It’s not a Paradise

Bixop, one half of Plainfield hip hop duo Negros Americanos, has forced me to stop saying Plainfield hip hop duo Negros Americanos. They’re bi-continental now.

This summer, after teaching himself Portuguese (he already learned fluent Spanish), he took his talents to South America – to the megacity of Sao Paulo, Brazil – where he connected with local artists.

His upcoming project is entitled “não é um paraiso” or “It’s not a Paradise” which addresses, in part, the illusion – prevalent in many parts of the world – that the United States is a place without problems. The first video from the project is called A Periferia Pede Socorro, or “The Hood begs for Help” which appears at the end of this post. Don’t worry, his verses are in English.

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“Sao Paulo is a huge modern city,” says Bixop (pronouced Bishop), “One of the richest cities in the world, as a matter of fact. But like many places there is a tale of two cities.” That’s what a lot of Sao Paulo’s hip hop artists rap about.

“I came here to connect with the hip hop community,” says Bixop. Sao Paulo has the most hip hop of any Brazilian City.

He first gained recognition in Brazil when he started doing covers of Brazilian hip hop songs in Portuguese. One of them went viral, reaching over 200,000 views.

“People reached out and showed a lot of love. They have such respect for the craft here. It’s not about how big you are, or how much money you are making,” he explains.

“The hood begs for help” features a woman who is extremely active in the neighborhood where he lives.  She’s an artist and a singer as well.

“The thing is, here, living in the ‘periferia’ (Portuguese for periphery) does not necessary make it much more dangerous for you than in the nicer neighborhoods,” he explains. “There are strict rules here in the criminal underworld.”

People who deal in the illicit trades don’t want police presence, and robberies are often committed in areas where people have more money.

“It may be visually unappealing here, to some people, but feel safer our there than I did in parts of Plainfield at times, if you can believe that,” says Bixop, who finds beauty in the way poorer peoples’ houses and shacks are build upon hills overlooking the city.

“Most people who make it in anything have to leave home. While some people go to Germany, or LA, the UK, or New York – I went to Brazil.”

Bixop hopes to make an impact. One thing that bothers him about the Brazilian hip hop scene is that rappers never make songs about women. “I want to make it cool to do that. In a positive way, of course.”

Take three minutes to watch “The Hood begs for Help”. It’s beautiful imagery is worth your time, not to mention the smooth sound and touching lyrical content.

Bixop promises more music soon.  “I’m dropping another video in under a month, in Portuguese, and another bi-lingual one not long after.”

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