Meet Emicida: More than Booty

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Née: Leandro Roque de Oliveira
Raíces: São Paulo, Brazil
Sounds like: Politically conscious b-boy hip-hop, but in Portuguese.
You should listen to Emicida because…there’s a lot more than booty music coming out of Brazil.


If you live in the West Coast (or you have a lot of money to travel long distances to go to a concert), you’re probably getting ready right now to go to Coachella. Yes, it starts today! And I know many of you are looking forward to the Caifanes reunion that’s happening tonight but let me tell you, from my personal Coachella experience, the most interesting things happen early in the day.

That’s when you get to see many up-and-coming international artists that still haven’t crossed over to the American market, but probably will in a year or so. And then when it happens, you can be all snobby and tell your friends, “Yeah, I saw them at Coachella…like two years ago!”

Emicida is the first South American rapper to ever perform at Coachella. Most of us didn’t even notice his name in the line up, all tiny at the very end, and we didn’t count him as a Latino artist back in January when we were complaining about the lack of decent Latino acts in the then-recently-announced line up. But there he was, and there he will be today, for those lucky ones who arrive at the Indio polo field early enough.

We all know about Rio de Janeiro’s baile funk, since it crossed over to the global dancefloors a few years ago, but don’t expect any of that from Emicida. While in Rio they’re all about uptempo booty-centric music, Emicida’s hometown São Paulo, the largest urban area in the Southern Cone, is known for its long tradition of purist, politically conscious and b-boy-oriented rap. And Emicida is the best current example of that progressive scene. Plus, he’s bringing along another up-and-coming talent to watch for: Rael da Rima.