I’m back in NY now, feeling cold and understimulated after a week swirling around in the joy-misery-apathy-hedonism smoothie of Rio de Janeiro. I brought a lot of music back with me, and it’ll take a while to sort through it all. But just to put an end point on it I want to post some songs from the trip. I’ll start with the one I heard most of all…

MC Pojeta – MSN

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MAN this riddim. I can’t even count the number of times I heard this shit. The thing I like about it is the fact that it combines a weird Bobby McFarenesque organic rhythm with sounds from our futuristic age of instant messaging and robot pets. Rio’s a place of harsh contrasts, so I guess that makes sense. Plus I’m into all the pornographic yelling – but that’s a given. There are so many versions on this track, this MC Pojeta one is as good as any.

Here’s a slightly different version over the same beat. Baile is notoriously sexual music, but if you don’t speak Portugese it’s hard to know just how horny/amused/offended/confused you should be. This song is good because it removes words for the most part and relies instead on the universal language of female orgasm. This is one of my favorites, and there is a very high probability that this joint will open my next mixtape.

Montgem – Aquecimento do tesao

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But actually as baile funk goes, I’m more into the earlier electro-inspired version. So I also bought a bunch of old school compilations with names like ‘Funk Memories’ and ‘Clássicos de Montagens’. A lot of it is bailefied versions of US freestyle and bass music. Here’s a couple favorites from those…

Shy D – I’ve gotta be tough (baile rmx)

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Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Can you feel the beat (baile rmx)

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Which reminds me, one of the pleasant surprises of the trip was my re-discovery of old freestyle songs from my youth. This Stevie B song is STILL getting regular play in Rio. Anyone who grew up in my hometown in 80s with even the vaguest interest in dancing and/or rollerskating knows and loves this joint.

Stevie B – Spring love

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On the subject of classics, here is a funky masterpiece by the late Tim Maia, an artist who I’m just beginning to check out. He covered a lot of genres in his four decades as a musician, and this is from his soul period. This is a where-have-you-been-all-my-life type record for me.

Tim Maia – Ela Partiu

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We also heard some really good samba one night at a huge dancehall outside of which you could buy coke & weed from friendly, very heavily armed teenagers under a little tent. Here’s one of the big samba songs right now…

Exaltasamba – Eu chorei

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While I’m at it, it might be nice to put up some other non-Brazilian songs that I was exposed to during the trip. My friends and I had a couple very potent music exchanges down there, so in that spirit I’d like to, as Barry O would say, ‘spread the wealth’.

Wu-Tang Clan – Life changes

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This song is dedicated to the late Ol Dirty Bastard. I’ve always thought about Wu-Tang as something more than just a musical group. They share so much in common that sometimes listening to a posse cut by Wu-Tang feels like hearing the ravings a single schizophrenic person. I feel that especially on this song where everyone is talking about the same subject and after a while it starts to sound like a catalog of grief.

Jaheim – Like a DJ

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AAAAND on a totally different tip, here’s a smoothed-out club ballad by Jaheim. I’m a fan of Jaheim and in this case I give him special props for coming up with an original metaphor to describe the much discussed subject of love loss. I’m not sure why this song never hit.

And on the subject of love, I want to send out special birthday vibrations to my man Barend, who is currently the most loved up person I know. In celebration, here’s ‘Love is all around’ by King Tubby, a genius over whose music Barend and I bonded a decade ago and who is still ruling.

King Tubby – Love is all around dub

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From Barend’s lady love Aura, I got this jam (and others)…

Bonobo – Nightlite

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And to finally wrap it up, here’s one of the sweetest songs I’ve heard in a long while. It comes from Angola and is a good example of the Kizomba sound coming from there. Love to my man Jeru for this and so many of the amazing songs I got hipped to in Rio…

Kizomba – Cre Voltar

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Light your lighter…

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