Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brazilian Hip-Hop and Gilberto Gil

There's a really good article at the NY Times this week about the Brazilian government using money to invest in Brazil's hip-hop culture. I could re-hash it here, but it's short and well worth checkign out.

Just as a quick context, Brazilian hip-hop is really not one of the most popular music forms. It is extremely informal (based mostly in the favelas of Rio and especially São Paulo), and many hip-hop artists have a hard time getting recognition or contracts (in another difference, which the article highlights, there are actually four important figures to hip-hop in Brazil: the rapper, the DJ, the graffiti artist, and the break dancer). Additionally, Brazilian hip-hop (prounounced "heepee-hopee"), being based in some of the poorest and most repressed areas of Brazil, is extremely politically charged (in all of these ways, it isn't so different from early hip-hop in America, though the parallels only work at the most general levels). For those interested, you can check out a few songs/videos by MV Bill, one of the bigger politically-based rappers here in Brazil. And check out the Times article. It does a good job of showing how the Brazilian state is aiding cultural expressions of the poorer sectors of society, even while some hip-hop artists are distancing themselves (perhaps rightfully) from this state involvement.

Anyhow, check out the article and the music.