Brazil’s MV Bill raps politics, pandemic in new album

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazilian rapper MV Bill’s new album is equally clean and aged-university, whole of rhymes on 2021 politics and the pandemic, but also the same problems he has been chronicling in the favelas for 33 many years.

At 47, Alex Pereira Barbosa — his genuine name — has acquired the correct to simply call himself a veteran of Brazilian rap considering that his 1988 debut as a teenage hopeful straight out of Town of God, the Rio de Janeiro slum designed renowned in the film of the same identify (2002).

In some strategies, a large amount has modified given that then: the kid from the neighborhood has obtained fame and acclaim not only as a rapper but an actor, Television set presenter, author, producer and documentary filmmaker.

In other methods, practically nothing has: the artist proceeds to are living up to his stage name — the MV stands for “Mensageiro da Verdade,” or “Messenger of Fact,” a nickname he was supplied by pals — with pointed lyrics on the poverty, violence, corruption and lack of chance that continue to harrow Brazil’s favelas as significantly as ever.

His new album, “Voando Baixo,” or “Flying Small,” depicts a Brazil suffering from the twin ills of the pandemic — which has hit the state tough, and inadequate Brazilians toughest — and a broken political method.

His songs are bluntly critical of President Jair Bolsonaro, the far-appropriate leader whose Covid-19 denialism, opponents say, has only fueled Brazil’s soaring death toll — much more than 435,000, next only to the United States.

“We are cockroaches to this insecticide authorities,” he raps on one track.

But the roots of lousy, black Brazilians’ complications go way further more back again, he claims.

“No president in Brazilian historical past has managed to tackle the favelas’ difficulties — shoddy housing, violence, corrupt police, weak healthcare care, broken faculties,” he instructed AFP in an interview.

“I have songs from 1999 that ended up now speaking about these factors.”

– A veteran hits TikTok –

MV Bill’s audio is inseparable from his activism.

He has participated in a long time of social tasks aimed at creating life better in spots like City of God, and is a co-founder of the Central Unica das Favelas (CUFA), a charitable business and advocacy group for the favelas.

He rose to worldwide fame in 2006 with his award-winning documentary “Falcao — Meninos do Trafico,” which adopted 16 promising favela children hoping — and finally failing — to escape the violence of drug trafficking.

His music has significantly the identical grass-roots tactic as his activism.

He independently funds and provides his very own albums.


That has gotten trickier for the duration of the pandemic, due to the fact, like artists the planet above, he has been pressured to give up dwell performances.

“I’m dependent on my fans,” he reported.

With no concert earnings, he has turned to digital platforms “to survive, pay the payments and reinvest in new music,” he said.

He has more than one million regular listeners on Spotify, and is a sensation on TikTok, exactly where his tunes attribute in hundreds of video clips.

“That’s served my new music achieve a substantially young viewers,” he stated.

– Toes on the ground –

His new album is also a remark on dominant tendencies in up to date hip-hop, with its bling, degrading remedy of women and in close proximity to-overall absence of politics.

“Flying Small,” he mentioned, is intended to give a counter-issue to the idea of “flying high:” the wealth-worshipping aesthetic of many current rap albums.


“So substantially of rap now is about income, ostentation, objectifying women, materials issues, pot, alcoholic beverages,” he said.

“Hip hop is a lot far more than that… It truly is respectable for youthful individuals to want to fly substantial. Traveling indicates owning dreams. But you can get off and even now hold your ft on the ground.”