Sounds Like: A bouncing bass-heavy blend of rap, hip-hop, baile funk and Afro-Brazilian beats delivered with bracing positive energy
For Fans Of: Lauryn Hill, M.I.A., Azealia Banks
Why You Should Pay Attention: There are few overground female rappers in Brazil, and even fewer blending hip-hop with the tropical traditionalism of the Bahia region, where Karol Conka's grandmother was raised. Born Karoline dos Santos Oliveira, Karol Conka (i.e., "Karol with a K") enlisted the ubiquitous Nave to produce her terrific debut. Released by Vice in Brazil last year, and internationally on England's Mr Bongo label this month, Batuk Freak earned her Brazil's prestigious Multishow Best New Artist award for 2013. Conka delivers uplifting rhymes in Portuguese over booming bass lines wrapped around raw percussion, traditional pifano flutes, and samples from the proto-rap improvisational rhymes of repente – all in the service of a good time.
She Says: "We have excellent MCs and beat makers with a growing space to show their work. In this scenario, I situate myself in a position where I sing about joy; my protest is against sadness. I always try to sing about self-esteem and respect with festive and danceable beats… "Batuque is a term generally used to designate beat. 'Batuk' is a 'karolish' version for this word."
Hear for Yourself: Booming bass and a female chorus guarantee a "Boa Noite" in her video – which currently has more than one million views. By Richard Gehr