Brazilian hip hop doesn’t get much of an airing outside of its Latin American homeland and diasporas. A real shame, because the rappers and beat-makers of the Rainbow Nation have plenty to offer.
Pearls Negras, originally from Rio’s Vidigal favella, are a proud example. This female trio, now based in London, is serving up attitude-filled, baile-funk (the dance music borne of Rio’s nightlife) for the party goers who arrive fashionably late and aren’t afraid to tell the host to “bow down”. Still in their teens, Alice Coelho, Jennifer ‘Jeni’ Loiola and Mariana ‘Mari’ Alves rap with a fiery confidence that comes from growing up fast in the often unforgiving slums of their hometown. The beats are punchy, bearing similar elements to soco or bashment (Rihanna comes to mind; though the trio’s own non-Brazilian influences include Beyoncé, Ciara and Nicki Minaj).
Have a listen to ‘Pensando em Você’ (which translates as ‘Thinking of You’), which feels like a summer club jam you could lose yourself to without even realising it, and the empowering ‘Nossa Gang’ (‘Our Gang’) from their 2014 mixtape of the same name.
The girls have been getting some exposure in online arts and culture publications, such as Nowness and, most recently, Crane.TV. If they maintain their colourful, confident approach with the new music they’ve been recording, we may soon see Pearls Negras infiltrate the club scene and more besides.
Image: Bolabo Records/Pearls Negras/PR