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Rio de Janeiro's music scene enters new depths with a surprising sound

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Young generation of rappers celebrate hip-hop culture in Rio de Janeiro

Something big is brewing in Rio de Janeiro. The monthly hip-hop block party called Black Santa was recently staged near the peak of the Prazeres favela, on a hillside above central Rio.

MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Twenty-two-year-old Renato Cantanhede, who attended the party, explained that he quit law school to focus on his growing career as a rapper. "Today, hip-hop is what is happening in Rio," he stated.

Hip-hop first surfaced in Brazil during the 1980s in the low-income outer suburbs of Sao Paulo. Today, Rio's youth celebrates one of the most exportable American cultures, hip-hop. Amateur open-mic events happen across the country almost every night.

Enthusiasts claim this street culture, offers more outlets for expression than samba and bossa nova, which fail to satisfy the yearning from young rappers to communicate their anger and frustration. '


Hip-hop's existence multifaceted social and economic differences within the Brazilian society. However, the grass-roots hip-hop movement in Rio reverses social divisions.

Prazeres ensure an armed police base, which reflects their "pacification" policy. The favela was supposedly placated in 2011, but it was not able to end the drug trade and violence.

According to aspiring rappers, hip-hop gives them a chance at a career; 21-year-old rapper from Belford Roxo said, "I live by rap. I sell CDs and do shows."

He shared that the lyrics he creates reflect the daily life in his suburb. "Prejudice. I talk about politics. Drugs. The reality I live," he said. "Rap shows a lot of reality - the bad reality - that samba does not show."

"Rap does not need censorship. You can say what you want. You can talk about drugs, about sex, about anything openly," said 32 year-old rapper, Bernardo Romero Neto, who was previously a law student."There are no rules."
One huge feature of hip-hop music is the powerful idea of rebellion, and profanity.

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