Various Artists
Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats
Essay
2004
B+



much like Jamaica, during Brazil’s first wave of DJ sound culture two things determined what party to go to on the weekend: the DJs spinning the records and the size of the speakers. And not necessarily in that order. The sound systems of the 1970s, immortalized recently in Meirrelles’ City of God, most often played American music of the time: soul and funk. Their influences were felt deeply by indigenous artists who began to make their own Brazilian form of the music called Movimento Black Rio.

This soon changed, however, as the sounds of American hip-hop and R&B; began to infiltrate the continent in the 1980s, crucially introducing Miami Bass music to the listeners and DJs who already worshipped any music with an intense amount of bass. DJ Marlboro is the acknowledged major bridge between Miami and Rio, bringing back a number of records from his trips to America and producing the first album with bass tracks rapped solely in Portuguese, Funk Brasil.

Since its introduction, the myriad of genres intertwined in Miami Bass: electro, hip-hop and R&B; have all made their way into the melting pot that is Rio Funk. Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats acts as an end, but not the end of this tradition. Here, all of the elements described above: Portuguese rapping, electro, Miami bass and a whole host of others: hip-hop vocal cuts and traditional Brazilian melodic forms co-exist harmoniously for one main purpose: to get you dancing.

On the whole, it works smashingly. Even though the eighteen tracks used here aren’t mixed into one another, the tracks still seem to be mixed because of the respective producers use of the same sampled sounds and pads. The producers, constrained by the fact that they don’t have drum machines and synthesizers to use, are instead masters of simplicity, using old computers and editing the tracks manually there. It gives the tracks a simplistic air, but it also infuses them with the sort of energy that typified the early exploratory days of hip-hop in the early 80s. To the Brazilian producers, this is the early 80s and they’re busy crafting their own mix of the influences that permeate their culture.

That’s why tracks like De Falla’s “Popzuda Rock ‘N Roll” sound so comforting, it sounds like a B-side from the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, and futuristic at once, it also features cut-up vocals that evoke Scott Herren at his simplest. Or why SD Boys’ “Planeta Dominado” sounds like the best thing Afrika Bambaataa never recorded.

In fact, much of what turns up on Rio Baile Funk sounds like the lost link between something old-school hip-hop or electro producers and what Brazilian producers would have been making concurrently in New York or Miami at the time had they been there. The fact that we had to wait a few years to hear it merely makes it sweeter.



Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2004-10-07
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