Babylon by Gus is the first solo album by Gustavo Black Alien, the self-proclaimed Ragamuffin Samurai from Niterói, and this 13-track debut constitutes a very pleasant surprise indeed. Even a cursory listen to the album is enough to prove that Black Alien has musical swiftness, depth and class that easily eclipse that of most other rappers, both Brazilian and foreign. The title of the album alludes to Bob Marley's reggae classic Babylon by Bus (with Gus of course being a nick name for Gustavo). Apart from the obvious reggae influence, there are also tracks on which the hip-hop blends with other music styles, such as drum'n'bass and funk. "Perícia da Delícia" even has some elements of Spanish flamenco added to it. Together with the excellent production, the different hip-hop styles form a quite personal, fresh and original sound. Black Alien's well-written lyrics touch on a variety of different subjects such as love, sex, politics, violence, social injustice and crime. All in all, Babylon by Gus is a top-notch hip-hop album by any standards, and quite possibly the best Brazilian hip-hop album of its kind.
Babylon by Gus, Vol 1: O Ano Do Macaco Review
by Philip Jandovský