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Marcelo D2 – onstage and in the favela

We hooked up with Brazilian hip-hop icon Marcelo D2 to talk about inspiration, an Argentinian soft spot and how Pele is not of this earth

Born in the north of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo D2 was a kid who grew up in Brazil obsessed with football, skating and music. He journeyed his way through various professions, with stints as a paperboy, furniture salesman and editor of a skating fanzine on his CV, until in '93 he founded Planet Hemp in '93 and the hip hop group took Brazil by storm with their debut record, User.

At the turn of the millenium, Marcelo D2 became increasingly focussed on his solo work and forged his own path away from Planet Hemp. We met the tattooed football obsessive him on two days over the course of the tournament, following him to a performance and to a football match with friends in a favela.

Dazed: Marcelo, have you enjoyed the tournament so far? What changes have you noticed on the streets of Brazil?

Marcelo D2: For a football fan like I am, following the World Cup so close has been amazing. Even though the atmosphere wasn't quite friendly before the tournament started, we are the homeland of football, it is in our blood. So the people, although aware of everything that has been stolen in the process of preparing the country to host the event, are cheering on the streets and playing their part as an audience.

What did you think of Brazil's performance?

Marcelo D2: Can we skip this one? Brazil's performance was unacceptable.

What was the atmosphere like performing during the tournament?

Marcelo D2: I've actually played three times. During the first phase of the tournament I played at three different Samba Schools courts after Brazil's matches. It was an awesome experience – the atmosphere of music and football combined. The audience was amazing and performing in an atmosphere like this was an unreal experience.

Have you felt inspired artistically by the tournament taking place in your home country?

Marcelo D2: I think so. I write about daily things, things from our everyday lives. There's no way of not being inspired when an event as huge as this takes place in your country.

This Brazilian team seems to be lacking stars of old. Aside from Neymar there are no players like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or Rivaldo - big players with big hearts. Do you think this is a problem?

Marcelo D2: Brazilian football is being ruled by moguls that stay there at their box seats just watching matches and selling players. This is a clear reflection of a generation that is exported quite young. Just like Africa, Brazil started producing players for the market, and that inevitably started killing all the spontaneity of football.

A lot of the Brazilian media have been highly critical of Fred - what do you think of the player?

Marcelo D2: I believe that the real problem of Brazilian football nowadays is that we have been being milked by CBF for years. We can't blame Fred, or any other player for that.

Who was better - R9 or Pele?

Marcelo D2: Ronaldo was one of the best centre forward players that has ever existed, but Pelé is way beyond that ... Pele is not among the mortal ones.

Now Brazil are knocked out, who do you want to win it?

Marcelo D2: Controversially, Argentina. They have Messi, I have plenty of Argentinian friends, so I am supporting them.

Did you play football as a child? What position? Did you ever want to be a footballer, or was it always music?

Marcelo D2: I still play it! Every week my pals and I get together for some football like you know, and we take it seriously. We have tables, bad refereeing decisions, championships. Actually, what I really wanted was to be a professional skater. But it didn't work quite out, so here I am singing.

Are you working on any new music that you’d like to tell us about?

Marcelo D2: I am always working on something, as the name of my last album says "nothing can stop me". But now I am focused on releasing the first solo DVD of my career, which should reach the stores this year.

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