“We Are One” (Ole Ola) is this year’s official soundtrack of the World Cup that kicks off in Brazil within a month, but the track, sung by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez, hasn’t generated the results predicted by Fifa’s marketing executives.
Instead, the tune hitting all the right notes and racking up the most views on YouTube, comes from MC Guime: a heavily tattooed, slender-framed and gold-chain-wearing funk rapper from São Paulo’s Osasco shanty town.
“It’s going to be down to the people to decide what Brazil’s official song for the World Cup will be,” MC Guime told The Independent as he prepared to go on stage to perform to over 6,000 fans in a nightclub in Barra Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
His offering, “Pais do Futebol” (Football Nation) features football superstar Neymar and one of Brazil’s most respected rappers, Emicida, and has 21,500 YouTube views to Fifa’s 15,000.
The song is about escaping poverty through dedication and hard work, be it football, singing, education or otherwise, to realise your dreams.
“Look how far we’ve come,” MC Guime sings triumphantly in the song’s chorus.
It’s a journey a generation of Brazilians are rapidly becoming familiar with. The economic boom over the last decade has lifted tens of millions out of hardship and created a new middle class.
“Things are changing, more of us are now singing about an aspirational lifestyle and achieving it, instead of rapping about sex, guns and violence,” explained Guime, as he admits he, like others, started off by borrowing the ostentatious style of US rappers.
“My biggest inspirations are Wiz Khalifa, Soulja Boy, and Rick Ross,” he revealed.
His show on Friday night is before a socially mixed crowd of cash-rich playboys and girls rubbing shoulders with designer-wearing newly middle-class youngsters. They all wave their hands in the air, raising bottles of Johnny Walker whisky and Absolut Vodka to show their approval.
They’ve helped to make Guime a millionaire – he earns over £100,000 a month from a schedule of 30 shows.
However, not everyone is supportive of the change. Brazilian music critic Regis Tadeu describes funk ostentation as an aberration.
“Guime is the most accurate portrayal of an emerging generation of youngsters from a less privileged socio-economic background who have suddenly acquired the means to acquire consumer goods, but failed to use their time to get access to culture and education,” he said.