As any good rap tour should, Skillz To Take Brazil began with a might bout of travel. After a sleepless Thursday night, Hired Gun and I rendez-vous’d at the Flatbush LIRR to set out on our epic journey to Porto Alegre. I slept the entire 12-hour flight from JFK to Sao Paolo. We then hopped a quick 2-hour plane to Porto Alegre, where Zajazza had arranged for a hotel. We crashed out, got a nice night’s sleep, and rose to hit the bus to Passo Fundo.
The bus ride was a pretty glorious 4-hour trek through the highlands of Rio Grande du Sol. Lush green mountains resplendent with exotic flora and cowhides hung out to dry on all sides. We couldn’t get on the noon bus as it was sold out, so our arrival was pushed back till 6:00pm. I couldn’t get my local calling card to work despite help from a friendly café worker, which left us with no way to contact Zajazaa. But fortunately, he was waiting for us right at the bus terminal (Rodavarios) as soon as we pulled up.
We were immediately introduced to a couple of Passo Fundo’s finest Hip Hoppers: David & Alessio. The plan for the night was to rock a “house party” at this cat Jiba’s house. Now mind you: this party was promoted on local radio all week (along with our music!), flyered all over town, and was reportedly the only thing going on. His house was beautiful, and he has his own party sound system called “Stomp.” There were 3 security guards hired for the night. Needless to say, we had the greatest soundcheck I’ve ever been a part of.
We whipped around Passo Fundo in David’s classic tinted VW Passat, got a quick bite to eat (Brazilians eat French fries with every meal), and headed back to the crib. By the time we had worked out the set with Zajazza, the peoples were arriving. We had obviously been greatly hyped up, as our first 2 hours of the party were spent as participants in photo-ops and signing autographs. Seriously, signing autographs before we even hit the stage! There were over 300 heads packed into the house and backyard, guzzling Skol and Crown Royal and Vodka Red Bull and anything else they could get their hands on. We finally hit the stage at about 3:00am and ripped into the set. It’s such a pleasure to have a full-time DJ rocking with us, one who also uses live MPC drumming and has routines for days. We played a damn near 2 hour set and really got our tour feet wet. Soaked in fact. The party people in the front definitely had some favorites they were ready to hear. The sound deteriorated a bit over the course of the set (as the soundman/party host disappeared), but we kept it going live. I’ve been starting to get loose with my new loop station, really figuring out ways to subtly inject it into the music, in addition to showcasing on it. Fantastic sound system for beatboxing.
By the time the set wrapped up and I rocked a short DJ set, we had jammed with local songstress Camilla (aka the Karaoke Queen of Passo Fundo), a bunch of local MCs, and seen the run rise. The crew here is so tight; a massive of 20, they all share a studio, record together, promote together, and keep the peace. If you didn’t know, Brazilians have the greatest disposition on Planet Earth. I’ve experienced nothing but sheer kindness and overwhelming hospitality from folks. Maximum props to all the DJs and MCs who rocked: Marava, No Leis, Dossantos, Zappa on projections, and Jiba for holding the sound and the crib. We rocked a house party for over 300 heads, got the royal treatment and got paid. Kid & Play: eat your hearts out.
Today we’re scheduled to jam with some samba musicians in the town square, then head to their studio for some sessions over the next two days. Oh, it’s 87 degrees, by the way. Grande du Sol for real!
PS - Check out all the photos as the accumulate at www.myspace.com/rabbiraps