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Ay Ay Ay!

Now all the rich trendy white kids have tired of grime, it's time to introduce another exotic new fad for them to obsess over. How about the sound of Brazil's favelas, a smut-obsessed concoction of electro dubs, booty bass and Brazilian "bandit...
JH
Κείμενο Jaimie Hodgson
1.6.06

Photo by Wesley Pentz aka Diplo

Now all the rich trendy white kids have tired of grime, it’s time to introduce another exotic new fad for them to obsess over. How about the sound of Brazil’s favelas, a smut-obsessed concoction of electro dubs, booty bass and Brazilian “bandit” yelping? All right. For some reason, everyone in the UK has been calling it baile funk, which is wrong. Baile funk is the name used for the parties held in Rio where they play the music. If you ask any native what they call the genre, they’ll give you the same name they’ve had for 20 years: funk carioca. A while back, being the slick, cosmopolitan kinda guy he is, DJ-of-the-moment Diplo started dropping funk carioca tunes in his sets. Before you know it, the cool kids had found their new name-drop. Now Diplo has started his own label, and his first signing is Curitiba’s Bonde Do Role. Vice: Are you favelas rougher than our estates? Marina: Haha, yeah they are. We were walking through this area called Hackley? Rodrigo: Hackney. Marina: Yeah, that’s right, Hackney—anyway, people were telling us, this here is the ghetto. We were like this is not what we call a ghetto. Favelas are like the rows of cardboard houses that began to appear at the end of slavery times in Brazil. Pepole built houses out of paper and cardboard up on the hills, as they couldn’t afford real materials. It’s pretty much the worst thing I’ve seen. So I bet you guys reckon you have the worst cops too, right? Pedro: You have to fear them as much as you fear the bandits. Every time a cop stops you, if you’re rich they’ll try to get money out of you, if you’re poor they’ll kick the shit out of you. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong? Pedro: If you haven’t done anything wrong then they’ll just plant some drugs on you to get you arrested. The cops usually look to stop middle-class-looking kids because they know they can get money out of them. I had to pay 100 reis, which is a third of a month’s wage. From reading the papers it doesn’t seem like the police are having much luck fighting crime in Brazil right now. Pedro: The bandits have so much power and are so integrated into the communities that they are more of a force than the police. They provide more to communities than the police do, and are far more in touch with what’s going on and so demand far more respect than police do. Plus the government are benefitting far too much from drug sales to even think about stopping them. JAIMIE HODGSON