Touring with an artist in Brazil.
Pay’s Adventures in Brazil.
(Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Florianopolis)
Pay got the opportunity to tag along on Chingy’s tour in Brazil. Although she had expected to run into more hip hop/music related stuff over there, this became a more personal review on the experience of touring with an artist, in Brazil. Being around an artist like Chingy and his entourage, and experiencing the first time being in Brazil came together in the following read.
October 13, 2009
Friday October 9th it’s the day I am flying to Brazil. It’s my first time going to South America really. I had to get up at 4 am, way too early for me but I was still excited to go. Mostly cause I get to see my best friend in the whole galaxy again, after so many years. Although we speak on the regular on the phone or online, I’ve missed being around him. He has been the biggest positive force in my life for the past decade. I’m not even sure if I would still be around if it wasn’t for him. He has always been there for me and helped me through a lot of difficult situations in my life.
Anyway, I’m off to Paris cause I have a layover there. I hate layovers but this was the cheapest ticket. (Hey, it’s a recession lol) Charles de Gaulle airport is the first airport I sorta got lost. With all the flying I do, that’s nuts really. The arrows on the signs in that airport point to the wrong direction. Normally if you have to go straight ahead, the arrow points up. At Charles de Gaulle they point down. So I kept thinking I had to go back, the other way. And I don’t seem to be the only one that had problems with that. My girl Fyza told me she had the same thing when she was flying through that airport lol.
When I arrive at the right gate, I don’t have to wait long to board. The flight is on time. Off to Brazil! The flight is about 12 hours. Even though the fight is pretty full booked, I manage to get an aisle seat when I originally had a seat between two people. Flying Air France is pretty ok. Decent food and ice cream and candy as much as you can eat. Haagen Dasz that is, shit was good!
When I get to Rio de Janeiro the weather is really bad. Nope, not the sunny beach and fine women and carnival country we all know it for. It’s raining worse than cats and dogs. It’s rain storming so bad, the plane couldn’t land at first. Rio de Janeiro airport is the easiest I’ve ever been through. Within literally 10 minutes I’m already outside. Immigration just smiled and stamped my passport and customs just took the forms from me without even looking at them. Suitcase was out already also and BAM, I was standing in the hall of Rio’s airport. Peterson, the driver that came to pick me up was there with a sign saying PAY. I had a BLAST with Peterson, simply cause he didn’t speak a word English and I don’t speak a word Portuguese haha!
Traffic was really bad. It was dark outside already and still raining really bad so I couldn’t really see anything of Rio yet. We ended up being stuck in traffic for 3 hours. 1/4th of my flight over here. But like I said, I had mad fun trying to hold a conversation with Peterson, we were mixing up English, Portuguese, Spanish, hands and feet. And somehow we managed to understand each other enough to actually talk about things. I did take a nap in the van cause I barely slept on the plane or at home the night before.
9 pm I wake up thinking “Damn are we still driving?” but a few minutes after I woke up, Peterson turns around to let me know we finally got to the hotel. With my ass all fucked up, I stumble into the hotel to let them know I’m there. As I sit down in the lobby, Efrem walks up to me. Its like one of them long lost and found-reunions you see in the movies. Oh what good it felt to see him and hug him again. =)
Once I get to the room and saw my bed I just had to take a nap before the show that night. Efrem had to go meet some fans or something with Chingy so I had time to rest. For those that don’t know, I came to Brazil for Efrem’s birthday. But during that time, Efrem put together a tour for Chingy, the artist. No I’m not his biggest fan, nor do I really care for his music like that but the tour is there so I am tagging along. More so cause of Ef than anything else. Side note: I met Chingy a few years ago already in London on the Ludacris show, where I was with Efrem as well and a day later in Amsterdam where Benny and I had an interview with him for Royal Radio.
At 1.30 we take off for the show. I met all the people once we get downstairs where we all had to hop in the two vans to go. Nobody over here speaks English so even talking to Efrem’s friends and people he works with, is really a challenge. We get to the club in Rio, The Week. Pretty nice club, it was packed outside the venue already. I really felt like a tourist with NO knowledge of the language. We get to the small ass VIP section a little above the side of the stage. The show was pretty cool, I filmed parts of it. After the show it was the typical “groupies trying to get to the artist-stuff”. I’m tired as hell, pretty much ready to go. But as I was sitting there watching the Brazilian club scene, I felt disappointed in the women. With all the stories and all the things my homies say about the women down here, there literally was not ONE fine ass woman that I seen in the club. I was sitting there with DJ Sno and Rich Money. Rich was saying the same thing about the women. It was his first time in Brazil as well so he had the same high expectations that I had. Nonetheless the women were all over them of course.
We were supposed to have a 6 am flight to Sao Paulo but Chingy and the guys had so much fun, we of course missed the flight. Now we had to take a bus ride to Sao Paulo which would take about 4 or 5 hours, so we were told. We had a mini bus and left at 11 am from Rio to Sao Paulo. That morning in daylight, I saw that our hotel was right on the beach really, but the skies were dark grey and it was misty from the bad rain so it looked nothing like the Brazil we know from movies and videos and all.
I still didn’t get any sleep. Maybe one hour from the time we got back in the hotel til we had to get up and leave. I figured I can get some hours in on the bus. I now could really relate to the life of an artist with this running around, partying and getting no sleep. But once I got on the bus, I wanted to see the country. I mean, how many times will I get to be on a road trip from Rio to Sao Paulo and catch the scenery? Seeing the slums and the really poor houses (half way built and lots of aluminum), was pretty real. It was also still raining really bad. Although the sky cleared up as we drove further south.
Everybody on the bus was knocked out, except for DJ Sno and me. We were choppin’ it up about the music business, radio and all kinds of things. Then later on I just put my ipod on and was relaxing with music while looking outside my window. After a few hours we stop for food and all, which was the first meal I had since 3 pm that day before, on the plane! We all know Pay NEEDS food. So I was happy lol. It seemed the driver is driving mad slow so it was gonna take a lot more hours to get to Sao Paulo. Once we ate, the guys were up and were wildin’ out on the bus lol. I can definitely say I had a LOT of fun and laughs with these cats. They are fun people to be around so I didn’t mind tagging along on this tour. Big Country, Chingy’s security guy is hilarious! He started doing the jerk on the bus hahaha! I got some of that on tape, hehe.
Seeing the drive took too long and Chingy had to be at some radio station for promo, they arranged for a car in the next city we go through, to pick Chingy and Country up so they can speed over to the radio station instead of being on that damn slow bus we on. Fast forward, we finally arrive in Sao Paulo, its dark outside again already. We spent the whole damn day on the bus. Even within Sao Paulo, with the bad traffic and all, again, it took us another 2 hours or so to get to the hotel. We passed a McDonalds right before we get to the hotel so we all decided to go there once we dump our stuff in the rooms. So we did. Most of us went to go there for food, but found out that McDonalds was closed already by that time. Nana, Efrem’s assistant, who lives in Sao Paulo as well, tells us there’s another one a few blocks away. We all agree to walk over there. It was sightseeing for me. The big strip reminded me of walking in Manhattan with all the big buildings and all. Sao Paulo looked very modern to me in comparison to the little I had seen of Rio de Janeiro.
When I get back to my room later on, I was so messed up from all the traveling I been doing the past 2 days and the crazy lack of sleep, I laid down in the bed and just wanted to sleep. The guys all wanted to go to the club and as much as I wanted to see the nightlife of Sao Paulo, I went to sleep.
The next day its Sunday, mind you, I had no clue what time, day or even year it was at that point lol. I still didn’t get much sleep, maybe only 3 hours or so. But it was a good 3 hours. Ef ordered breakfast for me through room service, that shit was GOOD. And guess what? I saw the SUN out! When we got to Sao Paulo the night before, it was still raining, it stopped raining later at night but it was pretty cold too.
Anyway, I called Nana to see if she wanted to go to the stores with me, I had seen some stuff the night before when we walked to McDonalds. It was SO nice outside, finally I felt like I was on vacation. After we went to the store, Nana suggested to lay out at the pool and of course I was down with that. We got some sun in! Just an hour or so maybe cause the sun out here is really dangerous in the afternoon hours, doctors advise not to lay out in the middle of the afternoon.
Tony Touch had also arrived that morning. In the evening we went to sound check with all of them. I met DJ Cia from Brazil, who I have attempted to talk to online a few times already. Again, this went with hands and feet when we met in person but we understood each other. Really nice guy and a dope ass DJ too. When we get to the venue, Tony wants to find some food. Nana, Tony and me find a McDonalds ha! Americans I tell ya, McDonalds is the first thing they eat when abroad lol. We go back in the venue where Chingy is still doing sound check. Once they saw the MickeyD’s bags of course they wanted some as well. I got some funny behind the scene footage from the sound check. =)
The show that night was ok. I recorded a lot. Tony definitely did his thing. The VIP section that night was ridiculous after the show. The groupie action in there was by far one of the most horrible I’ve seen in my life. It was like watching National Geographic Channel. “Groupies in their natural habitat”. I was sitting there with my bottle of water just observing and being entertained. Til it got too much for me. The chicks just leaning over the fence to the VIP, hanging over my head, spitting, reaching for Chingy, yelling shit in Portuguese, nah man, I was ready to be out. I even had to save Les (Chingy’s manager) and Chingy from this crazy chick that kept bothering them. Luckily we came with two vans, and those who were ready to go back to the hotel were able to just leave with one of the vans. DJ Sno, Tony Touch, Soni, Nana, D and me went back. We were talking about music, house music and all that on the way back, sparkled by Tony’s event in NY that took place that night as well.
When we got back to the hotel, Tony was like, lets hang out and chill in my room, so we went there to hang out, mind you its like 5.30 am already. I was mad hungry so I ordered breakfast. But before it arrived people got sleepy and went back to their rooms, so I went back to my own room to wait for the breakfast. Then the others seemed to have arrived back in the hotel. Calling the room asking where Ef was. Ef didn’t come back yet, he was still at the venue taking care of business. I hear groupies screaming in the hallway, Chingy and Rich got attacked by them or something. Attacked in a good way I guess. (Ef and I are on the same floor as them.) It was a crazy situation. While I’m still up, waiting for my breakfast, Les called and he came up to hang out with me while I was waiting. Finally breakfast came and we’re still choppin’ it up. We just yapping the morning away til I had to cut it off cause sleep was necessary. I ended up going to sleep at 8 am. I heard Ef get back at some point but I was too sleepy to even really notice it.
A few hours later I’m up already. Its 11.30 am. Why I don’t know. I was supposed to go to the pool again with Nana but its real cloudy outside so I stay in the bed. At some point, it started raining and hailing really bad. Even to the point where one of the guys said it was snow. I didn’t open the curtains to look outside but it was madness against the windows on the 16th floor. I stayed in the bed watching movies while Ef is trying to work and catch sleep in between. Around 4 pm I decide to go get food outside. It’s still raining but not that bad anymore. Les and I go to Subway to get sandwiches. Ordering when not speaking Portuguese can make some funny situations but she got our subs right. We stop by the local supermarket to stash up on snacks and head back to the hotel. After I ate my sub, we watched an episode of CSI and I fall asleep again. I wake up at 8 pm, not knowing where the hell I am. I finally realize I’m in Brazil, in a hotel, in Les’ room. Les is still sleeping though. I’m like maaaan, that was Monday LOL. Earlier we decided that we wanted go bowling but seeing it’s a holiday in Brazil this Monday, the 2 alleys we found over here were closing early already.
I leave Les sleeping and go to my own room and get online to check my emails and stuff while Efrem, Chingy and Country are in the seating room “chasing a black dress” (a girl that was at the club the night before). Unfortunately I found out a friend of mine passed away, that kinda threw me off and upset me. Thankfully I got a hold of my other friend on the phone, to find out what happened. I decided to just go back in the bed, watch some movies on TV and call it a day. The passing of my friend triggered thoughts of how much I hate being so far from loved ones and don’t get to spend the time I wanna spend, with them. I’ll be ok though, if anything, it makes me appreciate the time I have here with Efrem even more.
It’s Tuesday right now. Tomorrow is Efrem’s birthday. J. Rawls just landed in Sao Paulo and is on his way to the hotel. I’m sitting here typing away. The birthday party/event we had for tonight is canceled. Due to some business stuff that’s going on. As much as I was looking forward to the party tonight, which was really the main reason I came out here, for Efrem’s party, I understand how the business works. And I just wanna spend time with my best friend, that’s all that matters right now.
I have 3 days left, seeing I fly back home on Friday. Time flies. I will write more later when I get a minute again. Now I’m waiting on J to get here and figure out what to do today. We fly out tomorrow to Floripa (Florianopolis). Maybe we can go bowling tonight, who knows. I’ll wait til Les is up and see what’s up. (–12 pm)
October 18, 2009
I ended up going to Starbucks with Les to get some hot chocolate. Yes, hot chocolate, in Sao Paulo Brazil. It was chilly outside and still mad cloudy. Thank God it wasn’t still raining. I still can’t believe I went to Starbucks to get hot chocolate. But again, the weather is not really summer weather, keep in mind, it’s spring in Brazil this time of year. After we went to Starbucks, we walked down the street to Domino’s to order pizza. Now this was hilarious. I got this on video too. Don’t ask me why we hit up all the American spots, but in the streets where our hotel is located, we really can’t find any real Brazilian food spots. Plus I didn’t have the energy to go look for them either.
Later that evening I find myself being bored in the hotel room again. We wanted to go bowling this night but for some reason we were all slow and late so I figured, another evening spent in the room. Pretty stupid seeing I wanted to go out and see Sao Paulo. Around midnight Nana calls the room and tells me they’re having a surprise for Efrem downstairs in the lobby so my sleepy ass goes downstairs. Everybody is already sitting there and they bring out a cake and sing happy birthday in Portuguese.
Right at the moment we are all done singing, someone walks up in the “party”. It’s Herbie Hancock out of all people! Herbie Hancock is staying at the same hotel! So suddenly everybody was all up and excited. People tweeting about it at the same time (J.Rawls, me, Tony Touch and Soni) and snapping pics left and right with Herbie. That was awesome. From all the places in the world, I’m in Sao Paulo, running into Herbie Hancock. That’s definitely a night to remember. Plus that was a real big surprise for Efrem on his birthday.
There were also some Portuguese groupies from the other night at the venue, I wasn’t really trying to be in that situation but Efrem had fun on his birthday. So I figured, let him have his fun with the people, drinking and partying with the guys and the girls. Les and me just went back up to watch TV shows he downloaded. (CSI, House, Family Guy) Aint that something huh?
The next morning I wake up around 9 am, still in Les room. We are leaving that day to go to Florianopolis (Floripa). I go back to my own room and find Efrem there, awake as hell, with one of them chicks. Just chilling in the seating area. Lord did he give me the 411 on what happened that night. From the three girls that came to the hotel, one left at night and the other two were fighting over Rich and the one that was still in our room decided that dude wasn’t worth it so she got back over to our room to kick it with Efrem. (She was the first to put dips on Rich but her friend didn’t care and went for him as well LOL) I told the girl she shoulda left her girl here and shoulda gone home. Any girl that chooses a dude that you don’t know from a hole in the wall and probably never will see or talk to again, over your years of friendship, is NOT a friend.
After I shower and packed, I call Les to go downstairs for breakfast. Efrem joins us later and tells me the girl took my advice and bounced haha! Man that shit is hilarious. It’s like living in a reality show or something. And I didn’t even get into THAT much detail when it comes to these chicks. Efrem goes to run some errands and Les goes back to his room to pack and all. When I get upstairs to my room, the front desk calls me that there’s a woman in front of my door. I open the door and see it’s that trick that was in Rich room all night. She had left her jacket and cell phone in our room in the seating area. I give her her shit and tell her to bounce. But she babbles something in Portuguese that she wanna go in my room, so I show her that everybody is gone. I can tell that she’s asking me where everybody is (meaning her girl). I’m like, aint nobody here waiting for you, you gotta leave ho! And I escort her out the door. I’m like why I gotta throw these ho’s out the hotel? LOL
I go check on J.Rawls seeing we’re leaving and I wanted to chop it up with him before we do, so we hang out for a bit. The van to the airport is at the hotel already at 1 pm. We’re all loading up but then some real shit went down. Our flight is at 3.45 pm. It’s about 40 minutes to the airport. Not calculating bad traffic in there. Now in all the commotion we can’t seem to leave in the van. We hop out and go into several taxis. The police is getting involved and all I see is Efrem yelling mad at the van driver, in Portuguese so I have no idea what that’s all about. In the end it looked like they strong-armed Efrem, he had to pay up before the driver wanted to take us anywhere. We end up leaving at 2.15 pm, to go to the airport, in the van. This was some bullshit for real. EVERYBODY was already in the mind state that we’re going to miss our flight. D, Les, DJ Sno, we were all like, we gonna miss it.
3.15 pm we arrive at Sao Paulo airport, Efrem and Nana rush to the check in desk with all of our passports. We run over there with all the luggage and run to the gates. Man, security is NOTHING in Brazil. We could leave our laptops in our bags, our drinks, all liquids, the whole shabang went through the x-ray machine but not a peep from the security people. Sno even got some weed through lol! We run straight for the gate and slided in the back of the line for boarding. We made it. We were all surprised that we did. Happy though cause it woulda been hell to change all of the tickets.
We arrive in Floripa around 5 pm. What a beautiful, beautiful island it is. And that was without a doubt the smallest airport I’ve ever seen or been to. Once we get out the plane and walk in the little building, within 2 steps you’re at the luggage belt. About 5 steps after that, you’re already out the airport hahaha! Literally! We hop in a van again to go to the hotel. Driving over the island seeing the bay and the sun setting was gorgeous. Beaches, palm trees, but not warm, it was chilly as hell again. Windy too seeing it’s an island. (Florianopolis is further down south from Sao Paulo.) This is like the “rich, more white people-area”, place to be, in Brazil.
The hotel that the promoter over there initially had booked was MAD small and not do-able so we switch. Back in the van with all our shit. We end up checking into the Sofitel right on the strip including ocean view. 5 minutes from the downtown area, shops and all that. It takes us so long to check in, by the time I get to the room it’s already 8 pm. D, Nana, Les and me decide to go eat at Pizza Hut (yes another American spot –sigh lol). Hey, they had free wireless connection there haha! I tell our waiter Tony aka Maradona (yes the soccer player) that its Les’ birthday (even though it’s not midnight yet). We end up getting a free dessert, a sweet chocolate pizza.
After we eat, I just wanna go sleep. Country, Rich and Brian end up going drinking at the Irish Pub around the corner and end up going to the club, El Divino, which is also the club where the show will be at. I fall asleep in Les room again, watching CSI lol.
The next day, Thursday, it’s my last day in Brazil. I wanna go outside, see things, do stuff, get my tourist on and all. Efrem is working, doing business and I end up going to the mall with Nana, D and DJ Sno. It’s only a few blocks walk from our hotel. That mall was 8 floors and huge. I felt like I was in the States, but everything was very cheap. Not too long after that, we get back to the hotel to hop in the van with everybody for a little tour over the island. The only one that didn’t join us is Rich, he was too hung over to come with us.
This island is BEAUTIFUL. From North to South it’s only 53 kilometers, with 400.000 residents, spread over the city and the beach towns. Our hotel is at the northwest bay. We drive down to the south east bay while Efrem and our driver Geraldo are telling us about the area’s we’re passing through. At the south bay we stop to eat at a famous seafood restaurant. The restaurant is known for all the pieces of paper all over the walls and ceilings. The pieces of paper are written on by every customer that has been there. The food was good and we had a beautiful view on the ocean from inside. It was cold and windy as hell though.
-Let me state that Country is one of the funniest fuckers I ever met. I’m gonna have to talk to him to give him his own show on my website. I swear this dude is TOO much hahaha! Doing the jerk in the bus to Sao Paulo as well as swag surfing in the restaurant in Floripa LOL. I swear I thought he was gonna go cripwalking up in there too!-
That evening when we get back to the hotel, Nana and me go back to a store at the mall where I wanted to buy some more jeans. We also find a hair salon to get our hair done for the party tonight. I figured oh well, its my last night, let’s do it up! Also very funny to go to a hair salon and explaining the stylist how you want your hair, without speaking any Portuguese haha! He ended up doing a great job though.
The show in Floripa was OFF THE CHAIN. The people were wildin’ out and it was packed. After the show, we end up from the stage, which was upstairs, to the VIP area downstairs. Again, it was packed. Hot as hell in there too. DJ Sno was doing his thing! I went crazy when he actually started playing Masta Ace’s Born To Roll! One of my favorite songs EVER. Chingy was hosting away on the mic for three hours straight! I definitely had a blast. Except for these damn groupie chicks. Three of them were all up in the guys faces, for the obvious of course. They were on the couch dancing then went down on the floor in front of Chingy. So I stepped up on the couch to get my groove on. But once they were “done” dancing on the floor, they got back on the couch and knocked me straight off. I was SO ready to hit that bitch with my bottle of water. But I was like, let me calm my ass down seeing I don’t know Portuguese so if the police has to get in here cause I’m knocking a bitch out, I can’t talk to them or explain myself, nor understand what they are saying. So I decided to cool off on the other side of that VIP section and just relax. Effin’ groupies I tell ya, it’s NOT that serious.
Around 5 pm, I go back to the hotel with Rich, Country, Les and Chingy. The van is supposed to go back to pick up the rest. They didn’t end up coming back til 6 pm. Some troubles at the club with one of the groupies that the security people didn’t let leave. Les calls me to get downstairs for breakfast. I get downstairs and the three girls that annoyed the shit out of me at the club, were in the lobby. Oh, by the way, in Brazil, you can’t just take people (girls) up to your hotel room. You have to pay for them as if they were checking in. It was like that at the hotel in Sao Paulo also.
So the girls stayed in the lobby. These groupie situations are funny but at that moment I was annoyed and tired. One of the girls asked me if I was Portuguese. I wanted to say Nah yo, can’t you see I’m staying at this hotel? (I was wearing my comfy clothes already.) Breakfast finally opens at 6.30 and while I was signing in for breakfast, the hotel chick over there thought I was one of them ho’s also. That pissed me off as well lol. I was practically wearing my PJ’s. I did NOT look like I came straight out the club for these dudes.
Breakfast with Chingy, Brian, Les, Rich and Country is funny as hell. But I was so tired and I had to leave for the airport at noon already. I said my byes and went to sleep. Slept a few hours and then got up, packed my stuff and said bye to D, Nana and Les before the van picked me up. I flew from Floripa to Sao Paulo first, then from Sao Paulo straight home. The rest of them were flying to Rio later that day for the last show in Rio. Once I finally boarded the plane to Amsterdam, I took one of the pills that Les gave me, just to get some good sleep. I had 3 chairs to myself so I laid out and BAM I was out. I slept a full 8 hours on the plane. That was the best sleep I had from the whole time I was in Brazil haha.
In the end, the whole week didn’t go as expected, or as how it should have been going. A lot of business got messed up so we all had to wing it, but despite everything I had a lot of fun. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to see my best friend again since years and for the fact I got the chance to see Brazil in so many different ways, even though I didn’t really get my sightseeing on. I saw Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Florianopolis, three different sides of Brazil. I also made some great new friends and connections that may be established for life.
Now most of my friends know I’m not Chingy’s biggest fan, nor do I particularly care for his music. But, touring with these guys did show me that it’s not ALWAYS about the music, it’s also about the networking and the people themselves. They are all great guys, each and every single one of them. They are open, friendly, HILARIOUS, cool and nice. Never once did I feel out of place there, seeing I wasn’t really part of the entourage, I was just tagging along. I respect Chingy for what he does even though his music type isn’t really my taste. I did end up bouncing along to the songs at the show in Floripa, I mean it’s poppy and people do like it. Lol.
Shout outs to all the people I’ve met and hung out with in Brazil. Peterson, Paulo, Thais, Brian, Nana, Demetrius, Les, Big Country, Rich Money, Chingy, Tony Touch, Soni, Geraldo, DJ Cia, and whoever I forgot. Lol.
Shout out to J.Rawls, it was great hanging out again, in Brazil even!
Shout out to Herbie Hancock for being really cool and nice.
I feel blessed to have had this experience with an artist and his people, in a country I’ve always wanted to visit. I thank my bootisserie, Efrem aka Offshore, for having made this trip possible for me. Love him to death. <3
I didn’t expect my review on this trip to be like this, but that’s what my experience was. I stay International. Next stop? Who knows. =)
Much love. <3
-Pay aka Ms International.