Rico Dalasam: “Orgunga” Album Review

Written By: Natalie Maza

Youtube: Alie Angeles

If there’s one piece of advice anyone the queer youth community has learned from living in Latin America, it’s that in most places, it’s in your best intention to stay quiet and hidden if you don’t want to risk being ostracized and possibly open yourself to danger. However, it seems this unspoken law did not fit well with Rico Dalasam of São Paulo, Brazil, who continues to gain popularity within the LGBTQ+ community. If anything, his popularity comes not only from breaking the rules in terms of the hip-hop and rap genre, but also from breaking taboo when it comes to labels and identity as a Latino male artist.

The eccentric rapper has been building publicity since his first single “Aceite-C” two years ago, but has shattered all expectations upon releasing his first full-length album in the summer of 2016: Orgunga – the artificial word’s meaning described by the artist himself as “a pride derived from shame”. Well, that definition wholly condenses the vibe of each of the album’s eight singles, embarking a journey surrounding the topic of embracing your identity, from bending gender norms to exploring your sexuality, no matter what social status you come from.

With songs like “Esse Close Eu Dei” and “Relógios”, Dalasam creates his own multicultural genre, applying the use of rich rhymes and paced beats while borrowing aspects of reggae, samba and electronic music, ending up with something truly unique and meaningful. His lyrics touch on an eccentric party life and staying true to himself, as well as his struggles and path built from growing up in what he describes as the ghetto, effectively linking his Afro-Brazilian pride with his gay pride.

The album blurs the lines between several genres, while in its native Portuguese, the eloquently chosen rhymes are spit through percussion beats that speak to the tribal soul of whoever’s listening. The pain and pride of several communities shine through the verses: the queer community, the black community, the Latino community and the hip-hop community itself. We are all represented through the fast-paced melodies chosen by the rapidly flourishing Rico Dalasam.

For a tropical rhythm that keeps you moving and a lyrical compilation that speaks the undeniable, I would classify Orgunga as one of the finest album releases of this past summer, and a much needed tribute to the LGBTQ+ community, not just for the members of the first world, but globally appreciated as well.