The History of Baile Funk
Baile Funk originated in Rio de Janeiro in the early eighties. Much of the inspiration for Baile Funk came from American influences. Afrika Bambaataa began the revolution in Brazil with his American hip hop hit “Planet Rock” (Frederic P. Miller). When the song hit Brazil in 1982, the country had still been in the funk era of the seventies. Despite the strict government laws and censorship, artists such as James Brown and Little Richard ruled the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Funk is what started the bailes in the streets of Rio. There would be loud music and block parties blasting disco music to rebel the dictatorship. When “Planet Rock” hit the streets, this reinforced the “black music revolution”. (Gray, A Short History of Baile Funk)
During the eighties, Miami Bass engulfed Brazil’s cities and the country moved from Latin roots to disco to electronic hip hop over the course of three decades. The DJs of Rio de Janeiro began to obsess over Bambaataa’s hit and each one had their own version. Instead of making up their own raps to the beat, they would translate the lyrics into Portuguese and yell over the recording. The DJs also practiced this method during the seventies with hits from James Brown. What intrigued the Brazilian DJs about this new rap subgenre, Miami Bass, was its electronic sound. This was thanks to the new “instrument” the 808 kick drum. As this sound became more popular, the beats from Miami flowed into Brazil on a regular basis. The first Rio funk album came out in 1989. It was called Funk Brasil by DJ Marlboro. The top hits off this album included “Entre Nessa Onda” and “Melô Da Mulher Feia (Do Wah Diddy)”. “Do Wah Diddy” was the first Funk Carioca hit (Marlboro). This song sounds nothing like Zuzuka Poderosa’s Baile Funk. The electronic sounds are primal and the song doesn’t differentiate much from the original song by 2 Live Crew. The lyrics of Miami Bass were somewhat vulgar for the time and many Brazilian DJs started making up their own raps to go along with the American beats. This was a major change from just translating the lyrics into Portuguese and shouting over the beat. (Gray, Baile Funk’s Electro 80′s)

This Miami Bass influence led us into today’s Baile Funk. After DJ Marlboro’s album and hit, many other DJs around the Rio de Janeiro area began wanting to imitate his success. Miami Bass beats flooded Brazil and DJs became abundant each with their own raps to the American beats from Miami. In order to define their culture and separate themselves from the American influences, the DJs began to get creative. Instead of just rapping over American beats, they would add influences from their own culture such as “candomble drum patterns and samba rhythms” (Gray, Baile Funk’s Electro 80′s). This is what started Baile Funk or Funk Carioca. By adding rhythms from their Latin culture, the DJs from Brazil were able to separate themselves from their Miami Bass influences. This became a new genre of music.
The growth of Baile Funk was slow and had many influences. This genre grew thanks to the fusion of different cultures over time. The funk influences added the hip hop rapping that is displayed in Baile Funk. The Brazilian culture added the samba sounds and Latin feel to an otherwise American electronic genre. Without the history and influences that Baile funk gained over the decades, this genre would not exist today.

Works Cited

Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster. Miami Bass. Miami: Alphascript Publishing, 2010.
Gray, Doug. "A Short History of Baile Funk." 15 December 2009. The Rio Times. 17 April 2011 <>.
Gray, Doug. "Baile Funk’s Electro 80′s." 22 December 2009. The Rio Times. 17 April 2011 <>.
Marlboro, DJ. Funk Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, 1989. Album.
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