Meet The Teenage Female Rap Group From Rio’s Favelas Set To Take Over The World

We heart three-piece girl group Pearls Negras


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

Allow us to introduce you to Jennifer, Alice and Mariana – otherwise known as Pearls Negras – the insanely talented teen rap trio from the Vidigal favela in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The latest – and most addictive – of a recent burst of talented female rappers hailing from Brazil (do yourself a favour and check out

(meaning Our Gang) an instant hit when it went online this month.

Outkast’s Andre 3000’s a fan, as were the heaving group of fans who came and saw their first London show last week. And it's not just about the music with these girls. As pacification escalates in Rio, Pearls Negras are resolutely proud of their heritage and use their Beastie Boys-esque rhymes to wax lyrical about everything about being a young woman growing up in Vidigal. Which is why we wanted to have a chat with them...

Well, tell us a little bit about yourself then...

Mariana: I always think of Jennifer as the sweet one, I'm smart and different and Jennifer is super-sexy. We're all all just about the music and having fun.

What makes you different to other girl groups out there?

Mariana: Ever since we started we've been different to everyone else out there. Yeah there are lots of bands, especially in Rio de Janeiro, who do baile funk, but thanks to our tutor in the Rhyme school in Vidigal we learnt to be innovative and take things forward with our rhymes and our talent. It's difficult for three young girls in the world of rap ≠ how often do you see that?! Of course we're different to other acts!

Talk to us about Vidigal – what was it like growing up there?

Jenny: People make assumptions about the favelas, but we're really proud of our heritage – we're not at all ashamed of being born and raised in the slums. Our community is wonderful and there is so much talent there. It has everything – music, theatre and it's an amazing tourist spot and is one of the most beautiful places in Rio de Janeiro. Every place has its ups and dowsn, but we wouldn't be we are now with Vidigal – we learned to sing and dance and act there at Nós do morro ( community school of theatre).

READ MORE: Bandidos And Gun Fire: The Reality Of Living In Brazil's Favelas As A British Student

What are your main influences in fashion and music?

Alice: We don't follow trends or trendies, we have our own personality. But Nicki Minaj is amazing.

Marianne: I'm all about Beyoncé.

Jennifer: Ciara!

READ MORE: Men Wanted Female Only Brazillian Village Seeks Suitors

You were in the UK last week – what did you think of it?

Marianne: London was amazing – it's so busy, it's like it never sleeps. That massively caught our attention.

Alice: I loved the mix. The cool thing is that there are places to go if you for hip hop but also quite sophisticated spots to hang out at. London is a really beautiful city and we love it.

What's the response to your music been like so far?

Alice: People seem to love us so we're so excited – people follow us and come up to us at the end of our gigs to congratulate us. It's cool. We played a gig in london and Andre 3000 came to talk to us in the end of the show! We didn't actually recognise him because he was wearing a hat and glasses, but someone came and said: 'Wow! Do you girls know who this person is?' We couldn't believe it!

**How's it been being young women breaking into the industry? **

Jenny: At the beginning, it was constantly hard and we had to face a lot of sexism ≠ we actually wrote a lot about it on the album. But now we're making our mark, we see it less and less. We came fighting against prejudice to win our space and other women and girls in the rap world are trying to do the same.

What's the best thing about being a young woman today?

Marianne: Everything! I love just having the space to be who I am. Being a woman is about having guts and determination! And we are just independent and doing our thing – sometimes just one of us is worth a whole bunch of men, trust me.

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

Additional translation by Anne Santoro

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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