One of the simple pleasures of being a rap fan is the passionate level of debate and analysis you can engage in with a fellow nerd at any given moment around any given album – old or new.
I definitely don’t have the same debates around Brazilian music.
I rarely subject my favourite vintage records to the same level of scrutiny that I subject the music I grew up with.
And the reason is simple, really.
Being a first-hand witness to the rise and popularity of hip-hop culture gave me context for the significance of most records that came out during a certain era.
A new rap fan might still have an appreciation for Ice Cube’s “Death Certificate” but without an understanding of N.W.A’s “Fuck the Police”, the Rodney King video or the rising level racial frustration in Los Angeles in the early 90s, some of the album’s impact might be lost.
Some of us can debate the importance, significance and impact of certain records from the 90s because we were there.
I can’t do that with Brazilian music from the 70s because I wasn’t there.
I can certainly google Jorge Ben, Elis Regina, Azimuth or any of my favourite musicians from that era but I’m essentially relying on a simplified Wikipedia-like lens on history to give me my context.
And that’s just not ideal.
So my connection to the music of Brazil is based on a very simple criteria: energy.
Good energy to be specific.
It’s an energy I’ve connected with from the moment my father played “Chove Chuva” by Sérgio Mendes and Brasil ’66 on his Dual CS-506.
And it’s an energy I connect with every time I hear the music of Gal Costa, Luiz Eça or Banda Black Rio emanating from my speakers.
There’s something about Brazilian music that just makes you feel good.
The moods, melody, the orchestrations, the arrangements.
There’s a reason all three of us have Brazilian records in our collections.
And maybe even more in our wantlists.
That good energy.
You don’t need to speak Portuguese to appreciate it.
Hell, we’re just happy it’s around to appreciate.
You could probably sum up our feelings on Brazilian music with one word:
1. Lo Borges – Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser
2. Dom Salvador – Guanabara
3. Gilberto Gil – 2001
4. Jorge Ben – O Homem da Gravata Florida
5. Gal Costa – Vou Recomecar
6. Wilson Das Neves – Jornada
7. Azimuth – Faca de Conta
8. Waltel Branco – Jael
9. The Bossa Tres – Zelao
10. Tim Maia – Primavera
11. Wilson Simonal – De Noite, na cama
12. Joao Donato – A Ra
13. Milton Nascimento – Cata Vento
14. Tamba 4 – Zazueira
15. Sivuca – Inquietacao
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