In the favelas of Brazil, a unique street culture has emerged from the neon-lit car stereos lining the local block parties known as fluxos. The sound booming out of these improvised soundsystems is known most commonly as Funk Proibidão, which translates to “strongly prohibited.” Proibidão shares certain sonic and lyrical characteristics with Miami bass, early electro and cumbia, and every weekend, thousands of youths gather at fluxos in Brazil’s major cities to socialize, dance, and party.
True Panther Sounds is excited to share the music of this movement, with probidão’s torchbearer MC Bin Laden’s É Grau EP, coming out 12th May (digital) / 23rd June (limited 500-copy vinyl pressing) via True Panther Sounds / Remote Control Records. MC Bin Laden, aka 23 year old Jefferson Christian dos Santos Lima, is the reigning ruler of São Paulo’s Baile Funk scene.
Born in the impoverished Vila Progresso neighbourhood of easternmost São Paulo, Jefferson began rapping as a teenager, mostly on youtube. His life changed in 2014 when he released ‘Bin Laden Não Morreu,’ a breakout track heard throughout the fluxo street parties of Brazil’s favelas. MC Bin Laden performs Funk Proibidão, a contemporary version of the reigning archetypal sound of the favelas, Funk Carioca. While early incarnations of the Funk Carioca sound were rooted in Miami Bass, Proibidão is a striking and skeletal reduction. Beats composed of beatboxed vocal samples, and industrial sounds that bang and rattle alongside lyrics more concerned with describing the harsh realities of Brazil’s favelas than with booty-shaking. MC Bin Laden’s breakout single, ‘Bololo Haha,’ distilled the palate even further, utilising a bombastic combination of motorcycle revs, barking dogs, and cocking artillery sounds.
The aggressive result, coupled with a dynamic video showcasing MC Bin Laden’s brash style, won him notoriety in the streets of São Paulo, in addition to the support of international djs and producers drawn to his progressive and deconstructed club music. His vocals, which favour percussive phonetic delivery to complex lyricism are sometimes funny, sometimes grim, and always convey the often complex and contradictory truths of life in favela.
In 2016, MC Bin Laden’s single ‘Tá Tranquilo, Tá Favorável‘ became a breakout his of Brazilian Carnivàle. Its video, which featured him shirtless, jubilantly prancing around the beach, launched him to an entirely new level of prominence, garnering hundreds of millions of Youtube views, festival bookings, daytime talk show appearances, and more. The É Grau EP marks the first time that some of MC Bin Laden’s biggest tracks (hugely popular in Brazil, but still relatively underground around the world) and seldom-heard rarities alike will be available on vinyl.