Its been about a year since my first record, the “Sou Funk” ep came out in 2006 and it is time that I publicaly appologize to both the Brazilian Baile Funk scene and the International Baile Funk scene. At the time I was trying to start a record label but was having little success signing an artist so in a lapse of judgment I pressed five Funk songs that I did not properly license, properly credit, or properly compensate. This was wrong and I admitt full responsibility for doing so. I am taking the time now to appologize for my actions and I wanted to make public my intentions to correct the situationSince the summer of 2006 I have been working really hard to make amends for that first EP. That summer I was contacted by Greg Scruggs an American living in Rio doing a research project on Baile Funk music. He wanted to know details of the release and discuss the process that went into making the record. I told him everything that had happened to that point; that it was a bootleg, that I did not pay the artists, that I was sorry for not doing this correctly and I was going to work on another release and have the profits go to a not for profit called Two Brothers which is a school in Rocinha. From there I asked him if that summer he would be able to contact some artists he had already interviewed about doing a release on my label. At first Greg was disappointed I did not take the traditional channels in releasing the music but was happy that I wanted to take steps to correct my wrong doings and wanted to help me achieve my goal. I think it also helped that I told him upfront that I wanted to donate the profits to the “Two Brothers” school which he was also volunteering at that summer. From roughly July of 2006 I have been working closely with Greg to address a lot of the problems that have plagued the international and Brazilian community’s dealings with Baile Funk music licensing, royalties and ownership. Traditionally in Brazil there is a cycle where artists inside the favela will make “proibidao” (prohibited) Baile Funk, tracks that talk about gangs and violence, which can gain an artist a lot of local buzz. But these tracks cannot be played on the radio so they are often sold and then re-recorded with more pop lyrics and softer beats. When the artist in the favela sells the song, the contracts stipulates that he is signing over all of his rights to the music for a one time fee (roughly $1000 reais or approximately $500), the artist will not be allowed to play the song live any more, and that the artist will get no credit for the musical process that was put into the song. In the Baile Funk scene this is just business as usual and has created a huge divide in who actually is getting money from CD sales, radio play, and international licensingOur goal with our international release is to combat this system where money is only filtering to the top of the food chain. To achieve this we are licensing songs directly from the Brazilian artists, making sure that we pay for music upfront while also giving royalties after CD and record sales, and also making sure that the contract our artists were signing was in Portuguese so they can be 100% aware of everything going on. The first step was to work with a lawyer in Rio and create a contract that stipulates that Flamin Hotz will not own any of the music, that the artist will keep all the rights/artistic merit to the music, establishes a payment plan and that the artist can use the songs we release for any other compilation or release that they want. (if you want a copy to read hit me up but its in Portuguese) The next step was to identify music by artists that we wanted to release and present them with the idea and the contract. The response has been overwhelming with many key players, who already have international releases on other record labels, wanting to work with Flamin Hotz. Even as we speak we are finalizing the track listing and putting the CD into production hopefully in June for a July release. The CD will also include in the liner notes translations of all the music in Portuguese and English, myspace information and contacts to get more Baile funk music legitimately, and also a short excerpt from Paul Sneed the head of Two Brothers who wrote his doctorial thesis statement about the Socio-Political importance of Baile Funk in the Favela community to try and combat some of the negative press that is focused on the violent aspects of the scene/music.
As the release evolved over the year we have changed it so Flamin Hotz are no longer going to be donating the profits to “Two Brothers” but instead we are going give more money to the artists. We have decided to do this since we have been working hard with Greg doing fund raising for “Two Brothers” in other avenues and have been a part of a collective of people who have raised close to $10,000 for the school. I would also like to add that we have been working with a Brazilian enthusiast out of Chicago, Kul Clothes ( http://flaminhotz.com/www.myspace.com/kulclothes) , on a fund raiser T-Shirt for “Two Brothers”. Pictures are below and they should be done by June 5th. All of the profit of the sales will go to Two Brothers and the shirt includes a brochure about the school and how you can get involved. We also have a second design in the works with an update about how the money is being used and some pictures of the new building in Rocinha. I have also been talking to Greg, who is going back to Rio this summer, to see if he can reach out to MC Frank, Serginho, Doca etcâ€¦ to talk to them about the “Sou Funk” release, offer restitution and to try and open avenues to work on another 12″. I will keep this website updated with this information. Please email me if you have any questions or would like to get involved with two brothers or if you would like to see the Brazilian contract.Â