One thing about hip-hop is that it is born from culture, with a peppering of personal perceptions and experiences.
Your local fish and chip shop parking lot could behold cyphers as authentic as any New York basketball court – if the passion is there.
Alas, it is to be found in communities and thus lost in translation – naturally there are cultural and language barriers to overcome, vernacular, different social norms and practices. It goes on.
But as the Mighty Mos Def once said, “You don’t have to understand it. You can feel it. The vibrations are past understanding.”
Enter RENEGADO: an award-winning Brazilian rapper on a mission. Fire, fuego, feu, fogo – whatever your tongue, he has it in his own way.
Employing characteristics of North American rap with Brazilian cheek and Latin American rhythms, he is a prime example of how malleable hip-hop can be. Socially motivated and musically talented, Renegado was born for this.
“I found rap in my early teens and it was love at first sight. I started rapping at age thirteen, and devoted it to social work. I am part of my community association from 13 years of age and have always acted from that basis. Rap adapts easily to any place it goes, for dealing with the everyday issues of young people. Today, in Brazil, there is no doubt that rap is the spokesperson of the youth.
“I firmly believe that rap only becomes legitimate when it understands the culture it comes from.”
Ambition is rife in his music, mashing youth’s ardor with social strains; and as a determined individual, his desires are not solely contained within his immediate surroundings.
“The world around me serves me as a source of inspiration. I try to stay focused on general topics that are part of people's lives because I believe that my music has to be their companion. I believe this is due to the fact that my music was born without borders, without prejudice. I want to take my music to as many people as possible and unite all the tribes. I think this focus is being achieved.”
Despite winning the 2008 Hutuz Prize for Best New Artist, Renegado’s charge is not critically or commercially driven.
“In producing my first album I was certain that this was the journey I wanted to take without worrying about the market, but I am happy to go where the music leads me. For me success is having as many people understand the purpose of my music as possible, and trying to engage them with the truth and strength that I bring in my verses.
“The new album is ready and I'm in the process of designing the new show and tour. I intend to extend the performance of my work to new fans and take my music to other tribes.”
Renegado will be performing as part of the Pura Vida Latin Music Festival, that is lighting up the streets of Canberra this October. The man himself will be playing at ANU Bar on Thursday October 4. Tickets are through Ticketek for $41.05.