A Seleção do Gringo, Part 2
The second part of my Blogariddims funk mix enters a crucial moment in Rio's funk culture: the shift from Volt Mix to the tamborzão (big drum). Maga Bo explains the shift from looped Miami bass beats (mostly of DJ Battery Brain's "808 Volt Mix", held aloft by my man Cabide DJ here) to a new riddim, for lack of a better term, built on the Roland 808. It has become the quintessential funk sound, and definitely its prime sonic signifier for the rest of the world. If reggaeton is the boom-ch-boom-chk, funk is the BOOM-bdoom-boom-boom-boom-boom.
Unlike in Jamaican dancehall, which really cycles through the riddim method, tamborzão is pretty much the sound in contemporary funk. (Not that you can't try and draw lines in between, cf MPC's excellent Baile-Dancehall Mixtape.) It's gotten to the point were some younger funkeiros don't even recognize Miami bass loops as funk. The genre's short memory is definitely an unfortunate phenomenon I've encountered. You can buy funk antigo compilation CDs at the Uruguiana market downtown and I saw one "velha guarda" (old guard) funk show advertised that I missed this past summer, but on the whole it's relentlessly fixated on the newest tracks, newest MCs, newest freestyles about what was going on in the neighborhood during the last week.
Bo describes it as "a big dry sound that works really well on a massive sound system in a mostly open air space." He couldn't be more right, as it's the tamborzão that really shakes up the sound system at a baile funk. This is the beat that does it all up in Rio's hills.
Tamborzão Ruling the Nation
6. Pé de Pano Interlude
Keeping with the Blogariddims exclusive vocal drops, Pé de Pano prepares for the tamborzão explosion.
"Se tu quer vim, pode vir, vai ser bem vindo
Tá tudo mundo ligado na Seleção do Gringo
Tu tá ligado quando eu canto eu não me engano
Para quem não me conheçe eu sou o MC Pé de Pano"
(If you wanna come, you can come, you're welcome
Everyone's connected to the Seleção do Gringo
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)
7. Pé de Pano - Ela Tá Querendo
He segues right into his own track, a nice little dancefloor burner. "Eu não posso passar, ela não pode me ver, ela tá querendo aperecer (I can't get through, she can't see me, she's wanting to make an appearance.)" Borrows an upbeat sample from a '90s American dance hit (I forget the name but I feel like it was ubiquitous at the time) at the end.
8. MC Rose (prod. by DJ Byano) - Nova Holanda
This came from one of the few pirated CDs I've bought over the years that yielded mp3s of decent quality, which unfortunately means I don't know anything about the artist -- never again came across an MC Rose (or a DJ Byano). But the Nova Holanda favela is one I know something about, having paid a visit to the Complexo da Maré in late July. As a complex, or big group of a favelas, it has some notoriety, the rude awakening that greets visitors coming off the Linha Vermelha highway from the airport and into downtown. It's home to a large concentration of Rio's Angolan population (although I couldn't find much on Masala's behalf) and according to MC Rose, the "bonde pesadão (heaviest gang)."
I like this song's mix between Volt Mix and tamborzão beats, as well as the liberal use of Miami bass samples (Hassan's "Pump Up the Party" especially). It bridges the two riddims well and the production definitely has a sense of funk's roots in it.
9. Unknown - Mangueira Remix
Grabbed this from the many gigabytes of funk I've been besieged with by the mysterious DJ Zezinho. I try to avoid unknown artists as much as possible, but even a little Google Brasil hasn't turned up much. The track is worth slipping in for a minute or two, though, because the refrain "Mangueira: Verde e Rosa" refers to the most famous samba school in Rio, Mangueira, and its colors, green and pink. Funk and samba have always been an interesting comparison in my mind, mostly because despite vast musical differences, they've evolved similarly in Rio. Samba had to take refuge in favelas once criminalized in the early 20th century, as funk did in the '90s, but both in turn became wildly popular. Will funk be parading down the Sambódromo anytime soon? Doubtful. But they're not the exact opposites they might first seem to be.
10. Deise Tigrona - Injeção
I originally had no intention of bringing in this song, embroiled as it is in questionable sampling practices (to my knowledge, early releases with "Bucky Done Gun" didn't credit Deise, but later ones did). Flipping through a CD case that DJ Edgar gave me as a parting gift, however, I took a liking to this version for putting the first word "Quando" through a serious sonic blender that isn't on the other version I've heard, which I guess comes from the Mr Bongo comp.
"Injeção" was pretty popular, from what I understand, and is a great example of funk's playful sexuality. "When I go to the doctor, I feel a little pain / I want him to give me an injection, look how big the doctor's is / the injection hurts when it pierces / it's rough when it enters." You get the idea.
Plus, of course, those horns -- a great segue out of the sample in the previous track and into . . .
11. Unknown / Montagem de Rocky
Another Sou Funk EP track, what they call "Rocky Theme" is basically a monatgem (montage), an instrumental mash-up by a DJ. And there's just no hope of finding the person responsible for this one. Montagens circulate like mad, and while every DJ has his own style, using the same material over and over doesn't lend itself to distinction. For what it's worth, Cabide DJ does claim to be the first DJ to use the horn sample. He told me he found it on a CD of cinema soundtracks and thought it sounded cool. That's all it takes . . . I tried explaining the path that led it to M.I.A. and funk's ensuing American popularity, but it didn't really register.
12. Bonde do Vinho - Labirinto vs. Vem Cá Nenem
Another great example of sampling on the it-sounds-good principle. Bonde do Vinho are something of a funk boy band and the song, which relies heavily on The Clash's "Rock the Casbah," doesn't appear to make any reference to its source material. The song is all about meeting some cute girl at a baile, telling her she's gotta dance with everyone in the band, etc. But "Rock the Casbah" is a universally acknowledged dancefloor hit, so why not bring it into the mix? I don't know who produced the song or where he came across The Clash, but it was definitely a fortuitous combination. That said, it's one of very few instances I know of rock or indie being sampled -- there's a Smiths track floating around that I still haven't heard, but I think it's a rarer phenomenon than otherwise represented.
13. DJ Edgar - Flamengo
I'm still Flumninense de coração, but there just aren't any Flu-themed funk remixes. So it's with a certain sense of futébol treason that I bring in Edgar's remix of the Flamengo anthem. It is undeniably catchy, I admit, and the most common football anthem remix I've heard played live (although I know they exist for Botafogo and Vasco, the other major Rio teams).
14. MC Sapão - Diretoria (Radio Mix)
This track has been hot since since I was there last year, probably earlier.
"O natural do Rio é o batidão
A playboyzada e os manos do morrão
Funkeiro é nós com muita disciplina
(What's natural to Rio is the big beat
For the playboys and the boys from the big hill
Funkeiros are us with lots of discipline
15. Beto da Caixa - Blindão
Beto dropped the Blogariddims introduction and now I've got a proper track for him. Blindão, which comes from the word for 'armor', is slang for the code of conduct in the favelas (don't steal, don't snitch, don't take someone's girl, etc). Easily my favorite track from '06, I can't get enough of the half-gunshot sample and the chorus "tenho fé não tem o medo, a gente sempre no blindão (I have faith, not fear, we're always in blindão)."
16. Mr Catra - Vem Todo Mundo (Remix / Bass)
Oh Mr Catra, an endless enigma. He is the closest thing to a star that the movimento funk has, trying very hard to straddle a sense of favela roots (even though he grew up in middle-class Tijuca) with national and international success -- having toured Europe a couple of times. He now lives waaaay out in the Zona Oeste of Rio, a nice new house with a pool and plenty of seclusion. It's sort of like a funk pousada (a pousada is a Brazilian guesthouse, usually located in the countryside or in small coastal towns), with a constant stream of DJs and MCs passing through for their brush with greatness.
That said, most of his itinerary is playing huge clubs -- or his favorite, small brothels -- and continuing to wreck his voice by smoking obscene amounts of marijuana. I interviewed him in '06 and he was smoking blunts from when I arrived until when I left, only stopping to take a break for lunch. I began to think this summer that he may just not be worth the hype, but he's still got some classic tracks. "Vem Todo Mundo" is probably his biggest hit and I really like the 909/handclap combo in the background of this remix, which I got off the album "Proibido Para Menores de 18 Anos" (Prohibited for Minors Under 18).
Even Brian Eno has weighed in: "Catra is apparently known as the James Brown of the Booty Beats. It's from brazil, of course, and features the dirtiest and most musical laughter I've ever heard on a record."
17. Menor do Chapa - 1969 Vida Louca
Here's one MC I wish I'd had the chance to meet. He looks like a scrawny white guy with glasses, BUT . . . he churns out the most vicious proibidão funk. Singing exclusively for the Comando Vermelho, as in "1969 Vida Louca", which opens with a brief history of the founding of the CV. At the same time, he's pretty popular with a very high-tech website, a pretty good indication of funk's ascendancy since the days of rough Volt Mix proibidão cuts that had to remain anonymous.
Round 3 Coming Soon: Post-Baile Funk