Sounds Like: Rio Go Hard: The smartest, sassiest high-school girls in your favela rapping on would-be trunk-thumpers
For Fans Of: M.I.A., Oaktown's 357, DJ Chernobyl
Why You Should Pay Attention: Brazilian funk carioca has been morphing past the syncopated boom-kat that U.S. ambassador Diplo borrowed while producing M.I.A.'s Arular in 2005. It's absorbed everything from the crescendo-ing squall of contemporary Eurodance to the heavy thump of American trap. To the three teenagers in Pearls Negras – 17-year-old Alice Coelho, 16-year-old Mariana Alves and 16-year-old Jennifer Loiola – who grew up Rio de Janeiro's vibrant Vidigal favela and met at an after school theater program, a mish-mash of super-heavy club and trap rhythms simply makes sense. Even if you're not fluent in Portuguese, the guttural aspects of the language always sounds tough over beats, and in this case, the ladies' talent and intent shines through on skillful rapping fêting cuties or indicting the state of their 'hood. Upon releasing their Biggie Apple mixtape in December via British label Bolabo, they've garnered acclaim on globally minded blogs across the world. They'll embark on a European tour in May and will hit further stops around the world (Biggie Apple refers to their desire to visit New York), though they're balancing the dates with their day jobs: They're all working actresses and Coelho will star in the upcoming novela Meu Pedacinho de Chão on Brazilian TV. by JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD
They Say: "Female rap in Rio de Janeiro is not recognized very much and we struggle to gain a space here," says Coelho, via translator. "Our songs talk about many different things such as love, fun, parties and about what is happening in society, about where we live and where we come from. But people like our music because Vidigal is a place of much talent, dance and music. We have actresses, singers, a bit of everything."
Hear for Yourself: "Pensando em Você" ("Thinking of You") flips bottom-heavy, twerky club synths into the sweetest sing-song ode to a boy with "an angelic face":