Beat Diaspora: Beats, Buses, Bricks

an omnivorous take on music of the beat-based variety and the urban spaces that nurture it

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Seleção do Gringo, Part 3

Rounding off my mix for Blogariddims, I've got commentary for the final section, which trades in "pós-baile funk" (post-baile funk), a term recently coined by Hermano Vianna, who wrote his master's thesis in anthropology on funk waaaay back in 1988, basically before any track in my mix existed.

I've been reading it this past week in preparation for my own thesis on cultural comings&goings of favelas cariocas and it's been a continuous exercise in reevaluating the stereotypes I've had about the genre's low-tech, low-budget production. In the mid-80s, funk soundsystems were still playing a big mix of American music: disco, soul, American funk, nascent hip-hop. How did they get it? Simple: Find someone with travel agents connections, send them on the Rio-NYC red eye, they'd race around Manhattan for a day buying records, send them back on the NYC-Rio red eye that night. In the pre-Internet, pre-post-9/11 visa days, that was probably the cheapest and most effective way.

Now, 20 years later, funk having evolved through the Volt Mix and tamborzão, it's participating in that global music exchange at a much more equitable level. In the last few years, a considerable number of artists have made the leap out of Rio via albums, singles, and tours. Still small potatoes (cassavas?) compared to the vast scene of MCs and DJs struggling to make ends meet. But, a noteworthy phenomenon nonetheless as it's led to a bigger blending of styles and beats than the straight tamborzão, which at times can get a little rigid in its formula.

18. MC Red Vocal Drop

MC Red isn't a pós-baile funkeiro, just a kid from around the block in Tijuca, but I wanted to share the love on the vocal drops so I had him drop a quick line.

"Eu sou MC Red
Aqui do Rio de Janeiro

É a Seleção do Gringo

Sobre Diáspora de Batidas

(I'm MC Red
Here from Rio de Janeiro
It's the Gringo's Selection
On the Beat Diaspora)

19. Digitaldubs Soundsystem ft. Mr Catra - Se Liga Nelas

Speaking of diasporas, no better example than Digitaldubs Soundsystem, the premiere reggae outfit in Rio. "Díaspora" is even the name of the first track on their album Brasil Riddims (and a proper riddim to boot!)

Their sense of dub and reggae in as rich a musical environment as Brazil is very ecumenical, including some guest vocals from Mr Catra, who made an appearance a little earlier on the mix. In a sense, Catra is the only funk MC I can imagine doing something like this, as he's more or less the only funk MC accepted outside the movimento funk -- I saw him share the stage with samba-rapper Marcelo D2 and he's well-regarded in the hip-hop community, based chiefly in São Paulo.

[I plugged it once before, but Digitaldubs' selector MPC's baile-dancehall mixtape is still not to be missed.]

20. Cabide DJ - My Neck, My Beck (Remix)

Cabide goes wild in his remixes, and his amazing treatment of Khia's "My Neck, My Beck" is a banger through and through.

21. Sandrinho DJ - Medley Yazoo / Nirvana / Indeep

Sandrinho DJ is a great example of the current wave of funk's international minglings. He's a huge fan of Baltimore club, for one thing, which in its way has a lot in common with funk. Also toured Europe and launched Man Recording's Baile Funk Masters series. In my opinion, he mixes Yaz, Nirvana, and Indeep with the tamborzão way better than those jokers from Curitiba. And, more to the point, he does it all from favela do Borel.

The view from the deck off Sandrinho's studio.

22. DJ Phaybo de Castelo - Electro Base

If Sandrinho bringing in Yazoo was any indication, pós-baile funk is starting to hear the beat more in an electronic than a strictly hip-hop vein, a phenomenon that Vianna writes about in the blog post I linked to at the beginning. Even Mr Catra, when I interviewed him, was convinced that funk achieved popularity in Europe because it was heard as Brazilian electronic music rather than Brazilian hip-hop or any variation of global ghettotech. Then again, the open-minded among us are treating all of it as electronic music.

23. MC Xana - Seduzir Você (Rio Neurótico Mix)

MC Xana has been a funk MC for going on decade, battling it out at bailes in and around Cidade de Deus (City of God). But on this track she sings more than raps/chants, perhaps another indication of the direction pós-baile funk is going. Rio Neurótico, meanwhile, is a side project of the Apavoramento Soundsystem (Apavoramento = terror), a kind of hip(ster?) outfit from the Zona Sul. I find their mixtapes kind of lackluster, although the production on this track is pretty nice. That they would be working with an MC like Xana at all is also an indication of how funk's international success has made it more credible back home.

24. DJ Sany Pitbill ft. MC Loura - Troca Aplica

Now to the maestro, DJ Sany Pitbull, who elicited the title "post-baile funk" in the first place for his "Funk Alemão" (German Funk), a Kraftwerk/funk mash-up. His roots in the movimento go back to the earliest days of Miami bass loops, and after 20 years he's a prime example of a talented and creative DJ who wants to take the sound one step further. He speaks at length in this interview about past/present/future.

25. DJ Sany Pitbull - Amazônia

"Amazônia" is my favorite example of Sany's avant-garde funk beats. He brings in a rave synth -- old-style rave apparently being very popular in Amazônia -- as well as some indigenous chanting. His manager told me he's drawing a thematic link between the violence in the Amazon (the Yanomani massacre in particular) and violence in favelas.

He's told me that if he plays this kind of stuff at a baile funk in Rio, people will come up to him and ask "Are you gonna play rave all night?" They really don't recognize the tamborzão beat in it, but they're the tunes he can bring out in Europe. I can't fault him for wanting to take his music in different directions, and if he has to leave Brazil to find an audience for it, so be it.

26. Cabide DJ - Megamix das Comunidades

Back to Cabide, but not really pós-baile funk, I admit. "Comunidades" was an open-ended track that circulated around Rio in '06 -- basically a roll call of favelas that was appropriated by each MC, who in turn namechecked the communities most important to him or her. Cabide puts it into a "megamix", incorporating snippets from a bunch of popular MCs of the day, including Gil do Andaraí, MC Sapão, Menor do Chapa, MC Sabrina, and probably others I don't recognize. All looped over an Aaliyah sample with some very haunting, even emotional strings. No matter where funk goes musically or geographically, I'm convinced its stronghold is still the comunidades that nurtured it and continue to love it week in, week out. It deserves its place in the nu-whirl music pantheon, certainly, which I'm clearly participating in by featuring it in a Blogariddims mix. But no matter how I hard I try to blog in translation, I've gotta step aside in amazement at the crowds sweating it out on a hot Rio night doing it for themselves and no one else -- the rest of the city, the country, and the world be damned.

27. Pé de Pano Outro

I couldn't be happier about having um pequeno freestyle to close it off, c/o Pé de Pano yet again.

então se liga nessa rima
está geral ligado na diáspora de batida
Tu tá ligado vou mandar no sapatinho
Porque o DJ, o DJ é o Gregzinho
o DJ é o Gregzinho

Tu tá ligado quando eu canto eu não me engano
Para quem não me conhece
Sou MC Pé de Pano

Tu tá ligado vou te dar um papo maneiro
Tu conhece o meu funk aqui do Ro de Janeiro
Tu tá ligado igual meu funk tu não viu

Represento aqui no Rio
Represento o meu Brasil"

Humbly, then, watch out for this rhyme
Everyone's hooked up to the Beat Diaspora
You hear me I'm gonna do it discreetly:
Because the DJ, the DJ is Gregzinho
the DJ is Gregzinho

You're hooked up when I sing I don't deceive myself
For those who don't know me
I'm the MC Pé de Pano

You hear me I'm gonna give you a cool deal
You know my funk here in Rio de Janeiro
You hear me funk like mine you've never heard

I represent here in Rio
I represent my Brasil

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At 11/08/2007 9:21 AM, Blogger Timo Santala said...

I featured your mix on my blog, good tracks and exellent stories!
Please read my post as I wanted to talk about some issues on your blog.
Thanks, DJ Rideon

At 11/13/2007 11:29 PM, Blogger Geoffrey said...

Hi, I am enjoying your material on here. I am a doctoral student in saxophone performance, but I happen to be doing a research paper on Baile Funk. Do you have any other suggestions for material to check out? I have been in contact with DJ Rideon already and have collected a lot of stuff from the web. Perhaps you know of something I'm missing though. Thanks

At 11/13/2007 11:30 PM, Blogger gregzinho said...


What are you looking for? Music? Social commentary? I've got tons of materials on funk, favelas, and Rio, so please be more specific.

At 11/23/2007 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

POST BAILE FUNK was a term created to TRY CLASSIFY the work of a LABEL and an ARTIST, working together against the commercial wave in RIO,


--- we now just re-started our LIVE FUNK BAND gigs in RIO ... straight from our first parties at 2004 ...

At 11/25/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger gregzinho said...

Adriana, eu sei tudo disso. Eu o Greg aqui. Te lembra de mim?

At 12/06/2007 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice mix, lots of memories of Rio, thanks. couple of coments - i guess you wouldn´t be playing some of these tracks too loud in Rocinha now - do you think the CV funks are better? or maybe you shouldn´t answer that - but you have any thoughts on if the lyrical content is very different? one other thing you note about few rock samples, but ive heard many funks are still using the dire straits sax sample, either just a few notes or sometimes the whole solo (original song called 'your latest trick').

At 12/10/2007 11:27 PM, Blogger gregzinho said...

It'd be an interesting -- and difficult -- comparative look to consider CV vs. ADA vs. TC proibidão. They're so hard to pin down outside of live recordings and contextual information almost depends on you having been there when they were first performed. CV's a little more prominent because the CV has been around the longest, has indeed captured more of the public imagination. There are thousands of gangs in the U.S., but crips and bloods still carry this kind of mythic connotation.

At 12/19/2007 11:54 PM, Blogger Maga Bo said...

hey, greg,

very nice work here!!!

a small detail...the photo for digital dubs is actually David Cole and Lucas Santanna of Sensorial sound system....

At 12/30/2007 11:56 AM, Blogger gregzinho said...


The photo is more to show the banner . . . I guess that wasn't clear though.


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