Racionais MC’s first appeared on the Zimbabwe label compilation Consciência Black (Black Conscience) in 1988. Their songs Pânico na Zona Sul (“Panic on the Southside”) and Tempos Difíceis (“Hard Times”) offer a snapshot of favela life with lyrics vividly depicting rampant police brutality, racism, poverty, and crime. The group released their first album, Holocausto Urbano (Urban Holocaust) in 1990. The EP included the two songs from Consciência Black along with three new tracks dealing with themes of loose women and institutionalized racism. The group played several shows around the city and state of São Paulo over the next two years, including two shows at the FEBEM (Fundação Estadual do Bem-Estar do Menor) juvenile detention center and a special show with Public Enemy at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera.
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