I remember back in the 90’s when I first heard of funk Carioca. It was probably through Xuxa’s TV show. I was a hardcore hip-hop fan and eventually got deep into Brazilian rap, which is saying Paulista rap, because with one or two exceptions coming out from Rio, all the good Brazilian rap artists were based in São Paulo.
People in São Paulo are snobby and look down on Rio de Janeiro and their cheesyness and that was particularly evident in the hip-hop world. Paulista rappers used to make fun and not give any credit to Cariocas because of that silly music they called funk but wasn’t really funk, it was just Miami Bass, which they kept alive throughout the 90’s, way after the Miami characteristic sound was dead in the US and the world. As a result of this, and because of my close relationship with the biggest names in Brazilian “real” hip-hop, I too used to look down on funk Carioca, or favela funk, considering it a stupid local phenomenon that would never go beyond Rio de Janeiro’s outskirts.
Then in 2002 somebody in Great Britain “discovered” funk Carioca and decided to export it to Euro dancefloors and the whole movement gained international exposure. It was then that I finally started paying attention to that music that I used to consider embarrassingly bad and I found many similarities with another type of shanty-town music which I was more familiar with: the Argentinean cumbia villera.
Indeed, favela funk and cumbia villera have a lot in common. Besides being music genres that evolved within the most marginalized sectors of society (while danced to “ironically” by rich white kids) they also share the unapologetic naughtyness of the lyrics that combine criminal life stories, with ghetto pride and explicit hardcore sex.
So it was not at all unexpected to find this record which includes four favela funk songs remixed by neo-cumbia producers from the Zizek camp: El Remolón, Chancha Via Circuito, Douster and my very favorites Frikstailers. Frikstailers have already been experimenting with the Rio sound for a while now (see Baile Frik) so it wasn’t a surprise from them, they are experts in the field and probably pioneers with this music genre in Argentina. The other three are a bit stranger and I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean it in a experimental way, like for example, what Chancha did with his track is way too weird to spin at a Brazilian party, but I will most probably include it in one of my chaotic mixtapes. Anyway, they are only four tracks (plus the acapellas) so listen to them and buy them if you want to, great for this Carnaval times!