pardue's article[5] it is arguable that that most hip hop promoters from the all major hip hop groups around Brazil, several years after the birth of hip hop in Brazilian society, were not very successful in co-modifying their understanding of slum reality within the domestic music economy hip hop promoters in Brazil understand it to have a high sense of reality or one being real/truthful. Thus in terms of place prominent places are some of those which in general, are viewed as the "periphery" periferia, which also include residential areas of the metropolitan areas of São Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and so on. This is further supported by Sansone Livio in his article[6] as he talks about the influence of the youth culture in Brazilian Hip hop and funk. One of the reasons why the periferia is a core of Brazilian hip hop is because, the periphery/periferia turned into a mid-20th century boom of industrialization and place for migration. Additionally, it is also understood to have neighborhoods that vary significantly with regard to safety, architecture, community organization, and services rendered.

During the period 1985–1995, many Brazilian black pop musicians were quite active in the local adaptation of African-American musical trends such as funk and rap. While rock music in Brazil has been associated predominantly with the white middle class, funk and rap are heavily supported in big cities by people (and especially teenagers) of the lower socioeconomic class, primarily blacks. Funk musicians have frequently commented in their songs about the race relations in Brazil and have expressed black pride openly. Radical types of funk and rap meanwhile have been used mostly for sociopolitical messages about local, regional, or national issues.[7] Brazilian rap, at least as it has developed in poor neighborhoods, tends to be highly politicized and scornful of lyrics that boast about wealth or sexual conquests. The funk movement in Brazil is unabashedly about celebrating sex, bling and violence. The rap scene in Brazil is a way for artists to express their political oppression, while funk music relates more to the part of American hip-hop scene of drugs, sex, and violence.[8]

Artists

Films

References

  1. ^ Behague,Gerard. "Rap, Reggae, Rock, or Samba: The Local and the Global in Brazilian Popular Music (1985-95)." Latin American Music Review 27, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2006): 79-90.
  2. ^ Behague, Gerard. "Rap, Reggae, Rock, or Samba: The Local and the Global in Brazilian Popular Music (1985-95)." Latin American Music Review 27, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2006): 79-90.
  3. ^ a b AllBrazilianMusic: the music from Brazil
  4. ^ Yúdice, George. "The Funkification of Rio." In Microphone Fiends, 193-220. London: Routledge, 1994.
  5. ^ Hip Hop as Pedagogy:A Look into "Heaven" and "Soul"in São Paulo, Brazil.Derek Pardue Washington University, St. Louis
  6. ^ The Localization of Global Funk in Bahia and Rio." In Brazilian Popular Music & Globalization, 135-60. London: Routledge, 2002.
  7. ^ UNet Login:
  8. ^ Brazil - Hip-Hop - New York Times

External links

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