Marcelo D2

Apresenta Hip Hop Rio

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Hosted by arguably the most popular rapper in Brazil, Marcelo D2, Apresenta Hip Hop Rio is a compilation that showcases a selection of lesser-known underground groups representing various sections of Rio de Janeiro; a kind of Brazilian Lyricist Lounge project that even follows the format of the original with D2 playing master of ceremonies on a series of interludes as if on-stage between acts. Solo MC Mahal (the son of MPB artist Luíz Melodia) kicks things off with an energetic call-to-arms on album opener "MC's Emergentes," letting off barrages of book knowledge that would make KRS-One proud, between rousing hooks that call for Brazilian MCs to come together and create a strong national identity. Representing Niterói, D2's former comrade in the group Planet Hemp, Black Alien and Speed, flip wicked dancehall-inflected verses over a menacing mandolin loop on "Rude Boy Style." While the MC/DJ duo Inumanos take the old-school route, with MC Aori laying animated shout-raps over a minimalist beat built on pounding drums and '80s-era electro effects. Female group Negaativa spit simplistic party-oriented lyrics over an infectious samba-flavored track complete with vocal samples from Carnaval anthems. The Volta Redonda-based crew, Nucleo Sucata Sound, trade frenetic stuttering verbal jabs over a sparse standup bass-driven loop that recalls Daily Operation-era DJ Premier. DJ Negalha takes his turn behind the ones and twos cutting a series of Brazilian rap and MPB samples over a rollicking drum track on "Aperte Play e Aumente o P.A." D2 offers his own analysis on Rio's hip-hop tendencies on the inspired "A Maldição do Samba," literally "The Curse of Samba." While North Zone crews Artigo 331 and Esquadrão Zona Norte take more aggressive, thugged-out approaches, like Brazilian versions of Mobb Deep or M.O.P., detailing the cold-hearted realities of their hood. Overall, Hip Hop Rio shows and proves that "the Marvelous City" has much to offer in the way of quality rap music, with an even wider range of styles and influences than the country's reigning capital of hip-hop, São Paulo.

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