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Sany Pitbull Unearthed this Insane Mix of 90s Baile Funk

Rescued from his mini-disc collection and online for the first time ever.

Foreign fans of Rio de Janeiro's homegrown funk movement have long grasped for Internet straws: an online mix here, some anonymous MP3s there, and once in a blue moon, a full-on EP or LP. But one name has surely been a mainstay since the sound broke to Northern Hemispheric ears circa 2004: DJ Sany Pitbull.

From leveling the European festival circuit, to mentoring disadvantaged kids at the Red Bull Favela Beat Studio in Rio and designing the iFunk-Se app, he has spent 20 years pushing pushing boundaries locally and abroad. He even performed in London during the 2012 Olympics, as part of the Rio Occupies London artistic intervention (read more on that here).


Today he dropped a gem on his Soundcloud for those craving some history and some context, featuring montagens (mashups or medleys) from the 1994-2000 era, when pure Miami bass gave way to spliced up beats and local shout-outs. He rescued these tracks from his mini-discs (remember those?)—MD players were even more popular than CDJs—when he was a contract DJ with the ZZ Produções soundsystem.

The sound is rough and raw, but ready to go—a precursor to the tamborzão (big beat) that took over after 2000, supplanting the Volt Mix, an electro break sampled and looped from a 1988 obscure release by DJ Battery Brain. He's calling the mixtape Pandora's Box, Vol. 2, which makes sense given that we have no idea what kind of naughtiness will ensue when we share this baby with the Internet. For a little bit of context, I've translated the text that accompanies Sany's mix on Soundcloud from Portuguese to English. Read on and learn up!


"First of all, this mixtape is a tribute to José Claudio Braga, the Zezinho behind ZZ Produções, now deceased, who was the owner of several sound systems: A Coisa, ZZ Disc, O Bagulhão, and Kkreco. I had the pleasure of working with Zezinho from 1995 to 1997 as a contract DJ. He promoted hugely successful bailes funk with his team of official ZZ Produções DJs: DJ Lennon, DJ Marcinho, DJ Sapo Pemba, DJ Tripa, and DJ Xuxa. Myself and other DJs played the extra bailes that they threw outside the official team. Zezinho, who was trained in the military, was a difficult person to deal with and very demanding, but at the same time he was very serious, honest, and professional. I have nothing bad to say about him and it was an enriching professional experience. I miss those times.


With that reflection behind me, this mixtape unearths the original vignettes produced by the ZZ sound system, its radio show, and recordings from its bailes. I had access to all this material at the time that I DJed for ZZ and I've been keeping it all along on MD minidisc, now I'll share it with you all.

One-hundred percent of these montagens, chants, and raps were taken from festivais de galeras (crew festivals). This type of baile funk started in 1994 and was almost totally extinct by the year 1999/2000.

On the Internet, it's not difficult to find info on Miami Bass, the origin of everything (1980s). You can find blogs that talk the Funk Brasil LP and the whole movement to sing in Portuguese. Some blogs even mention the festivais de galeras (what the media called bailes da morte [death dances]). On YouTube, there are several videos with a few scenes of this era, but finding audio of this stuff online is a rarity.

Besides the tribute, the twofold purposes of "Pandora's Box Vol. 02" are:
1) To satisfy the nostalgia of those who got down at these bailes by digging up the original vignettes and songs;
2) To tell a little more about the history and evolution of baile funk.

Festivais de Galera:
These parties, akin to a "field day" at school, had rules and regulations as in any competition. They took place in sport and social clubs in the working-class North Zone of Rio, as well as in the poorer suburbs of the Baixada Fluminense and São Gonçalo on the outskirts of Rio. At each step, the crews had to fulfill a mission:


"Ball Stage," where the crew that brought the most colored balls to the baile won a point, "Queen Stage," where the prettiest girl, who became Queen of the Party, was chosen, "Rap Stage," where each crew would nominate an MC or a duo to drop some rhymes on the theme of their chosen.

An interesting historical curiosity: the duo MCs Claudinho and Buchecha were discovered at the Clube Mauá crew festival in São Gonçalo some time in 1995 with their song "Rap Salgueiro de Niterói." Others famous funkeiros who were "discovered" at these crew festivals include: MC Sapão and Tati Quebra Barraco. One of the coolest components was the "Good Blood Funkeiro Stage," where whichever crew got the largest number of people to donate blood to Hemorio (Rio de Janeiro state agency that collects blood for public hospitals) would win a point… but of course the real winner was society.

Generally these stages had cash prizes and the winning crew from each festival won a free baile on their home turf.

The Songs:
The audience that attended these festivals was over both pure Miami Bass and Brazilian funk sung in Portuguese. They wanted to hear themselves, especially the name of their communities and in the montagens and raps, which generally big-upped the neighborhood and its attraction. Each crew had its chant, no different than what happens in a soccer stadium anywhere in the world. Each "team" claimed that it was better than its "opponents," and that's what you'll hear here.


These chants were collected at the dances where DJs recorded them and then incorporated them into productions in their bedroom micro-studios. Afterwards, they were played at the dances already mixed into montagens (mashups with the vocals overtop Miami Bass beats and spliced with typical funk samples). The best ended up on the now defunct Radio Imprensa FM (the first FM transmitter in Brazil, founded in 1955 by the Khoury family, who in the 80s and 90s played funk carioca and the like about 70% of the time). I

It was sacred for these communities and crews to hear their names sung and mentioned on the radio, a kind of liberation and also an increase in self-esteem, because they were now "famous," known to other crews and throughout the city.

I will not and do not want to enter into the discussion of who was for or against these dances and festivals. Pandora's Box Vol. 02 simply wants to showcase the music, the early era of the art of making "musical collages," the influences of DJs and producers at the time, and the overall musical aesthetic—without any pretense of judging whether the songs were "good" or "bad," nor on the vocal quality of these young people.

This a space to mark an era that was persecuted by the government and the authorities of the State of Rio de Janeiro and criminalized on TV shows. All this happened before funk climbed up the hill and won favor in the favelas—before the glamour, before the Internet, before proibidão… before all the topics that you can much more easily find info about.

It's history—told and shown through real events.

Enjoy it!

Sany Pitbull"

Greg Scruggs is a freelance writer on music, culture, and cities with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. He lives in Brooklyn - @TROPICALISMOrio