baile Funk’s most notorious MC, Tati Quebra Barraco, is coming to town this weekend and rumors about the show are flying around my workplace, rumors so prevalent that the radio is repeating them as gospel. Rumors like she’s been arrested for drug trafficking and the show has been canceled, or that there’s a competition for the girl who wears the shortest mini-skirt with the prize of 1000 Brazilian Reals (the equivalent of over three months minimum wage) and that girls who go to the show wearing no underwear at all will be admitted free of charge. None of these rumors were true, but it would certainly have made for an interesting night. The fact that they were taken for true, however, amply demonstrates the prejudices surrounding Baile Funk and working-class culture in Brazil: that many or all favelados are sexually-depraved drug-dealing maniacs.

Tati Quebra Barraco is the most famous funk MC in Brazil at the moment. It doesn’t have anything to do with her talent, though. Tati does have a certain vagabond charm, but her appearances on the prime time soap opera (or novela as they are known here) America has catapulted her to stardom. Soaps in Brazil can command up to 90% of the viewing public on peak nights, and that’s no mean feat in a country of 183 million people, so the exposure to the Brazilian public that Tati has enjoyed is staggering. The denizens of the Baile Funk scene can’t be too unhappy: the genre is back on the map at a national level unprecedented since 2001.

Tati is due to play two shows on the same night: one in an expensive country club for the offspring of the city’s privileged and another in a venue across town for the rest of us. The latter is, of course, the more interesting option with the participation of various baile funk DJs from Rio de Janeiro. Expectation is high and the large cavernous venue fills up quickly. The curtain opens and three DJs immediately start pumping the crowd with a booty version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” before hurtling into a breakneck paced set of baile funk hits. One-minute snatches of familiar samples and riffs are inter-cut with reoccurring punched in loops. The crowd screams along to the gloriously catchy sing-a-long choruses while girls dance in circles, a hand on each knee as they grind their thrusting pelvises lower and lower to the floor.

Halfway through the set “Popozuda Rock n’ Roll” belts out its molten brainless riff, the DJs extend the riff until finally letting the vocal come in with its equally brainless refrain. “Popozuda Rock n’ Roll” is an interesting phenomenon, originally recorded by punk rock hip-hop group De Falla from Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil—it was the key track on the similarly themed album Miami Rock 2000, an album that took the hybrid of crunchy heavy metal guitars and bouncing baile funk beats to the extreme. Upon its release in 2000, the album was universally panned by critics that didn’t realize that the album was just a few years ahead of its time.

Back in the 80s, De Falla were already incorporating innovative trends into their music, their first two albums were full of punky funky guitar accompanied by manic scratching. But after the relative failure of the inventive Miami Rock interpolation (it sold 28,000 copies, a measly amount for a Sony release), producer and leading voice behind De Falla, Edu K, found his band left on the shelf with no outlet for his new material. Then Popozuda was picked up on two defining compilations; the first Favela Chic collection and Favela Booty Beats on Essay Recordings, directly leading Coca Cola in Germany to use the track in its ads. Berlin based Man Recordings, run by Favela Booty Beats compiler Daniel Haaksman, have just released a vinyl of “Popozuda” remixes. There’s a Cure sampling Diplo mix, a classic old school baile mix by the man behind Mr Catra’s beats; DJ Sandrinho, and a startling Reggaeton/Baile funk mash-up remixed by Edu K himself. The mix is itself a taster for the new Edu K album set for release on Man Recordings in March 2006. The tracks have all the punchiness of “Popozuda” combined with the swing and sass of reggeaton. Guest MCs include Deyse Tigrona who appears on “Sex-o-matic” taunting us with her feistiness and her insatiable desire for sex while Edu’s programming pops, blips, and skips.

Anyway, back to the show and the rather corpulent MC Tati Quebra Barraco has just taken to the stage. Backstage Tati was tense, chain smoking and looking down at the floor; onstage she doesn’t look any more comfortable. She turns her back to the audience a few too many times and her outspoken vulgarity, for which she is famed, rarely if ever appears. One of Tati’s biggest hits is based on a pretty crude and childish wordplay. She sings of going into a store because she needs to buy an oven and then tells us that a certain brand is good, pronouncing the brand name to sound like “up the arse” and then repeating ceaselessly that “up the arse is good.” This, along with the unsubtle metaphor in Deyse Tigrona’s hit “Injeção,” of how the “needle” hurts as it goes in but she can take it, reflect the Brazilian obsession with anal sex, a subject that is explored in great and insalubrious detail in many baile funk tracks.

In fact “Injeçao” was sampled by MIA on the Diplo produced “Bucky Done Gun,” the trumpet refrain itself sampled from the Rocky soundtrack. “Injeção” was produced in DJ Malboro’s studio, and while “Bucky” originally didn’t credit the track, copies now have to mention its inspiration. Marlboro was invited to do a remix of “Bucky” by MIA’s label XL, probably to smooth over relations between them, and turned in a cracking carioca take on what was a gringo’s version on favela funk.


Edu K

DJ Marlboro, of course, has been one of the main players in taking funk abroad. He has played all over Europe; Britain, Germany, France, The States, and even China, but he has no label outside Brazil—he tours but has no product to push. His Brazilian label, Link Records, and sound-system, Big Mix, are the biggest players around. It wasn’t always his way, Furacão 2000 used to be the dominating sound-system and their compilations always had the biggest baile hits on them. However, during the 90s they were besieged with problems; drugs, prison and the married couple who ran Furacão, Rômulo and Verônica Costa, split up, allowing Marlboro’s team to take over the market. Ever the resourceful businessman, Marlboro recently bought out rivaling sound-system Pipos, giving himself and Big Mix an even larger market share.

Marlboro just invited Diplo to play with him at his residency in São Paulo. Diplo and MIA are currently in Brazil soaking up funk vibes. MIA played at a huge corporately sponsored festival in October (clearly not the best place to see her perform) where she invited Deyse Tigrona to join her onstage. Deyse proceeded to completely blow her offstage, showing her who the real MC was (admittedly she was on her home turf). Deyse is currently cleaning houses for a living, MIA is the international toast of critics everywhere.

But there is international hope for Brazilian based MCs. Just take Mr. Catra, who recently played some electrifying shows in Berlin and Poland. This highly religious ex-drug dealer is a fervent weed smoker, with various wives, and innumerable children. His gruff rasping tone and intoxicating stage presence is unmistakable and his use of the favela language along with his tales of favela reality make him one the most popular rappers in Rio. Witnesses to his shows in Europe also testify to the ecstatic reaction he causes, creating a near authentic baile funk atmosphere in wintry climes. Mr Catra could very well be the first ghetto-superstar to come out of Brazil. He has but one stumbling block; he is one of the main purveyors and a defender of Proibidão, funk based raps bigging up the local drug gangs, and there is a rather zealous councilor in Rio intent on outlawing this style and all who perform it.

And so back to our show with Tati Quebra Barraco, she closes with the title track to her latest CD “Boladona” (Link Records) which brazenly samples “Love Story” by Layo and Bushwacka. The crowd seemed to like it, they certainly danced enough and we even had a minor stage invasion, but I expected more from the person who Marlboro has called “the woman of the future”. The beats and samples were there, Tati’s brother Márcio is responsible for the programming, but the attitude that proudly proclaims that she now earns enough to pay for the motel when she picks up a guy isn’t. Perhaps Tati’s painfully honest lyric that has become her famous catchphrase “sou feia, mas tô na moda” is all too true. I’m ugly, but I’m trendy.

Links
Man Recordings
Tati Quebra Barraco
DJ Marlboro


By: Andy Cumming
Published on: 2005-11-21
Comments (7)
 

 
Today on Stylus
Reviews
October 31st, 2007
Features
October 31st, 2007
Recently on Stylus
Reviews
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Features
October 30th, 2007
October 29th, 2007
Recent Music Reviews
Recent Movie Reviews
buy viagra online
buy viagra online
buy viagra online
online casino