The beauty of street culture is that it never alienates any one style or trend and, as far as artistic expression goes, its about as democratic as you can get. It was out of this mindset that Xarpi, the monthly rap night celebrating a year in the carioca hip hop calendar this month, was born, uniting national talent and exposing city's all over the country to the cutting edge of the metropolis and beyond. Names like Criolo, Flora Matos and Mano Brown
(Racionais MCs) have all been involved, and this month we can add to that list the name Emicida, who plays at the next edition at Circo Voador on the 14th April.
In a male-dominated world, party producers Kel Pastore and Julia Monassa are definitely speaking for the female minority, so Time Out went to hear exactly what it is they're saying...
How did the idea behind Xarpi come about?
Kel Pastore: It started at my birthday party back in 2010. I called a few friends from the rap scene to perform as well as all the arte da rua (street art) people, which i’ve always been a part of. I used to go to all those events in Rio but at the same time I realised that the scene was moving very slowly, not pushing any boundaries. So it was the success of that party which in this old house in Lapa that was the incentive to start a proper rap event. To bring the very best MCs from outside of Rio had always been something I wanted to do, I just needed that push. The idea was to do everything that had not yet been done, and to a high standard.
Is there a lack of hip hop/underground rap parties in Rio?
Kel: Not any more. Rap had something of a boom and since then the city is embracing it more and more. Its a while now that a week doesn’t go by without a good rap night. There are weekends where people have to choose between four going on at the same time.
What is Rio’s music scene like right now?
Kel: It will be better when it starts to touch more people. There’s a lot of rising talent and there’s nothing better than a bit of recognition. Rap doesn’t need to be kept within the ghetto or at low-key parties. It has to break down barriers and reach places where they wouldn’t previously dream of putting on a rap night.
And what about the situation in Brazil?
Kel: It’s great right now, its dominating more and more. Finally MCs are seeing that they need to grow and use all the powers at their disposal. Rap has got more accessible; aggressive music is cool, but so is music about love. Today there is a much wider range of things we can choose to listen to. People don’t want to hear about hardship all day long, we also want other subjects, like everyday things or even about feelings. So no wonder the media is making more and more room for it.
Which artists from Rio and Brazil stand out for you right now?
Kel: Emicida was the biggest factor in the recent changes we’ve witnessed in the rap scene. Also Projota, Flora Matos, Rashid, Rael da Rima, Criolo, Cone Crew, Marechal, Black Alien and many others are really making it happen at the moment.
Emicida headlines Xarpi on Saturday 14 April at Circo Voador