Favela on Blast: Rio Baile Funk


Baile Funk rips through you like hot lead. The music of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (ghettos) mirrors some of the most dangerous hoods in the world: chaotic, explicit and fierce as hell. Baile Funk is alive, it’s not just music — It’s a time, a place, a people.

This CD-R, available only through hollertronix.com, was compiled by Philadelphia DJ Diplo during a visit to Brazil in 2004. Diplo, recently gaining notoriety for his role in M.I.A.’s explosive debut, is as much responsible for the global sound of Arular as anyone. In the mix the two released prior to Arular, Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1, Diplo threw in a few snippets of Baile Funk, incorporating it into M.I.A.’s evolving sound and whetting her followers’ appetites for more.

At only 30 minutes, Favela on Blast ends too soon. The booty-shaking Miami bass beats, rudimentary drum loops and Clash samples provide the backdrop for passionate (and apparently dirty) Portuguese rhymes. The emphasis is placed on a danceable beat, but it’s the energy of the kids rapping that makes this such a fascinating listen. These are not perfectly produced FM jams; this is the music of no-man’s land. These are 15-year-old kids doing lines of coke with guns in their back pockets; this is a snapshot of a life not many gringos glimpse.

 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

— Lloyd Cargo

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