Biting head

On his new record Gabriel O Pensador yells, "I don't sing well. I'm not a singer. I'm a composer." He is a rapper, the thinking man rapper. He knows that every story has more than one side, but with Ainda É Só o Começo, his latest album, he has chosen the side that hits the hardest. And he knows like no one to use rhythm and poetry for demolishing and scrutinizing the truth.

Bruce Gilman

After clobbering brainless blondes, idly-rich playboy heirs, and even the presi-dent, Gabriel O Pensador is back in the ring pounding at the portals of our perception with his second recording Ainda É Só o Começo (Still It Is Only the Beginning). Tall and slim, with the beard of an adolescent and long curly hair that frames his angled features, O Pensador (The Thinker) appears older than his twenty-one years.

But there is something even more puzzling about Gabriel. Maybe it is the contradiction between his inoffensive, straightforward appearance and the tremendous thunder of the lyrics he composes. Maybe it is a combination of the naïveté of his appearance with the blitz of success that has come to him so early. Whatever it is, there is nothing perplexing about his message. I've just finished listening again to Gabriel's new disc and to three tracks in particular that have dramatically etched themselves into my memory: Estudo Errado (False Study), Mentiras do Brasil (Lies From Brazil), and Filho da Pátria IIudido ( Deceived Son of the Homeland) the poetic connotation being filho da puta (son-of-a bitch). Rap is the label for this rhythm and this poetry that is scorching my nerve endings and making me restless, and it's great!

In general, rappers do not play instruments but are expert manipulators of pre-recorded material. They create sound collages in what many consider a "supposed-art." Since its origin, rap has been connected to a type of indignant language discourse. Singing has always been an insignificant component of rap. What is important, are the words themselves, the lyrics, the message. Sometimes the words are too strong. Gangsta rap, for instance, talks about weapons, bitches (women), and the murder of oppressors. The lyrics in most Gangsta rap have, for many, reached their tired perimeter.

Like it or not, rap today is universal. It is well known in North America, all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. In the United States rapping over the same monochord tune has too often limited itself to addressing only a narrow sector of social problems, and is only now moving incrementally into new territory.

Even in Brazil's fledging rap scene, the group from Rio Ryo Radikal Repz sings "foda-se a polícia" (the police fuck themselves) in a tune that exploded like a homemade bomb on the TV program Por Acaso (By Chance). On the other hand, some less obvious mixes by groups like Chico Science & Nação Zumbi that have mixed the diction of rap with the style of the Northeastern repente, are remarkably innovative. In the Northeast of Brazil, poetic song duels called desafios, are occasions where two repentistas (singers in the desafio) improvise insulting or funny verses (repentes) in a strict form, attempting to break the other singer's concentration.

In Rio funk is more common than rap. But what is called funk in Rio is really a form of rap that came from Miami. It's perfect for dancing and has lyrics that usually contain a humorous double meaning but really not much of a message. This Rio funk is common at parties where people tend to drink a little too much and get into fights.

The rap of O Pensador is not related to this Rio type of funk. In fact, O Pensador has participated in public declarations against violence and writes lyrics that often contain criticisms of the practice, lyrics that strive to lessen the violence at Brazilian dances. Def Yuri, one of O Pensador's rapping collaborators on Ainda É Só o Começo, explained also that although they don't write gangsta rap, they do believe in a guerrilla army but in a way that is very different from those encountered in the 60s and 70s.

As people involved in Brazilian rap know, the genre still is very much off to the side, not a musical forerunner. It was fortunate for the rap scene in Brazil that Gabriel O Pensador was one artist who got to the top first and at the right time. After Gabriel broke ground, those who followed (mainly in São Paulo) received the recognition they warranted. Gabriel definitely helped to expand the market.

O Pensador feels that some rap music is opportunist and addresses only fleeting concerns and temporary distractions that will not be discussed tomorrow, yet some concepts like racial and social prejudice persist and always have. O Pensador is a natural within the rap medium, a trail blazer who has had the wherewithal to make Ainda É Só o Começo excel by diversifying textures and ideas within the strict meter of rap.

When the Carioca rapper blew up in the music parades all over Brazil with his condemnation of conservative middle class conventions, people thought that when the summer was over the whirlwind around the man who declared death to the president would have calmed down. But with the surprising sales of 320 thousand copies of his first recording, Gabriel O Pensador proved the opposite. Two years later he launched his latest recording, Ainda É Só o Começo, which will further provoke those who did not believe in his artistic longevity. For Gabriel it is too soon to rest. He still has lots more to say.

Even without the bombshell Tô Feliz Matei o Presidente (I'm Happy I killed the President), Gabriel's first release has made the strongest impact on Brazilian rap in the 90s thus far. Lôraburra (Dumb Blond), Retrato de um Playboy (Portrait of a Playboy), 175 Nada Especial (175 Nothing Special) were greeted as the best manifestations of intelligence from the almost invisible Brazilian rap scene. In Tô Feliz Matei o Presidente, Gabriel assassinates Fernando Collor, the president for whom his mother, Belisa Ribeiro, worked as a journalist.

The situation was explosive. While mother was working for the president, son was screaming out his hatred for Collor's regime. When Matei o Presidente was released, many journalists envied Gabriel's mother and tried to explore her position on the subject, as myriad rumors were spreading about her.

Gabriel is not ashamed that his mother worked for Collor. He doesn't feel that there was any crime in that. In fact, a short time before Matei o Presidente started being aired on the radio his mother fought publicly with Collor. She later left Brazil to live in the United States but has since returned to Brazil and is now living with Gabriel. Today the son of the famous journalist is more famous than his mother.

Gabriel has been writing since he was 16 years old. He started rapping when he was 17 or 18, at the time he recorded the music Tô Feliz, Matei o Presidente with a drum machine in eight channels. He took the finished tape to the RPC FM station in Rio. They liked it and asked to have exclusive access to the tape. The station played it for five days before it was censored. Gabriel started being interviewed and was offered contracts with two independent labels which he refused.

Tô Feliz was his biggest step in coming out from the unknown. He was very much an amateur at that time and had performed his first shows without contracts but continued to experiment until early 1993 when Sony signed him. In September Sony launched his first disc. Gabriel had no idea what was going to happen, but luckily the worst part was by then already over.

Gabriel's themes speak about violence, the church, and men who beat their wives and children. His work criticizes behavioral concepts that have become accepted patterns of adult behavior. For example, the playboy sons of upper middle- class Brazilian families who depend on their parents' money, probe for sex, and make no attempt to achieve anything on their own; and the "dumb blondes" attractive men or women who get through life simply by banking their appearance but who refuse to think critically about their behavior. Much of his work expresses ideas that people with integrity accept the axioms. Those who don't, many times are subconsciously attached to following these very patterns.

Most of the criticism O Pensador receives has little foundation. Even when it is couched in the objective of being constructive, it strives only to create controversy. Gabriel has a consciousness about his work; this stance has not changed. His work is intentionally aggressive and intended to trigger criticism, since that will make people become involved with the ideas. He cannot believe, for example, that the Catholic church is still condemning condoms. He is totally in favor of them and feels that condoms should be distributed for free to poor young people in Brazil who don't often use condoms because they don't have the money to buy them. And sex is one diversion the poor layers of society can enjoy chiefly because it is usually free.

While corruption exists and is easily identifiable, there will be no lack of subject matter for this torrential composer. In his previous work Gabriel opened fire criticizing racism, obligatory military service, and didn't stop to spare the impossible life-style of Brazil's homeless kids and the young girls who become prostitutes. This time the corrosive lyrics have transformed themselves into a detonating philosophical bomb.

His new targets are the Americanized youngsters of Brazil, Evangelical ministers, and the government's institutional system of education. Ainda É Só Começo powerfully criticizes, the police, politicians, abusive husbands, and religious fanatics. In Filho da Pátria Iludido he challenges a Brazilian who is so mentally crippled that he goes out on the streets of Rio wearing a shirt that looks like the flag of the United States. O Pensador knows that every story has more than one side, but with Ainda É Só o Começo he has chosen only the side that hits the hardest. Rhythm and poetry are again Gabriel's demolishing weapons in scrutinizing the truth.

The new recording employs samples (textures and phrases extracted from other songs) from the music of Bob Marley, Rita Lee, Gilberto Gil, Legião Urbana, Soundgarden, Azymuth, and Tom Tom Club to enrich the non-stop thrashing of the disc's themes. In Mentiras do Brasil (Lies from Brazil) Gabriel makes an insightful use of music from the opera O Guarani by Carlos Gomes integrated with the dazzling pandeiro work of Marcos Suzano. In keeping with the same voracious creativity that distinguished Gabriel's first project, Ainda É Só o Começo harbors the same incisive style of writing .

Some of the raps were created through improvisation. FDP, for example, was born one afternoon when Yuri was at Gabriel's house. They were just improvising with a few ideas and started singing the refrain "Filho da puta/Filho da puta/Filho da puta'" (Son of a Bitch/Son of a Bitch/Son of a Bitch) over a bass line. Other lyrics were created while Gabriel was driving his car or taking a shower. Notwithstanding, Ainda É Só o Começo is a prodigious work, especially when compared to the generation of rappers whose vocabulary is limited to anything that rhymes. The development of characters and unusual situations is one of the disc's strongest merits. The teacher calling roll in Estudo Errado transports the listener with an archetypal childhood memory.

With this second release, Sony has projected sales in the area of 500 thousand units. Production of the new disc was painstakingly thorough. It is a work of superior quality. An affinity between the technology and quality of material, that listeners find missing at times with other rap projects, forcefully comes through. However, Ainda É Só o Começo, did face some extra difficulties before entering the market. There were some serious problems with a few of the samples Gabriel wanted to use. Producer Fábio Fonseca assumed that everything was ready when they were prevented from using samples of Money by Pink Floyd, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, and the theme song from the cartoon show The Jetsons. As a result, the arrangements that were using parts of this music were modified at the last minute. And unfortunately, the video Sony wanted to include with the first pressing didn't materialize due to time restraints.

Gabriel is comfortable and says that he is happy and secure about his work, that he only wants people to become more aware, more conscious. He is cognizant that young people are not informed, that they seldom read the papers, and in many cases are completely alienated. The lyrics in rap music many times are their only way of knowing about politics. But Gabriel is not only concerned with politics. What he wants is for people to think with their own heads, to pay attention to the concepts that were implanted early on in their behavior, and trust their intuition.

What captured Gabriel's attention and opened his eyes were the children who know and love his lyrics. When he realized that kids listen to his music, pay attention, and understand what they can, he was challenged, started weighing everything that was happening, and sensed that his work could be something very positive for these young people. This insight is reflected on the disc's cover photo which shows a happy baby wearing headphones presumably listening to what's inside.

O Pensador makes many criticisms of the police but lives and works around several types of policeman and pays attention to the differences that exist. He feels that everyone has to be careful and avoid making judgments, know how to express criticism, and have the perception to not exaggerate. These are concerns that Gabriel analyzes closely. For O Pensador, it is not a question of thinking lightly about criticism to criticize lightly is pointless but to think twice before condemning. After all, empty headed people may also be victims. He wants people to wake up to reality. Although his work is aggressive, he is cognizant that his criticisms are necessary and that his work will stimulate ideas.

Sculptor Auguste Rodin's private vision of the trials and torments of human existence, The Gates of Hell, is a panoramic statement of his own belief that hell is suffered not only by the dead, but by the living; that it is a bleak realm of false goals, lost dreams and unrealized passions. Man with his pride and hopes, strives for fulfillment only to meet his certain fate disillusionment and ultimate destruction. Brooding over the Gates is Rodin's famous paradox, The Thinker. Representing man's ability to reason and to create, The Thinker sits as if in judgment of his fellow men and himself. On the back cover of Ainda É Só Começo, Gabriel dares you to take up the headphones, while brooding like a guardian angel over his right shoulder is an illustration of Rodin's The Thinker sporting the rappers' backward baseball cap a metaphor not lost to the listener.

The idea of O Pensador, the rapper, is a little controversial. He is always asked how he can rap and still be from the middle class. The fact is that Gabriel has never paid much attention to social class. He has always had both rich and poor friends and always invites the most humble people to his parties. When he was living in São Conrado he knew many people from the Rocinha favela. On his fourteenth birthday, a group of friends from Rocinha came to his party, though intimidation almost turned them away at the door. Gabriel has also known people who have lived in posh condominiums, but most of his friends are from the poor areas of Rio.

The 21 year old philosopher says he recognizes who his friends are. They are those who like rap, those who like funk, those who like pagode, the people on the beach, the people in the slums, the people from Rio's South Zone, and the people from the North Zone. He feels that Rio is very mixed up and that it doesn't matter what area, north or south, people come from. O Pensador is aware that is impossible to establish social divisions in Rio, a tropical Babel that brings together the rich and the poor. To Gabriel it all depends on the uniting element. When everyone was cheering for Brazil in the World Cup they all had the same agenda. When listening to music it is the same.

People per se don't irritate Gabriel by being themselves. What irritates him are the pretentious people who intervene in others' lives and those people who need to show off. What he criticizes in his music are empty, futile people. He perceives that many people have little respect for the experience of older people, and he is against anything that alienates and leaves a person dependent, tied up. He believes that the church and TV can be considered drugs.

It is very easy for Gabriel to express his values and to pass on his message. He composes rapidly. He lives and breaths his poetry. Once the basic music tracks are recorded, he can come back the following day with the lyrics. His poetry is not in any way sentimental. On the contrary, it is aggressive, annihilating, and always has a conscientious message that brings a social or political awareness to the listener. The message functions as an escape valve for those who are oppressed by social conventions. His lyrics are extremely long chronicles of a young man who wants a different world. They do not offer help to endure the pressure of today's world like the books by Paulo Coelho; they offer words to be screamed by a crowd.

He approaches themes that reach many people. It is very easy for listeners to identify with his music. Gabriel suspects that music was what gave him his personality, principally the music of Bob Marley. Today he is nourished by rap. The more he leans on the vehicle of rap music, the more he gets from it and the more motivated he gets. He feels that he is still opening his first doors of perception.

He prefers that people not assume he is a singer. On the track Como um Vício (Like a Vice) from the new disc, Gabriel yells, "I don't sing well. I'm not a singer. I'm a composer." Once at a show in Salvador where Julian Marley (son of Bob Marley) was also performing Gabriel decided to show reverence and sing "No Woman No Cry." It was so scary that the musicians, embarrassed by his singing, tried to hide behind their instruments. Gabriel said that it was hilarious.

In the future O Pensador would like to write for a different medium, but not for the papers, something more free, maybe a book. He doesn't know. He finds that now he is limited by the meter of rap. He has always wanted to write but is now confined by a style of writing that must fit a rigid meter. He notes that before he writes for a different medium he will need to read a lot more and hasn't had much time to read.

O Pensador did enjoy reading Nélson Rodrigues, the sports writer, author, playwright, journalist, and innovator of a type of theater in which different scenes of action take place on various raised platforms at the same time. Rodrigues was also responsible for creating a scandal in the 60s with some themes he wrote about in O Beijo no Asfalto (A Kiss on the Asphalt). The play was on the surface about a man who had an accident on the street and survived by receiving artificial respiration. The underground theme, however, was homosexuality. O Beijo no Asfalto created a tremendous controversy at the time.

In another line from Como um Vício Gabriel says, "Pay attention to what I say. Keep that. Hip hop enters through your ears and goes to your head." Gabriel confesses in the tune that he is involved to his bones. He cannot go out. He is already addicted, passionately in love, and dependent on the thoughts that feed his mind and that push him further every day, and asks himself where he would be if it were not this way.

Note: Poetic flow and meter determined Gabriel's punctuation, and his punctuation was adhered to in the English translation.

Mentiras do Brasil

Era uma vez duas criacinhas Um mundo do faz de conta era onde elas viviam Seus nomes eram José e Maria E verde e amarela era a bandeira que vestiam Queriam viver com felicidade mas pra isso era preciso saber sempre a verdade Os adultos hipócritas provocavam sua ira Pois quem é puro não gosta de conviver com a mentira Mas Zizinho e Maria eram puros porém sabidos Deixavam tapados um dos lados dos seus ouvidos Pra não entrar pro aqui e sair por ali O que escutavam e achavam importante refletir E na TV as estórias que os adultos contavam Eles gostavam de ver Mas nem sempre acreditavam Se revoltavam vendo coisas que até cego já viu E resolveram fazer um lista com As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) E uma mentira absurda encabeçava o rol: Deus é brasileiro... (Só se for no futebol!) Certas frases conhecidas são mentiras e ninguém nega (Por exemplo?) "A justiça é cega!" Quem prega isso é canalha (psh! Não espalha) Porque aqui a justiça tarda... E falha! E o Zezinho gargalha com outra mentira boçal (qual?) "O brasileiro é cordial" aha! Mas que gracinha, imagina se não fosse! Se o brasileiro é amável, Adolf Hitler é um doce Porque a lei de Gérson é nosso Evangelho Todos querem se dar bem e não se repeita nem os velhos Dizem também que o pobre é malandro Mas o povão tá só ralando e quem tá armando são os grandes empresários e empreiteiros Mas até hoje só prenderam o PC e os bicheiros No país da impunidade tudo é contraditório Deixam o resto em liberdade em troca de um simples bode expiatório Que situação patética É real ou ilusório o processo restauração da ética? Será que é boato? Zezinho e Maria perguntavam E enquanto isso anotavam As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) Mentira tem perna curta e se desmente facilmente Zezinho estava em frente a uma loura linda e inteligente E tem gente que diz que toda mulher bonita é burra Quem acredita merece uma surra Dizem que o bebê vem da cegonha E que cresce pêlo na mão se bater uma bronha Mas o pequeno Zé não acreditava E se crescesse ele raspava A lista de mentiras aumentava: Comunista come criancinha, Aids é doença de gay. "Mentira!" (seu comunista, bota camisinha!) Mariazinha ficou mocinha e descobriu que era caô Que só exisitia sexo com amor Aprendeu a falar inglês e viu que não é só filme brasileiro que tem muito palavrão Pois foi no cinema e ouviu tudo que eles cortam na legenda e na dublagem da televisão Queriam as verdades sem cortes Queriam liberdade Queriam independência ou morte Perguntaram ao fantasma de Cabral a história real entre Brasil e Portugual: "Não foi sem querer que descobrimos vosso país Nós portugueses não somos burros como se diz!" Outra piada que não era nada séria era que a seca do Nordeste era a culpada da miséria Desculpa esfarrapada puro blá, blá, blá,... Pois se os políticos quisessem eles faziam o sertão virar mar! Tem também a lenda eterna da falta de verbas As moscas mudam mas é sempre a mesma... E a lista continua sem parar Com mentiras que o Pinóquio teria vergonha de contar As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) Diziam que o Brasil era o país do futuro Mas eles viram que o melhor era viver o presente Zezinho e Maria decidiram mostrar pra todo mundo que é mentira que o Brasil não vai pra frente! Eram crianças Tinham muita esperança Mas não queriam esperar pois quem espera nunca alcança Acharam nojento todo aquele fingimento E começaram a ficar violentos (O brasileiro tá cansado de ser enganado Daqui pra frente os mentirosos serão enforcados) E começaram assim uma revolução Controlaram todos os meios de comunicação E revelaram sua lista com as milhões de mentiras Que atrasavam a ordem e o progresso da nação Só tinham uma saída pro país Acabar com as mentiras pela raiz E como toda revolução deixa cicatriz O sangue jorrou feito um chafariz Foi uma vitória do povo e no final da conquista Zezinho e Maria puseram fogo na lista das maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) As maiores mentiras do Brasil Vocês e suas mentiras vão pra... (primeiro de abril!) E ao voltarem pra casa encontraram seu pai emocionado por tudo que eles tinham aprontado Uma nova era tinha começado e não era à toa que os olhos do coroa estavam encharcados Uma lágrima desceu e Zezinho percebeu que descobria mais uma mentira nessa hora...Homem também chora.

Lies From Brazil

Once upon a time two little children were living in the world of make believe Their names were José and Maria And green and yellow was the flag they wore They wanted to live happily but in order to do it was necessary to always know the truth The hypocritical adults provoked their ire Because those that are pure don't like to live with lies Zezinho and Maria were pure but they were wise They would plug one of their ears So the truth would not go in one ear and out the other They would listen to and believe what was important and think about it On the TV to the stories that the adults would tell They would like to watch but would not always believe They were disgusted by seeing things even a blind person has already seen They decided to make a list of The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) And the most absurd lie would be at the head of the list: God is Brazilian... (Only concerning soccer!) Certain clichés are lies that no one denies (For example?) "Justice is blind!" Whoever preaches this is a scoundrel (pssst! Don't tell anyone) Because justice is delayed... And fails! Zezinho bursts into laughter at another ignorant lie (which?) "Brazilians are very cordial" Ahh! What a cute thing to say But imagine if they weren't! If the Brazilian is amiable, Adolf Hitler is sweet Because the law of Gérson is our Gospel Everybody wants to get ahead but shows no respect to older people They say also that the poor are idle But the multitude has a terribly hard life and those who have more status are capitalists and managers But until today they have only arrested Collor's finance deputy and brokers in the animal lottery In a country were people go free without being punished everything is contradictory Everyone goes free in exchange for a naïve scapegoat What a pathetic situation Is it real or illusion the process of restoration of ethics? I wonder is it a rumor? Zezinho and Maria asked each other In the meanwhile they would take note of The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) Lies have short legs and are easy to deny Zezinho was in front of a beautiful blonde and intelligent And there are people who say that every beautiful woman is dim-witted Those that believe this deserve a thrashing They say the baby is brought by the stork And hair grows on the palm if you masturbate But the little Zé would not believe And if it grew and he scraped it The list of lies increased: Communists eat children, AIDS is a disease of gays. "Lies!" (mister communist, wear condoms!) Mariazinha became a teenager and discovered it was bullshit That sex will only survive with love She learned to speak English and realized that it wasn't only the Brazilian films that had many four-letter words Because she went to the movies and listened to everything that they had cut from the subtitles and everything they dubbed on the television They wanted the truth without censorship They wanted freedom They wanted independence or death They asked Cabral's ghost the real history of Brazil and Portugal: "It was not by chance that we discovered your country We Portuguese are not as dumb as people say!" Another joke that was not even funny was that the drought in the Northeast was to blame for its poverty Pardon my faded innocence bla, bla, bla... Because only politicians wanted to know if it would be possible to convert the back lands into an ocean! Also we have the eternal legend that the government lacks money The flies on the crap change but the lies are always the same... And the list goes on and on without ending With lies that Pinocchio would be ashamed of telling The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) They used to say that Brazil was a country of the future But they realized that it was better to live in the present Zezinho and Maria decided to show the world that it is a lie that Brazil does not advance! They were children They were filled with hope But they did not want to wait because those who wait never reach their goals They found the hypocrisy nauseating And started to become violent (Brazilians are tired of being deceived From now on liars will be hanged And then they started a revolution They controlled all the means of communication And revealed their list with the millions of lies That delayed the order and progress of the nation It was the only way out for the country To cut out the lies at their roots And as all revolutions leave scars Blood gushed as in a fountain It was a victory of the people and at the end of the conquest Zezinho and Maria burned the list of The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) The biggest lies in Brazil You and your lies go to... (April fools!) and when they returned home they found their father very affected by everything that they had put in order A new era had started and it was not accidental that the eyes of the father were filled with tears A tear came down and Zezinho realized that he had discovered another lie at this time...Men also cry.

Filho da pátria iludido

Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos Eu fico puto Eu fico louco Eu fico logo mordido Porque se fosse um americano eu já não ia gostar Mas o pior é brasileiro quando cisma de usar Uma jaqueta ou uma camiseta com aquela estampa D' aquela porra de bandeira azul vermelha e branca! Eu não suporto ver aquilo no peito de um brasileiro Me dá vontade de manchar tudo de vermelho Vermelho sangue Do sangue do otário Que não soube escolher a roupinha certa no armário E saiu de casa crente que tava abafando Eu vô tentar me segurar mas eu num tô mais agüentando!! Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (cores dos States com as estrelas e as listras) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (não somos patriotas nem nacionalistas) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (como o Tio Sam sempre quis) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (amigo vai messa que tu tá é fudido) E ele saiu de casa crente que tava abafando E eu fico puto Eu fico triste Eu fico quase chorando De pena de raiva de tristeza de vergonha Quando eu vejo esses babacas esses panacas esses pamonhas Que têm coragem de ir pra rua com um boné ou camiseta Com as cores da bandeira mais nojenta do planeta! Tem azul com estrelinha Tem branquinho e tem vermelho O filho da pátria é burro cego ou a casa dele não tem espelho? Eu acho que é burro mesmo Coitado Sem rumo sem governo totalmente alienado Bitolado do tipo que acredita no enlatado Que passou no Supercine desse sábado passado Eu tento me controlar conto até dez respiro fundo Ô filho da pátria é assim que cê pensa que vai chegar no mundo? Vestindo essa bandeira de outro povo Vestindo essa roupa escrota de submisso baba-ovo! Que vergonha que vexame que tragédia que fiasco: O enforcado desfilando com a bandeira do carrasco! Condenado Parece que merece a morte Me enraivece um colonizado usar a bandeira da metrópole! E não espere eles invadirem a Amazônia Pra saber que não passamos de uma mísera colônia Em pleno século vinte e um beirando o ano dois mil Por essas e outras devemos usar a bandeira do Brasil E lutar por um país fudido No quadro internacional Tira a camisa dos Estados Unidos seu débil mental! Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (cores dos States com as estrelas e a listras) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (não somos patriotas nem nacionalistas) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (como o Tio Sam sempre quis) Quando eu vejo um filho da pátria com a camisa dos Estados Unidos (amigo vai messa que tu tá é fudido) I'm an american and I'm proud of my flag But Gabriel is my friend and I understand what he said You gotta have personality keep your own nationality Look at yourself Try to live your reality And maybe we will all have just one nation some day But now use your own flag let me be U.S.A. Each one has his own country but life is way above We ain't talking about hate It's all about love... Amigo cê tá perdido enganado iludido Já devia ter sabido o que são os Estados Unidos Um país infeliz O mais hipócrita da terra Malucos suicidas e imbecis que adoram guerra Misturados num lugar cheio de farsa e preconceito Me diz porque essa merda de bandeira no seu peito? O quê que cê quer dizer quando veste uma camisa exaltando as belas cores dos opressores que te pisam? O quê cê quer passar pra pessoa que olhar pro seu peito e num entender de que lado você tá? Mas não precisa responder Cê tá do lado de baixo Você é uma fêmea no cio e o Tio Sam é o seu macho Você é o capacho dos norte-americanos Por isso ainda acho que exisste algum engano Porque eu não me rebaixo a passear vestido Com a roupa do inimigo: os Estados Unidos.

Deceived Son of the Homeland

When I see a Brazilian with an American flag T-shirt I become a son-of-a-bitch I become crazed I am bitten Because if I were an American, I would not like the situation reversed The worst thing for a Brazilian is to decide to wear a jacket or a shirt with that stamp That nauseating blue red and white flag! I cannot stand to see that on the breast of a Brazilian I feel like staining the whole shirt red. Blood red The blood of that fool Who did not know how to choose the clothes from his closet And he left home like a foolish peacock I am going to try and control myself But I cannot endure it! When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (colors of the States with the stars and stripes) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (we are not patriots nor nationalists) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (like Uncle Sam always wanted) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (buddy believe me somebody is going to fuck you up) He left home believing that he was showing off I become a son-of-a-bitch I become sad I almost cry With pity with rage with sadness and with shame When I see those fools those blockheads those simpletons That have the courage to go out on the street wearing a cap or a shirt with the colors of the most nauseous flag on the planet! It has blue with stars It has a little white and it has red The son of the country is dumb and blind or his house has no mirror? I believe he is dumb Poor little thing Without direction without guidance totally alienated He is the simple-minded type who believes the films from the United States That spent all of last Saturday at the movie complex I try to control myself count to ten and take a deep breath O son of Brazil is this how you think you are going to succeed in this world? Dressing in this flag of another people Dressing in these clothes of those with soft-boiled balls! What shame what insult what tragedy what fiasco: You are a condemned criminal parading with the flag that belongs to the executioner! Condemned He looks like he deserves to be killed I become furious to see him wear the flag of the colonizer! Don't wait for them to invade the Amazon In order to know that we won't accept being little more than a miserable colony In the stark twentieth century and with only a few years before the year two thousand Because of this and other things we should wear the Brazilian flag And fight for a country that has sunk In the international scenario Take off the shirt of the United States you moron! When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (colors of the States with the stars and stripes) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (we are not patriots nor nationalists) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (like Uncle Sam always wanted) When I see a son of the country wearing a shirt of the United States (buddy believe me somebody is going to fuck you up) I'm an American and I'm proud of my flag but Gabriel is my friend and I understand what he said You gotta have personality keep your own nationality Look at yourself Try to live your reality And maybe we will all have just one nation someday But now use your own flag let me be USA Each one has his own country but life is way above We ain't talking about hate It's all about love... Friend you are lost and deceived and deluded you should have already known what the United States is An unhappy country The most hypocritical land of Lunatics suicides and imbeciles that love war Mixed up in a place full of farce and prejudice Tell me why that flag of shit is on your breast? What do you want to say when you wear a shirt extolling the beautiful colors of the oppressors that step on you? What do you want to pass on to the person who passes by and looks at your chest and cannot understand what side you are on But you don't need to answer You are on the side underneath You are a bitch in heat and Uncle Sam is your peg You are the doormat for North Americans to wipe their feet on And that's why I still believe there is some mistake Because I don't lower myself by going places dressed With the clothes of the enemy: the United States.

Estudo Errado

Eu tô aqui Pra quê? Será que é pra aprender? Ou será que é pra aceitar, me acomodar e obedecer? Tô tentando passar de ano pro meu pai não me bater Sem recreio do saco cheio porque eu não fiz o dever A professora já tá de marcação porque sempre me pega Disfarçando espiando e colando toda a prova dos colegas E ela esfrega na minha cara um zero bem redondo E quando chega a boletim lá em casa eu me escondo Eu quero jogar botão, video game, bola de gude Mas meus pais só querem que eu "vá pra aula!" e "estude!" Então dessa vez eu vou estudar até decorar cumpádi Pra me dar bem e minha mãe deixar eu ficar acordado até mais tarde Ou quem sabe aumentar minha mesada Pra eu comprar mais revistinha (do Cascão?) Não. De mulher pelada A diversão é limitada e o meu pai não tem tempo pra nada E a entrada no cinema é censurada (vai pra casa pirralhada!) A rua é perigosa então eu vejo televisão (Tá lá mais um corpo estendido no chão) Na hora do jornal eu desligo porque eu nem sei o que é inflação - Ué, num te ensinaram? - Não. A maioria das matérias que eles dão eu acho inútil Em vão, pouco interessantes, eu fico pu... Tô cansado de estudar, de madrugar, que sacrilégio (Vai pro colégio!!) Então eu fui relendo tudo até prova começar Voltei, louco pra contar: Manhê! Tirei um dez na prova Me dei bem tirei um cem e eu quero ver quem me reprova Decorei toda a liçao Não errei nenhuma questão Não aprendi nada de bom Mas tirei dez (boa filhão!) Quase tudo que aprendi, amanhã eu já esqueci Decorei, copiei, memorizei, mas não entendi Quase tudo aprendi, amanhã eu já esqueci Decorei, copiei, memorizei, mas não entendi Decorebra: esse é o método de ensino Eles me tratam como ameba e assim eu num raciocino Não aprendo as causas e consequências só decoro os fatos Desse jeito até história fica chato Mas os velhos me disseram que o "porquê" é segredo Então quando eu num entendo nada, eu levanto o dedo Porque eu quero usar a mente pra ficar inteligente Eu sei que ainda num sou gente grande, mas eu já sou gente E sei que o estudo é uma coisa boa O problema é que sem motivação a gente enjoa. O sistema bota um monte de abobrinha no programa. Mas pra aprender a ser um ingonorante (...) Ah, um ignorante, por mim eu nem saía da minha cama (Ah, deixa eu dormir) Eu gosto dos professores e eu preciso de um mestre Mas eu prefiro que eles me ensinem alguma caisa que preste - O que é corrupção? Pra que serve um deputado? Não me diga que o Brasil foi descoberto por acaso! Ou que a minhoca é hermafrodita Ou sobre a tênia solitária Não me faça decorar as capitanias hereditárias!! (...) Vamos fugir dessa jaula! "Hoje eu tô feliz." (matou o presidente?) Não. A aula. Matei a aula porque num dava Eu não agüentava mais E fui escutar o Pensador escondido dos meus pais Mas se eles fossem da minha idade eles entenderiam (Esse num é o valor que um aluno merecia!) lííh... Sujô! (Hein?) O inspetor! (Acabou a farra, já pra sala do coordenador!) Achei que ia ser suspenso mas era só pra conversar E me disseram que a escola era o meu segundo lar E é verdade, Eu aprendo muita coisa realmente Faço amigos, conheço gente, mas não quero estudar pra sempre! Então eu vou passar do ano Não tenho outra saída Mas o ideal é que a escola me prepare pra vida Discutindo e ensinando os problemas atuais E não me dando as mesmas aulas que eles deram pro meus pais Com matérias das quais eles não lembram mais nada E quando eu tiro dez é sempre a mesma palhaçada Manhê! Tirei um dez na prova Me dei bem tirei um cem e eu quero ver quem me reprova Decorei toda a lição Não errei nenhuma questão Não aprendi nada do bom. Mas tirei dez. (boa filhão!) Encarem as crianças com mais seriedade Pois na escola é onde formamos nossa personalidade Vocês tratam a educação como um negócio onde a ganância, a exploração e a indiferença são os sócios Quem devia lucrar só é prejudicado Assim cês vão criar uma geração de revoltados Tá tudo errado e eu já tô de saco cheio. Agora me dá minha bola e deixa eu ir embora pro recreio...

False Study

I'm here What for? I wonder if it is to learn? Or I wonder if it is to accept, to be accommodating and to obey? I'm trying to be promoted to the next year to avoid my father's wrath Without recreation and annoyed because I didn't complete my assignments The teacher is picking on me already because she always catches me looking at the other students' papers and cheating during tests She scratches a very round zero on my forehead When the report card arrives at my home I hide I want to play tiddlywinks, video game, marbles But my parents only want me to "Go to school" and "Study!" From now on I'm going to study until I have memorized buddy To get along with my mother and not have her wait up late Or who knows increase my allowance To buy more magazines. (Mickey?) No. Of naked women The diversion is limited and my father does not have time for anything And to enter the theater the doorman checks I.D. (Go home little boy!) The street is dangerous then I watch TV (There is another body on the street) At the news hour I turn off the TV because I don't know what inflation means - Gee, they never taught you? - No. Most of the subjects they offer I find useless And of very little interest, I get very upset I'm tired of studying, of waking up early, what a sacrilege (Go to school!) And then I started rereading everything until the test started I came back excited to tell my mother: Mommy! I got a ten on my test I behaved and I got a hundred And I want to see who is going to criticize me I memorized the whole lesson I did not make an error on any question I did not learn anything worthwhile But I got ten (Good my son!) Almost everything I learned, tomorrow I am going to forget I memorized everything by heart, I copied, I memorized, but I did not understand Almost everything I learned, tomorrow I am going to forget I got everything by heart, I copied, I memorized, but I did not understand Memorization: this is the method of teaching They treat me like an amoeba and the same when I have a thought I don't learn the causes and consequences I only memorize facts In this way even history is boring But my parents told me the reason "why" is a secret Then when I don't understand anything, I raise my finger Because I want to use my mind to become intelligent I know that I'm not an adult, but I am already a person I know that studying is a good thing The problem is that without motivation we get bored. The system invests a mountain of money in the program. But to be an ingnorant (...) Ah, ignorant, if I could decide, I would not leave my bed (Ah, let me sleep) I like the teachers and I need a wise teacher But I prefer that they teach me something that is worthwhile - What is corruption? What is the purpose of a senator? Don't tell me Brazil was discovered by chance! Or that earthworms are hermaphrodites Or about the intestinal worm that becomes a snake. Don't make be memorize the hereditary captaincies!! (...) Let's escape from this cage! "Today I am happy." (Killed the president?) No. The class. I killed the class because it was impossible I could not stand it anymore I decided to listen to Pensador hidden from my parents But if they were my age they would understand (This is not what a student deserves!) Ehhh.......Rubbish! (What?) The supervisor is here! (The good times are over, go straight to the coordinator's room!) I thought that I was going to be suspended but it was just a talk And they told me there that school was my second home And it's true, I really learn a lot of things I make friends, I meet people, but I don't want to study forever! I want to be promoted to the next year I don't have any other way out But the ideal is that school will prepare me for life Discussing and teaching current problems And don't give me the same classes they gave to my parents With materials they can remember nothing about And when I get a ten it's always the same farce Mommy! I got a ten on my test I behaved and I got a hundred And I want to see who is going to criticize me I memorized the whole lesson I did not make an error on any question I did not learn anything good But I got ten (Good my son!) Confront students with serious issues Because it is at school that we form our personality You see education as a business where earnings exploitation and indifference are partners Those who should profit are the only ones that lose You are going to create a generation of frustrated people Everything is wrong and I am fed up. Now give me my ball and let me go play.

Bruce Gilman plays cuíca for
Mocidade Independente Los Angeles,
received his MA from California Institute
of the Arts, and teaches English and ESL
in Long Beach, California.