The title of Emicida’s first mixtape 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. Emicida started as an MC battler, at weekly gatherings in Sao Paulo’s Santa Cruz neighborhood, where he got his name — Emicida combines MC with the Portuguese word for “murderer.” A clip of Emicida bringing another MC nearly to tears has nearly over 1.3 million hits on Youtube. In 2011 he won Best Video of the Year at Brazil’s MTV Awards, and he currently hosts his own rap-themed show on Brazilian MTV.
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.
Photo by Ênio César