2000 - The year rap broke

Those who expected Brazilian rap to be only a mild fever were wrong: the movement has grown and become an industry

Silvia D
The year 2000 was especially important for the Brazilian rhythm and poetry. While technology is becoming more simple and available and personal computers can be used to produce a record, the music market mirrors the ever-growing easiness to make albums. That situation has fomented the appearance of a true industry in the city of São Paulo, with rap groups, producers, clothing designers, magazines, radio and TV shows. The release of hundreds of rap albums in the past couple of years has broken down solid distribution barriers, reaching expressive sales figures. Pop music definitely incorporated the style, rocketing groups like O Rappa and Charlie Brown Jr. to stardom.

The history of rap within the music industry in Brazil started out in 1988, when the album Hip Hop Cultura de Rua was released. At that time, groups like Código 13 and Thaíde & DJ Hum helped establishing a green-and-yellow aesthetic approach to a style that was regarded as interesting for black and poor communities only. Twelve years later, Brazilian rap has evolved so greatly that it inevitably invaded the media. Two thousand was the year when, through the entertainment industry, the suburbs invaded the system.

Ever since the group Racionais MCs sold a million copies of their album Sobrevivendo no Inferno ouvir 30s(1998, Zâmbia Records) - which not only put down the FM prejudice against independent music, but did it with 8-minute long songs - hundreds of rap discs have been released in Brazil and occupied their space in the market. Of course, that didn't happen overnight, so many of the names who rocked the rap scene in 2000 did it with albums released in the previous year.

Chill out
The most evident example is Xis and his CD Seja Como For ouvir 30s (4p/Trama). The high levels of production (by himself and Racionais' DJ KL Jay) quality and technique built bridges between rap, R&B and funk, while alternating social speech and pure poetry. Boosted by the unpredictable success of the song Us Mano AS Mina - over 8 thousand downloads on the Internet - Xis' disc sold 50 thousand copies. São Mateus Pra Vida (Kaskata's/RDS), by the group De Menos Crime, was another album who had its moment come late. With contagious bass and guitar riffs, powerful beats and edgy lyrics, the songs Fogo na Bomba, A Bola do Mundo and Periferia Invadindo o Sistema helped sell 100 thousand copies of the CD. DMC are apart of a posse named DRR, along with groups like U.Negro, Consciência Humana, Homens Crânios and RZO, who have organized a "battle front" to help one another with recordings and productions. Rap das Quebradas, DMC's latest release, has not yet had time to be appreciated by the public, but it brings a unique sound concept and has everything to make it... next year.

Besides these, other 1999 albums that shone in 2000 with top production concepts were: Traficando Informação (Natasha), by MV Bill; O Pesadelo Continua, by Detentos do Rap - first band to make an album inside the Carandiru jail - (Fieldzz); As Aparências Enganam (Virgin), by Jigaboo, who had the song Vai Pirar on heavy rotation on FM stations, and Brazil 1 -Fazendo Justiça Com As Próprias Mãos (Zâmbia), with lyrics written by the former drug dealer Escadinha and turned into music by the cream of the Brazilian rap crop: Xis, Bill, 509-E, Consciência Humana, Visão de Rua, etc.

A good example of how the styles' aesthetics penetrated into the daily lives of the big cities was the invitation received by MV Bill to star a TV campaign against the destruction of phone booths, performing a rap that he wrote special for the ad. The videoclip for the song Isso Aqui É uma Guerra, featured in the album Versos Sangrentos, by the group Facção Central, was taken off the air due to its explicit violent images (the kidnapping of a middle-class family that ends up with the killing of one of the hostages), but the expected discussion about censorship did not happen.

With a big help from community radio stations, some space on the television and specialized magazines (Rap Brasil, Hip Hop em Movimento, Rap Rima), new gems have come to light this year: Como É Triste de Olhar ouvir 30s by the group from Pernambuco, Faces do Subúrbio; Assim Caminha a Humanidade, ouvir 30sby the longest lasting and most respected duo in the business, Thaíde & DJ Hum; the rap/rock/samba hybrid A Invasão do Sagaz Homem Fumaça ouvir 30s by Planet Hemp, and Provérbios 13 ouvir 30sby 509-E, the second rap group to appear in the Carandiru jail. Along with these, SNJ (Atração), by the homonym group, Mallokeragem Zona Leste, by Doctor's MCs (who, with this disc, became the first rap band from the ghetto to penetrate into the realms of a major label), CPI da Favela, by GOG (from Brasília) and also albums by Da Guedes, Câmbio Negro, Piá, Apocalipse 16, Ndee Naldinho and Criminal D also made lots of noise, in spite of being just a few among dozens of new releases.

The ball spins
And the scene may well get even hotter in 2001. From Recife, the group Sistema X has surprised audiences with the bass/guitar/drums swing present in the album De Rapente. From Rio, the group Veredito do Gueto self-produced the five tracks in the disc Muito Prazer, with carefully picked samples. From Fortaleza, the group Conscientes do Sistema made a CD whose fury was financed by a federal Culture Incentive Law. And one more from São Paulo, named Possementezulu, comes out very funky in the CD Revolusom Parte 1, indicating new paths for the political and social deeds of the rap. Record label Trama deserves to be mentioned here. Along with labels like 4p, Zâmbia, Zimbabwe, Atração, Kaskata's, Raízes and others, Trama has invested with no fear, helping increase, very consistently, the visibility of various artists/groups all over the country.

There were also exclusive ceremonies for the style, such as the Hutus, the Hip Hop Experience and the Hip Hop 2000 awards, helping the language of the streets penetrate into the more conservative media. DJs King, Raffa (both from São Paulo), Negralha, Juan (both from Rio) and KSB (from Recife) were the highlights in the activity which also put together its own festivals and competitions, such as the Hip Hop DJ 2000.

Talking about festivals, they have also been essential for the solidification of rap in Brazil, even getting to be huge: on January 13, the Millenium Rap Festival brings Bone Thugs & Harmony and Lost Boys to play in São Paulo, along with some of the best local acts. To start out 2001 in high gear.

Tracks of the year:
01 - A Bola Do Mundo - De Menos Crime
02 - Paranóia Delirante - Xis
03 - Casa Cheia (Samba Rock Mix) - Detentos do Rap
04 - Vai Pirar - Jigaboo
05 - Soldado do Morro - MV Bill
06 - A Fuga - Xis
07 - Alma Sebosa - Faces do Subúrbio
08 - Desafio no Rap Embolada - Thaíde & DJ Hum
09 - Só os Fortes - 509-E
10 - Caça Pop - Anfetaminas
11 - Sou Negrão - Possementezulu
12 - Muito Prazer - Veredito do Gueto

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