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Racionais Mc's

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São Paulo, Brazil (1988 – present)

Racionais MC’s is a hip hop group based in São Paulo, Brazil. Mano Brown (Pedro Paulo Soares Pereira), Ice Blue (Paulo Eduardo Salvador), Edy Rock (Edvaldo Pereira Alves) and DJ KL Jay (Kleber Geraldo Lelis Simões) formed the group in 1988. Each member hails from the ring of favelas (slums) around São Paulo locally called the periferia. Their lyrics combine themes of social justice with gangster imagery, a far cry from the idyllic breeziness typically associated with Brazilian music.

Racionias MC’s first appeared on the Zimbabwe label compilation Consciência Black (Black Conscience) in 1988. Their songs Pânico na Zona Sul (“Panic on the Southside”) and Tempos Difíceis (“Hard Times”) offer a snapshot of favela life with lyrics vividly depicting rampant police brutality, racism, poverty, and crime. The group released their first album, Holocausto Urbano (Urban Holocaust) in 1990. The EP included the two songs from Consiência Black along with three new tracks dealing with themes of loose women and institutionalized racism. The group played several shows around the city and state of São Paulo over the next two years, including two shows at the FEBEM (Fundação Estadual do Bem-Estar do Menor) juvenile detention center and a special show with Public Enemy at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera.

Racionias MC’s gained national attention with their participation in the Ministry of Education’s ARAPensado e Educação (loosely translated as “The Rap Thinking and Education) program in 1992.

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