Saturday, June 11, 2005

marlboro country 'rap' tunes

smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

After most of the crowd broke North from SOBs after MIA’s show, DJ Marlboro pka Fernando Matta held down the Sounds Of Brazil just lovely. Waiting patiently for a mic he switched between the CD tables bringing the Favela flavors to a ridiculously small crowd (at least relative to images we’ve seen of parties down near the Cidade de Deus).

the rio deal

When the mic arrived he thanked the room (in Portuguese) specifically for supporting the music of ‘the poor people’ in Brazil and proceeded to hand out the booty (no culo). I got the “Proibidao Liberado” collection of ‘carioca funk’ and an eye-catching white mesh t-shirt with Marlboro’s radio station logo, ‘Big Mix: O Mane’ emblazoned as lovingly as my “Whut it dew?”-tee! Wifey crashed the boards to pull down a book called “DJ Marlboro Na Terra do Funk (DJ Marlboro In the Land of Funk)” by Suzana Macedoa for the Colecao Sebastiao series. It includes much ‘baile funk’ contextual information including a turntable timeline, transcriptions from Marlboro’s Big Mix radio show, lists of important DJs and MCs, a list of influential Miami Bass records, snap-shots of producers and fans of the music and even a collection of photos of pregnant party-goers(?). There are pages and pages of culture documented and, if your Portuguese is on point, you will get much more out of it than I did…which is actually quite a bit. The book also included a mix-CD of more favela funk including the Marlboro Medley, giving a taste of an earlier mix by the DJ.

Marlboro’s mix before the MIA set also, naturally, focused on the booty. He included joints that many of us first heard on Diplo's mix and the Favela Booty Beats compilation compiled by Daniel Haaksman. And the set was filled with exclusives, freestyles and one-offs that all contained that distinctive favela old-school-yard type monotone rap and cathartic karaoke crooning. The beats tap sources that would make Prince Paul chuckle, make Missy and Timbo smack themselves with a 'Why didn't I think of that?!?' and make P. Diddy revisit his 'sampling fund.' Loops of Madonna keyboards, 'Grease' basslines and 'Pink Panther' vamps are familiar and goofy but reinvented as serious beat experiments.

A gray-market karaoke-based music scene seems to have almost no chance to hurdle sample clearances into the mainstream. But then again... even the prophet Chuck D couldn't imagine a 'hip-hop record' before 'Rappers Delight.' (Can someone speed the crossover along and get that 'Pink Panther' mix onto the new soundtrack?)

Marlboro has been a force in the scene for well over a decade so it's hard for me to say if he's the 'Kool Herc and Bambaatta' of the scene who revolutionized what went into DJ crates... or is he the 'Red Alert and Marley Marl' breaking the latest joints and facilitating production for an undiscovered commercial audience ... or is he the 'Stretch Armstrong and Funkmaster Flex' becoming the next generation's source for 'street heat.' As hard as it might be to believe... it's quite possible Marlboro has taken on all of those roles.

What I appreciate most from the funk movement in Brazil is the clear enjoyment of the music without the American 'camp' that often accompanies 'retro' records. So if he's coming to your dancefloor please hit it without the chains of irony.

Here is a very informative interview with Marlboro by Andy Cumming from 2003.

DJ Marlboro E DJ Pirata - Feira De Acari (from Na Terra Do Funk)
MC Galo - Vacilou, Levou (from Proibidão Liberado)
Jr. & Richello - Preto E Branco (from Proibidão Liberado)
De Falla - Propozuda R n'Roll (from Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats)
Marcelo 2D - Batacuda (from Favela Chic)

And since we’re in the favela today… side note to clarify: I am not related to Rio’s Rocket…