Today’s New York Times examines Brazil’s government-sponsored Culture Points program, which provides financial and creative support to those working within the realm of hip-hop. Led by musician Gilberto Gil, the program educates would-be rappers on the finer points of music, dance, graffiti; but much like here in the states, there’s debate over what sort of hip-hop should be fostered:
Brazilian rap, at least as it has developed in poor neighborhoods here in the country’s largest city, tends to be highly politicized and scornful of lyrics that boast about wealth or sexual conquests. In contrast, the funk movement in Brazil, also imported from the United States but centered in Rio de Janeiro, is unabashedly about celebrating sex, bling and violence.
“When U.S. rap groups come here and try to be ostentatious or do the gangster thing, they get booed off the stage,” Mr. Silva said. “We feel a kinship with Chuck D and Public Enemy” — known for their political commentary — “but we don’t have any respect for people like Snoop Dogg and Puff Daddy.”
Come on, now–nobody respects Puff Daddy. That said, Culture Points is an intriguing program, and one that’s hard to imagine ever taking place in the states, where many elder-statesmen politicians still view hip-hop as morally bankrupt and dangerously influential–this, despite the fact that Bob Dole inadvertently quoted the Wu-Tang Clan during the ’96 debates.