Way back in 2004, photographer/filmmaker Brian Cross’s Mochilla company, in collaboration with Wax Poetics magazine, teamed up with Brazilian beatdigger and record slinger DJ Nuts for his first mixtape CD, Cultura Copia.
It was only two years earlier that Nuts would have his life in São Paulo turned upside down after meeting Brian Cross aka B+ when the filmmaker brought his Brasilintime squad to Brazil for a filmed show. In tow, on the American side, was photographer Eric Coleman, beat wizard Madlib, and supreme DJs Cut Chemist, Babu, and J.Rocc.
“I became like a tour guide for B+ and all the friends from California,” Nuts remembers. Soon, Nuts would be bringing a who’s who list of American DJs and producers to the local, and iconic, record spots in the city.
“I still like getting phone calls about people coming to Brazil to buy records,” he continues, “like when Q-Tip calls and he’s like, ‘I’m in your town, can you take me record digging?’ And you know, you’re like, ‘This is just beautiful.’ And you have DJ Spinna, Alchemist, Maseo, and so many friends I made like this. I became like an ambassador for this, like, if you want to get hooked up for Brazilian records, call Nuts. Like when Kenny Dope came to my house, I was like, what?! This is not normal. Like when you take Ali Shaheed Muhammad, when you take these heavy guys record digging, it’s just beautiful. J Dilla, for example. We had J Dilla here in Brazil! I could never have imagined that.”
For Cultura Copia, as the title references, Nuts brought together some Brazilian funk and soul and Brazilian cover versions of American songs to show off this newfound vibe he achieved through the hard work of digging. It was the first release on Mochilla’s fledgling record label, and one of the first Brazilian mixes to show music lovers what the vast country had to offer in terms of funk and soul. From there, with the help of Brasilintime, some Wax Poetics articles, and a flood of Brazilian music comps and reissues to follow, the Brazilian explosion happened in full in the U.S.