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Gabriel O Pensador


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Coming from a unique background among Brazilian rappers, Gabriel, the son of a well known journalist in Brazil, hit fame in 1992 with the song „Tô Feliz (Matei o Presidente)“ („I’m happy, I’ve killed the president“) the debut single from his first and eponymous album. This song was written in protest of President Fernando Collor de Mello and his corrupt administration. Interestingly, Gabriel’s mother was Collor’s press secretary. [1] The same album also yielded other hits, including „Lôrabúrra“ („Dumb Blonde“, shortened) and „Retrato de um Playboy“ („Portrait of a Playboy“), bringing hip hop mainstream attention in Brazil by catering to the middle class. Although rapping about everyday life, Gabriel also found time to talk about social injustices with his fourth single, „O Resto do Mundo“ („The Leftovers of the World“), a more downbeat track about homeless life, with a purposefully depressive melody and flow. Gabriel was „notorious for his biting attacks on some of the major ills of Brazilian society: poverty, racism, violence.“[2]

His following albums were also commercially successful, with a careful blend of socially relevant tracks mixed with airwave-minded pop anthems. His third album, Quebra-Cabeça, was released in 1997 and sold over one million copies.[1] History-minded, Gabriel was highly influenced by other Brazilian music, including bossa nova, samba and MPB, as well as using hip hop’s traditional methods of sampling jazz, funk and disco („2345meia78“, for example, sampled Chic’s „Good Times“).




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