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MC Gringo Gringão

If the car commercials, U.S. club play, and the flood of media stories didn’t prove that baile funk had gone worldwide, Gringão surely does. MC Gringo, a white native of Stuttgart, Germany, is the only non-Brazilian to make waves in the Rio favela funk scene. His debut album–a raw take on baile’s now-ubiquitous twist of Miami bass, samba, and primitivist hip-hop–proves why. On the one hand, Gringão is purist: Tracks like “Alemão” are like blueprints for the bass-shattering sound of the Rio ghettos. (This German ex-punk even raps almost exclusively in Portuguese.) But Gringo’s sampled Forro accordions and carnival cowbells, combined with an obvious affection for American hip-hop on tracks like “Berimbal,” give him his own sound. And it’s one that could easily translate back into the Western culture that spawned the MC, making baile’s globalization just about complete.

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