The Freestyle Prodigy Spreads Beyond Sao Paulo
The title of Emicida’s first mixtape from 2009 tells you a lot about him — it’s called, For a Guy Who Once Bit A Dog For Food, I’ve Come A Long Way. And since 2009, the 25-year old has traveled even further. He’s recorded two more mixtapes, sold thousands of copies through the Internet, and has built a following for a music style that’s just taking off in Brazil. As of 2011, he hosts his own rap-themed show on Brazilian MTV, and last week the brilliant freestyler walked away with the Brazilian MTV awards top two honors — Artist of the Year and Video of the Year.
Emicida started as an MC battler, at weekly gatherings in Sao Paulo’s Santa Cruz neighborhood. There, he developed a rep for slaying his opponents, which is how he got the name Emicida — it combines MC with the Portuguese word for “murderer.” A clip of Emicida bringing another MC nearly to tears has nearly 1.5 million hits on Youtube.
Emicida’s vibe takes us back to the golden age of hip hop, when Nas and Jay-Z were slinging rhyming insults. Like his American counterparts, his flow is relentless, but also precise, his syncopated Portuguese swinging over classic ’90s beats and brass samples. He also shares the classic rap themes of his English-speaking counterparts — his first big single, “Triunfo,” is about owning the streets of Sao Paulo, and “Entao Toma” spins a story about outwitting an enemy. The classic MC is reborn, and he lives in the American hemisphere’s other populous, continent-dominating nation. Could this signal a Brazilian golden age of hip hop? Follow Emicida to find out.
Watch the video that landed him two MTV awards:
Photo Credit: Ênio César