Friday, January 13, 2006

'Only hip-hop can save us'

Guardian Unlimited talks with Cidade de Deus's MV Bill, favela rapper extraordinaire. His music is real. And he's a thoughtful fellow, too. Consider:

Because record companies were scared of the political content and ghetto commentary of bands like NWA and Public Enemy, they injected rappers with so much money that all they can talk about now is money - or female degradation. The record industry has emasculated hip-hop in America.


City of God didn't portray life here properly. Most people in the community did not see the film because they can't afford the cinema, and the ones that did see it didn't like the fact that it showed only the negative side of life. It suggested that everyone in the favelas is black, violent and ready to be judged.


When I go to the shantytowns to speak to the kids, I'm one of them, so they are completely honest with me. What struck me most was the hope that they all had. I had barely got back to Rio when I started receiving calls from the mothers of the teenagers to tell me that their children had been killed. My next project was to film all of the funerals. How can I be just another rapper going 'yo yo yo' after that?

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