The scene is fast becoming one of the most prolific and powerful in the world.
Since the 1980s, when the genre began causing a stir in the favela street parties across the slum-ridden city of São Paulo, the Brazilian hip hop scene has been growing irrepressibly.
Now, according to Vincent Bevins in this weekend’s LA Times, the genre is reaching MTV-spotlighted levels of importance in the country, as a “new age” is dawning for the injustice-fighting South American MCs, including prominent figures Criolo (pictured) and Emicida.
In a similar surge of popularity to the one seen by American hip hop almost twenty years ago, Brazilians of all cultural and class backgrounds are now taking notice of a genre that was once confined to only the most marginalised groups in their society.
Rapper Emicida tells Bevins in the LA Times feature, “We used to be able to buy pirated copies of ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ from the street dealers around the community… But English is a much more monosyllabic language than Portuguese, so you [English speakers] can find different lyrical solutions whereas we have to employ some more clever subterfuges… Our poetry is different, but the themes were the same: the ghetto, the margins of society, drugs, violence, ascendance.”
Stream Criolo’s biggest hit, ‘Não Existe Amor em SP’ (“Love does not exist in São Paulo”) below, and read the full piece here.