The Portuguese hip-hop classics that made history


It started in Portugal in the late 1980s; late, if we compare it to the work that was already being done on the other side of the Atlantic. But that didn’t take away his hunger or strength. In 1994, the Rapública compilation took him beyond the peripheral neighborhoods and, for the first time, brought together his talent on a single disc. Black Company, Boss AC or Leaders of the New Message paved the way for the names that would follow and cement the movement. Sam The Kid, Regula, Valete, Xeg, Chullage, Sir Scratch or Tekilla followed in a new wave – without forgetting the contribution of djs Bomberjack, Cruzfader or Kronic –, driven by Da Weasel, Mind from Gap or Micro, and took the hip-hop to homes, walkmans, discmans and mp3 players. It was the movement taking care of itself, growing, and giving back to the streets what the streets made fit in banners. And these are some of the hip-hop classics that made history.

One of the forerunners of the movement in Portugal, General D is a name that still carries weight when history is written. The rapper, who in 1994 released the eponymous EP of the track “Portukkkal É Um Erro”, was a reference, moved away from the industry and returned in 2019.
It was the first great success of Portuguese hip-hop. Today, a quarter of a century later, the phrase “can’t swim yo” has still not been forgotten. The group, created on the south bank of the Tagus in the 1980s, consisted of Bantú (now Gutto), Bambino, Makkas, General D, Dj KGB and Dj Soon, and was instrumental in the projection of the style in Portuguese territory. In 2008, Bambino, Gutto and Makkas released their last album, Fora de Série.
Also from the South Bank arrived, in 1989, MC Nilton, Pio MC, Beat Box King, Hugo Costa (Cyber G.), Pedro Manaças and DJ Jaws T. Like the Black Company, the Leaders of the New Message (or LNM) were one of the main references of the emerging panorama of Portuguese hip-hop. This “Rap É Uma Potência”, included in the compilation Rapública, from 1994, would be recorded as one of the flagships of the group that split in 1998, a year after the release of the only album, Kom-tratake.
From Bairro do Pombal, in Oeiras, to the rest of the country, Alex e os Putos do Bairro may now seem like a strange name. This is because the formula never went beyond a single hit, but the influence it exerted on the movement, at that time, marked a generation.
“Hip-hop, many liked it, others didn’t / maybe it’s because it’s not easy to understand”. The phrase, taken from “Dedication” summarizes the beginning of culture in national territory. That’s how Mind Da Gap arrived in 1997, hitching a ride with Sem Ceremónias, the first album by the northern trio – after two EPs –, which brought about a democratization of music. Ace, Presto and Serial would remain one of the most important groups in national hip-hop until 2016, when they announced the end of the project. Not before they left us songs like “Todos Gordos”, “Leave or Stay”, “Don’t Stress” or “That’s Where I Want to Be”.
The return in 2020 for a concert at NOS Alive is one of the most anticipated of the last decade in Portugal. The reason is simple: Pac, Virgul, Quaresma, Jay, Dj Glue and Guillaz were one of the most influential groups in national music, breaking down barriers, diluting sonorities, forever transforming the panorama, and that earned them a devotion that still extends today. makes feel. The path began in 1993, cemented a year later by More Than 30 Motherf***s, the first EP. In 1997, after Dou-lhe Com a Alma (1995), the 3rd Chapter hits the shelves; cohesive, rooted in hip-hop and with two songs that marked the course of the sextet from Almada, “Todagente” and “Duía”. In the years that followed, “a weasel” would release four more albums, including Podes Fugir Mas Não Te Podes Esconder or Re-Definições – with the latter earning them an MTV EMA for the song “Re-Treatment”.
He is respected in the hip-hop universe for his decisive contributions, innovative lyrics and for promoting the movement’s visibility, having already been active for more than two decades, always with undiminished relevance. Along the way, there are six albums and themes such as “The Letter I Never Wrote”, “Lena (A Culpa Não É Tua)”, “Baza Baza” or “Princesa (Beija-me Outra Vez)”, collaborations with Rui Veloso, Sam The Kid or Gabriel O Pensador and compositions for television and cinema, such as “Anda Cá Ao Papá”, included in the Zona J soundtrack. for Leonel Vieira’s film, but that did not detract from its merits, highlighting the emcee’s storytelling and being accompanied on the disc by other classics such as “Velhos Tempos” or “Andam Aí” – the latter also included in the film.
He started writing rhymes driven by the Leaders of the New Message, embarked on the freestyle side (improvised lyrics over a beat) with the first group, Black Brothers. This was followed by a move to Arrentela, near Seixal; the founding of the 187 Squad and Red Eyes Gang, the crew he still belongs to. Years later, after several participations in works, Chullage definitely enters the streets with the album Rapresálias (Sangue, Lágrimas, Suor), and builds a base of work that earns him the respect of artists and the public. Sam The Kid dubbed him a “street journalist”, for the strength and rawness of his lyrics, a title easily proven in “Rymeshit Que Abala”, one of the greatest classics of Portuguese hip-hop.
It’s track number 4 on Sobre(tudo), the 2002 album that still earns Sam The Kid choruses at the top of his lungs, and truly helped to democratize hip-hop. “Não Perceps” is a sharp criticism of the society of the time and the unbridled consumption of empty music. A cry that goes from Chelas to a Lisbon still closed to this type of music, seen as delinquent and confined to problematic neighborhoods, usually on the outskirts. The boy from Chelas who used to spit on the industry, the neighborhood and his friends meanwhile grew up, and the movement followed in his footsteps. Sam is now an established name, synonymous with hip-hop; he started a platform to publicize his career and that of his peers, TV Chelas, offering Lisbon and Porto a concert accompanied by an orchestra, producing dozens of tracks, participating in projects such as Madvision, Orelha Negra, Classe Crua, Sam e Mundo, and is responsible for a multitude of landmark collaborations. “Faixa 7” (from the mixtape Lisa Chu, by Regula), “A Carta” (with Impro), “Sinónimo” (from the album Erro Perfeito, by Tekilla), “Beleza Artificial” (from the album Educação Visual, by Valete), “No Estúdio” (from the album Odiado E Mal Amado, by Bad Spirit), “Pormenores” (from the album Since a Origin, by Bispo), “Faixa 12” (from the album De Volta ao Serviço, by Dj Cruzfader), “O Amanhã de Yesterday” (from the album Chavascal, by Tribruto), “Motivação” (from the album Poesia Urbana Vol. 1), “Questionário” (from the album Ritmo & Poesia, by Xeg), “Work” (from the album Bomba Relógio, by DJ Bomberjack) or “6 Ta Feira” (from the album Projecto Inoxidável II, by DJ Kronic).
It was the distant year of 1994 when Karlon and Praga reached the waterline of hip-hop. Years later, Nigga Poison would enjoy the respect due to true veterans. The reason is simple, the duo’s sounds touch truly elastic geographies; Cape Verde, Jamaica, the United States, everything fits into music with a universal and activist language that does not stop at the aesthetics to which hip-hop is rigidly associated. The first album, Podia Ser Mi, appears in 2001. Five years later, Resistências appears, a strong commitment and full of successful themes. “Governo”, “Fazes Parte” and “Leru Leru” are tracks immediately associated with the boys. After Turbulência and Street Music, released in 2010 and 2011 respectively, his last work to date, Simplicidadi, appears, the album that gave us “Vai Em Frente”.
D-Mars (Rocky Marsiano), Sagas and Dj Nel’Assassin were an essential triplet for national hip-hop. The boys from Linha de Cascais, who owe the name Micro to the diminutive of microphone, started building the path in 1996 in D-Mars’ room, and the result was a completely innovative aesthetic. The use of samples in the production, the content of the lyrics, the message, the breaking of prejudice. “Respeito” arrives in 2002, inserted in Microlandeses, a work that confirmed them as names to be taken into account both in the group and individually.
He arrived at rap around the time of Rapública. He was imprisoned, in Linhó, from 1998 to 2002, and it was there that he began his redemption with a drum machine. In the years that followed, Kacetado became one of the most fruitful names in the movement, joining the Madvision collective (with Sam the Kid, Tekilla, Dj Kronic and Dj Link), participating in tracks by Dj Cruzfader, Regula or Dj Bomberkjack, and giving body to Skunk, the production alter-ego. Going back in 2003, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow was the album that introduced him to the world and that’s where “Escola de Rua” comes from, with the voice and rhymes of Chullage on the way. Also noteworthy is Tributo ao Homem, a 2012 album that is, for many, the best work of the rapper and producer and that brought tracks like “Aprende O Que Não Sabes” or “Voila”.
Natural Black Color, this is the translation of the artistic acronym of Timóteo Tiny, one of the veterans of the movement who always stood out from his peers for the way he constructed music: more melodic, aimed at soul, lyrics that exude resilience and a soft voice that resulted in collaborations on classics such as “Especial”, by Regula, and “Chelas”, by Sam The Kid. In 2003, aged 27, he released Afro-Disíaco, his first solo work (after several collaborations and the Filhos D’1 Deus Menor project with his brother, Black Mastah), and reveals a musical versatility that ranges from lyrics to arrangements. “Pela Arte” is the second in the line-up, a theme that has served as his medal until today.
Timecode was Nel’Assassin’s first adventure after leaving Micro and it turned out to be a timeless work. There are, in all, 12 tracks full of guest appearances (Sam The Kid, Nigga Poison, D-Mars or Dealema), and a serious showcase of everything that Nélson Duarte had already hinted that he was capable of doing. The journey continued, record after record (A Vida Na Ponta dos Dedos, Reconstruction, Mike Phelps Mixtape, O Meu Lugar), but “O Ideal”, back in 2004 and Timecode, would remain one of his best-achieved tracks. Not forgetting “It’s a Complow”.
Telmo Galiano is a well known name in the square. The emcee that had its beginnings in the 90s, and which was part of the MadVision collective, released its first album, Tekillogia, in 2004, a solid work that would put it on the public’s radar. “NCA” (or Nigga With Attitude) is, as he says, a “sound reflection brought to life thanks to Sam’s [The Kid] instrumental, which conveyed exactly the feeling. And when I did this, it was something I wanted to say, I wanted to demonstrate the proper attitude based on a personal message because there were a lot of people with the wrong attitude in the movement”. In Tekollogia there were also themes such as “Mafuckaz” or “À Vontade do Cliente”. Two more albums followed, A Preview, in 2009, and Erro Perfeito, in 2013. All this with skateboarding present.
There is little discussion about the status of Tiago Lopes in national hip-hop. Bellini, Regula, Gula, Don Gula, O Da Vila, whatever the nickname, the rapper is among the most reputed in the movement, the result of the work he has presented over the years. It all started in 2002 with 1.ª Jornada, a solid presentation from which gems like “Benção” with Chullage, “Comparisons”, “O.P.” with Tekilla, or “Especial” with NBC came out. Three years later, Tira Teimas was a war cry, the confirmation and crowning of the movement’s frontline position.
He appeared in 1997 with Plunasmo, the group he formed with his brother CapOne, and soon showed dexterity and vision in the way he spit. He asserted himself with “T.P.C.” and since then he has been contributing consistent tracks. Cinema: Entre o Coração e o Realismo, gave him the space between the first line; that’s where themes like “Illusion” or “Primary Positions” advance, and it’s where this “Nothing to Lose” was taken from, the track that ensured Sir Scratch’s notoriety. In 2012, the second work, Em Nosso Nome, was also worthy of attention.
Indifferent to the round, the opponent, or the proximity of the ropes, rhymes have always helped him in conflict, be it the neighborhood panorama or the fight against racism and inequality. From the windows of Benfica, Odivelas, Amora or Damaia, the places where he lived, notebooks were written and photographs were taken in words of a reality that would transpire on two albums, Educação Visual, from 2002, and Serviço Público, from 2006. peers recognized his hunger and strength, the public returned his devotion and pushed him to the front of the barricade, charging him with eloquence as a characteristic that was sometimes valuable and sometimes ostracizing. “Nossos Tempos” is a good example of the rapper’s quality, taken from the first album.
It came late in the movement compared to other names, and it brought a mesmerizing strangeness that forced the public’s attention. But the movement wasn’t as quick to embrace it. The first disc, Projecto Mary Witch, was enough to guarantee the space. “Fly Nigga”, “Raportagem”, “SOS Mundo”, “The Exorcism of Mary Witch” and this “Day of a 16 Years Dread” were some of the pillars that built the name of Halloween. The rapper, however, changed his focus, deepened his writing, and made use of the skill to continue shooting work and closing 2019 there is still time to launch the first book, Livre-arbítrio. And the new album, Unplugueto.
Respected veteran, unavoidable name, frequent collaborator of Sam The Kid, Valete or Regula, Rui Constante started with the album Ritmo & Poesia, in 2001, but before that his rhymes were already being heard in the underground. Creative, booster of rhyming aesthetics with double meanings, expert in puns and counterpoints, Xeg is one of the most exciting emcees of the movement and, despite the recording hiatus (Egotripping, the last album, dates from 2010), has not lost relevance. To Time Out, Sam The Kid described him this way: “He is one of the people I know who writes and records the most, always recording, never demoralized. He is a person who, despite having the respect he has within the circle, deserved more in the aspect of living your dream, of doing just that”. Other Xeg classics include “Susana”, “Dedicated”, “When I Write”, “Heaviest of the Capital” or “Cow of Shit”.
It was in 1996, around the time of their first album, Expresso do Submundo, that Gaia and Porto merged into a single group, after the merger between Factor X and Fullashit. The result was to irremediably transform the movement. Dealema are Mundo Segundo, Guze, Fuse, Expeão and Maze, five figures with different talents who, over the course of 17 years, have been releasing track after track, unfolding in collaborations and assuming a preponderant role in the construction of hip-hop further north. “Sala 101”, advanced from V Império, the third album is one of the most celebrated themes but it is not alone. “School of the 90s” or “Who I am” are also part of it. Of other adventures, “Nada Dura Para Semper” and “Bom Dia” left their mark.
One day, when aliens from different ranges vie for who gets what’s left of Humanity, it’s almost certain that Nerve will be one of the subjects in debate. As if it were a piece of land that neither side wants to relinquish. And no, this is not an exaggeration, it is to understand the size and importance of Tiago Gonçalves. In 2006, he releasesPromoção Barata, an EP/Mixtape still unknown to many, a gentle gateway to a work that gradually moves towards an underworld between the sinister and doing the opposite, the not-wanting-to-know-how house silver. Of course, T&C/AVNP&NMTC – Trabalho & Cognac Ou A Vida Não Presta e Nobody Deserves Your Trust, from 2015, is Nerve’s masterpiece, on a comeback after a six-year record hiatus. But don’t ignore his first LP: ENPTO – Eu Não Das Palavras Change Order is an incredible album. Still a less gloomy Nerve, still with an open window. The title track is, without a doubt, a demonstration of how few in Portugal have his mastery and creativity in the art of words. Nerve is forever.
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