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Meet Funketon, The New Genre Where Brazilian Funk Clashes With Latin Culture

A group of new producers in Brazil are blending reggaeton and the rhythms of their country like never before.
June 9, 2015, 2:00pm
Renato Martins

The rhythm many know as Brazilian funk tends to change slowly. Producers have such a hard time including new sounds into the genre that they typically rely on the standard tamborzão beat, used since the late 90s. Almost 20 years later, it's still Brazilian funk's main rhythmic force for most tracks produced within the genre. Nonetheless, in defiance of that repeating pattern (as well as other relevant yet small micro-movements such as rasterinha), funketon has come into existence, mixing reggaeton and Brazilian funk for what many consider a whole new genre.

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While it's just now taking the scene by storm, funketon is not quite as new as it seems. After its godfather MC Papo released "Piriguete" back in 2006, funketon got some attention by means of DJ Perera's production work for Tati Zaqui with the song "Água na Boca," which garnered over 2 million views on YouTube, as well as "Final de Semana" from MC Menor da DS and "Treme Bunda" by MC R1. Here's a quick crash course on everything funketon you need to know.

MC Papo: "Piriguete"

MC Papo, the moniker of Alexandre Materna, 25, told me how the idea of mixing Brazilian funk and reggaeton came into being. "The slang term 'piriguete' was the bomb in Bahia during that time and it just came into evidence while I was doing some reggaeton," he says. "I thought it was kind of a lost funk twin."

Reggaeton has its roots in Central American heritage of a Caribbean and Latin musical culture. It's a genre that comes mostly from the suburbs, accompanied by its own sexy dancing. The word perreo is what Americans would refer to as "grinding."

MC Papo: "Só um Tikin"

MC Papo believes that funketon hasn't exploded yet because there are so few artists making it in Brazil right now. Even so, he is fond of any new artists who delve into the style like Tati Zaqui with the track "Água na Boca." "That can help the movement's growth and unity," says Papo.

MC Papo, photo courtesy of the artist.

MC R1: "Treme Bunda"

MC R1, proudly claims to be a funketon enthusiast. "I think it's perfect," he says. "It's just what was missing in Brazilian funk. Back in the day, producers would only put on a solo or arrangement on top of the beats, but reggaeton really works around the instrumental."
His song "Treme Bunda" was well-received by YouTube dancers and became the theme to its own Desafio Treme Bunda (Ass Shaking Challenge, if you will). There are more than 5,000 videos uploaded by people doing a twerk-like dance proving that funketon is great for dancing.

MC Tati Zaqui: "Água na Boca"

In "Água na Boca," by MC Tati Zaqui, you can hear the influence of some more instruments. Zaqui told us she wanted to come up with something different. "I wanted to create danceable stuff," she explains. "Not straying too far from funk, but [something] that sounds like nothing else at all!"

Even though it's a fairly new rhythm, it's been going over well in her sets. "During the parties, those who know the song start singing, and those who don't, start dancing," she says. Zaqui believes that funketon has the potential to become a much bigger trend. "It's really cool, it sticks in your head and you can't stand still."

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MC Menor da DS: "Final de Semana"

Riding the ostentation wagon, the funketon track "Final de Semana" by MC Menor da DS turned into a hit on the bailes. "The audience responds really well to it, man," Menor says.

With just one funketon on his sleeve, the young MC tells us he was inspired by the proibidão (a genre of Rio funk) track "Castelo dos Horrores," by the late MC Felipe Boladão. "That idea came out of nowhere, the rhythm popped into my head and I started making the song," Menor explains. "I recalled Felipe Boladão's track, which had a similar vibe."

At only 18 years old, Menor (real name: Pedro Henrique) has 800,000 views on YouTube and played a good number of gigs thanks to this song. Still, the producer hasn't decided if he will keep on walking the reggaeton path or delves straight out into the debauchery of funketon. "That was first and only song I made with that rhythm. But I recorded this wild banger that is going to be the bomb."

"Funk is ours," MC Papo says of the entire scene. "It's the result of foreign culture mixing in with our culture. Just as reggaeton is the Caribbean people who were influenced by Jamaican dancehall."

Word.

Renato Martins is based in São Paulo where he gets his perreo on and shares good music on Twitter.
Originally published on THUMP Brasil. Translated to English by Thiago "Índio" Silva.