Karol Conka Hits São Paulo, Brazil

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Karol Conka (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Karol Conka, Karoline dos Santos Oliveria, is the leading exponent of a new Brazilian style, called, “Funk Ostentação”, also called, “Funk Paulista”, and “Funk of Ostentation”. Conka was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1987. I just came across her music the other day. I didn’t know quite what to make of it.

I consulted with Robert Rogness, my go-to expert on all things Brazilian, and he told me this was a big musical fad in Brazil. It appears to be the the South American step child of our own US hip hop music promoting the bling life with babes, expensive cars, cash, diamonds, and champagne, e.g., Ludacris, Kanye West, 50 Cent. Just like the name funk ostentação implies, the goal is the same: make money, buy expensive designer items, blingy watches and jewelry, pimped out Bentleys, strut your stuff and get out of the ghetto, or in this case, the favela.

The music is synth-driven, full of samples and beats, but without the heavy bass of much American hip hop. You won’t hear it from half a mile away.

I’m not sure quite what to think about her 2011 big hit, “Boa Noite” (Good Night or Good Evening). She has over two million views of her video singles, also with Portugal’s EDM group Buraka Son Sistema for an big Adidas ad. She has definitely broken out of hte Sao Paulo underground hip hop scene, and her new album, Batuk Freak, on the Mr. Bongo label, will make her go even further.

It’s not exactly the type of Brazilian music I prefer. But with the FIFA World Cup around the corner, it’s bound to get more attention outside of Brazil as well. The LA Times recently wrote an article about this musical style.

I’m not quite sure what the ending means when the girls are throwing up. Too much tequila, which would probably more bling appeal than the more affordable domestic cachaça.