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Various Artists: Proibidão C.V.: Forbidden Gang Funk From Rio de Janeiro

Various Artists: Proibidão C.V.: Forbidden Gang Funk From Rio de Janeiro

Label:Sublime Frequencies
Release Date:2008

By Raven Baker | Posted 1/2/2008

With Proibidão C.V., Sublime Frequen-cies, a label known for sparsely contextualized compilations of scavenged global obscurities, treads into more familiar territory--baile funk, aka funk carioca. The genre, while far from mainstream--even in its home country--has nonetheless become fodder for DJs outside of Brazil, bolstered by the success of Bonde Do Rolê. Indeed, anyone familiar with Bonde's take on baile will recognize the Miami bass samples and manic rhyme schemes showcased in this collection.

But, lascivious lyrical content aside, Bonde do Rolê sound downright innocent compared to the gritty starkness of the tracks presented here, complete with police sirens and electronic sputters emulating automatic gunfire--the hallmark flotsam of urban gangster music. Little wonder: The C.V. in the compilation's title stands for Comando Vermelho, Rio de Janeiro's dominant drug syndicate of the '90s, which reputedly bankrolled the parties where these recordings were made.

Divorced from its live setting and with the same handful of beats recycled throughout, at times the collection grows tedious. Still, there's enough pathos in the raw and discordant vocals to keep Proibidão C.V. from being a mere curiosity: Just when the rhymes have settled into a near singsong rhythm, the lull is rent by guttural yelps more akin to Minor Threat than typical electro fare. The bravado and anger of the nameless MCs needs no translation--clearly this is party music for an audience with problems intractable even on the dance floor, a bittersweet clarion that any who have rallied to Rod Lee's club hit "Dance My Pain Away" will surely understand.

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