Funk Carioca, better known as just Funk (funk-e), is a style of Brazilian hip hop that blends DJ-ing and rap with African drums, electronic melodies, and choreographed dances. Funk originated in Rio’s favelas in the 1980’s as a celebration of different variations of Black music, and though it still remains in the peripheries of society, since the mid 90’s you could easily find a 10 hour baile funk, funk party, throughout the country and has been blessing the world ever since.
Funk is known for its obscene dance moves, fuckboii aesthetics, and vulgar lyrics on poverty, violence, drugs, and sex sounding a lot like our disturbed 6th grade love poems. And we love it. Yet, funk is no different than any brand of hip hop in its misogynistic portrayal of women. So, enter a new sub-genre of funk: Funk Putaria.
While Funk Putaria may have originally been created to degrade women, especially women in the sex work industry, Female MC’s have been redefining it. The majority of female MC’s in the funk game grew up in favelas and their lyrics attest to the difficulties in navigating a male dominated world. And then thriving in it. By calling themselves putas and cachorras, by declaring, “society is in shock, I came to cause discomfort..it’s better you get used to it” (Karol Conka) they are calling for women empowerment, however that may look.
You can call them feminists, but we’re sure they prefer the term Funkeiras. Here are our favorites:
“Na televisão a verdade não importa, é negro favelado, então tava de pistola..” On television, the truth does not matter, he is a black man from the favela, so he had a gun on him, raps MC Carol in here new single Delação Premiada (Snitching Rewarded). The song follows a baile in a favela that ends in a shoot out with the police and tragically killing a child on their way to school. Her lyrics poetically expose the perpetual police violence in favelas, especially towards the Black population, and how “there is no justice if the killer is in uniform”.
We are really here for MC Carol and all her complexities. Her lyrics are unapologetically raw and aggressive like in Delação Premiada and Não Foi Cabral, while others can be so damn dirty like in Meu namorado é Mó Otário and her iconic moaning that can even have your drunk ass tia rezando.
Mujeres en Medio has been on Karol Conka since before we understood Portuguese but were living for the combination of glitter, African drum beats, killer dance moves and good vibes (vibe-y) in her single Boa Noite in the Batuk Freak album. And while Karol Conka is more of a rapper than a Funkeira, we had to include her in this list because her lyrics are everything for black women empowerment.
Lay’s new album 129129 is dedicated to all the bucetas (boo-ze-tas), cunts, living, loving and fucking however they want. The album is laced with funk, rap, trap, and dance hall melodies fused with punk vibes and poetry. Her lyrics challenge the heteronormative space and tradition that is hip hop with lyrics like “falei que pau era igual chiclete, depois que perde o gosto, esquece“, (dick is like chewing gum after it lost its taste”. In that context, ain’t that the truth?
While there were many newer songs by MC Pocahontas we could have chosen to feature like Perde a Linha (looking like a cuter version of my quinceañera video), we had to choose Mulher do Poder, cuz boo, get paid!
Tati Quebra Barraco
We’re pretty sure Tati Quebra Barraco coined Funk Putaria during the era of proibidão, when certain funk music was prohibited for their content. Although her new music is a lot more mainstream and sounding like Funk Melody now, we’re here for Tati channelling a type of unapologetic Jenny Rivera swagger.
*low key trying to make this our anthem
We couldn’t leave out the Rainha do Funk (Queen of Funk). Everything about Valesca Popozudas is a controversy but we are forever grateful for her getting our life together with all the putaria she has created and especially for coining the Beijinho No Ombro.
Nothing exists in a binary. We understand the complexities of Funk Putaria, how some of Funkeiras can be problematic and how their lyrics can fall in the gray area between empowerment and perpetuating rape culture and romanticizing drug violence. Mujeres en Medio does not condone rape culture, violence, and heteronormativity but we do celebrate women becoming empowered through their words and their music. Furthermore, women reclaiming cachorras and putas (bitches and hoes) etc., is not an excuse for people in positions of privilege to also call women these terms, thus replicating the systems of oppression.
We also understand that it is not for everyone. So boo, do you. Be a saint, be a puta, or be both.
There are plenty of other Funkeiras out there, like MC Beyonce and MC Marcelly, that play different variations of funk but are starting to sound a little too Taylor Swift-esque. Can we please talk about how Brazilian record labels are always trying to white wash the funk MC’s and making them fit into traditional gender norms? Let us know what you think!