Gabriel o Pensador

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Gabriel o Pensador
Young man in mid conversation with interviewer
Pensador in Los Angeles, 2019
Background information
Birth nameGabriel Contino
Born (1974-03-04) March 4, 1974 (age 45)
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, writer, composer
Years active1992–present
Associated actsDetonautas Roque Clube,[1] Ithaka,[2] Boss AC,[3] Fabio Fonseca[a], [b], Itaal Shur[c], Lulu Santos, General D

Gabriel Contino, better known as Gabriel o Pensador (Portuguese for "Gabriel the Thinker") is a Brazilian rapper, writer, and composer known for his intellectual lyrics which speak of activism, and issues of race, politics, social problems, and the Catholic church.[4] Gabriel began his music career when he launched a demo tape containing the song "Tô Feliz (Matei o Presidente)" I'm Happy (I killed the President) landing him a contract with Sony Music. Since then he has released eight albums: Ainda É Só o Começo, Quebra-Cabeça, Nádegas a Declarar, Gabriel o Pensador, Seja Você Mesmo (mas não Seja sempre o Mesmo), MTV ao Vivo, Cavaleiro Andante and Sem Crise (this last one was released independently). Gabriel has also written three books: "Diário Noturno", "Um Garoto Chamado Rorbeto" and "Meu Pequeno Rubro-Negro". "Um Garoto Chamado Rorbeto" won the "Prêmio Jabuti", for best Children's literature.[5]


Coming from a middle-class family,[6] a unique background among Brazilian rappers, Gabriel, the son of a well known journalist in Brazil, hit fame in 1992 with the song "Tô Feliz (Matei o Presidente)" ("I'm happy, I've killed the president"), the debut single from his first and eponymous album. This song was written in protest of President Fernando Collor de Mello and his corrupt administration. Gabriel's mother was Collor's press secretary.[7] The same album also yielded other hits, including "Lôrabúrra" ("Dumb Blonde", shortened) and "Retrato de um Playboy" ("Portrait of a Playboy"), bringing hip hop mainstream attention in Brazil by catering to the middle class. Although rapping about everyday life, Gabriel also found time to talk about social injustices with his fourth single, "O Resto do Mundo" ("The Leftovers of the World", a pun on the word for "leftovers" and "rest" being the same in Portuguese), a more downbeat track about homeless life, with a purposefully depressive melody and flow. Gabriel was "notorious for his biting attacks on some of the major ills of Brazilian society: poverty, racism, violence."[8]

His following albums were also commercially successful, with a careful blend of socially relevant tracks mixed with airwave-minded pop anthems. His third album, Quebra-Cabeça, was released in 1997 and sold over one million copies.[7] History-minded, Gabriel was highly influenced by other Brazilian music, including bossa nova, samba and MPB, as well as using hip hop's traditional methods of sampling jazz, funk and disco ("2345meia78", for example, sampled Chic's "Good Times").

In 1994, while touring in Portugal, Gabriel's song "Lavagem Cerebral" (Brainwashing) was received with much praise. The piece was accepted as "a strong social critique of Brazilian society and of the ideology of the dominating classes."[8]

Besides his native Brazil, Gabriel, o Pensador is also well known in other Lusophone countries such as Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and has worked with Portuguese musicians like Sérgio Godinho and General D. In 2004, he recorded his first song in English entitled, Who's The Enemy?, that appeared on the album, Fishdaddy Flashbacks.[9]

Other projects[edit]

The musician has also released three books: "Diário Noturno" (Brazil and Portugal; poems and short stories), "Um garoto chamado Rorbeto" (Brazil; fiction poetry for children) "Meu Pequeno Rubro-Negro" (Brazil; about children who support Flamengo, like himself). He has been a juror on the spelling bee contest "Soletrando" (in its second edition) on the program Caldeirão do Huck.[10] Concerned about the truancy among a group of boys he helped in Rocinha, in , Rio de Janeiro, Gabriel put his hands to work and created an NGO called "Pensando Junto"(Portuguese for Thinking Together), an organization serving a social, educational and cultural purpose for children and youth in the community of Rocinha, providing its participants with access to culture, education, leisure, food, medical, dental and psychological care. The organization offers tutoring and courses for a group of underprivileged children in the Rocinha district, located in Gabriel's hometown of Rio de Janeiro, where he still lives in today.[11][12] Gabriel is also a member of the Dreams Can Be Foundation, a nonprofit charitable supporting organization and a Brazilian NGO dedicated to aiding street children and impoverished youth in Brazil, working in partnership with local organizations and NGOs to provide: education, moral and social development, humanitarian relief, and the offering of opportunities where there were none before.[13]


Studio Albums
Album Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
Top 30
Gabriel o Pensador 1 1 3
  • BRA: 750,000
  • ABPD: 3x Platinum
Ainda É só o Começo 1 2
  • BRA: 150,000
  • ABPD: Gold
Quebra-Cabeça 1 1 6
  • BRA: 1,500,000
  • ABPD: Platinum
Nádegas a Declarar 1 4 50
  • BRA: 250,000
  • ABPD: Gold
Seja Você Mesmo (mas não Seja sempre o Mesmo) 4 5
  • BRA: 100,000
  • ABPD: Gold
Cavaleiro Andante
  • Released: June 6, 2005
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Format: CD, download digital
9 13
  • BRA: 50,000
  • ABPD: Gold
Sem Crise
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Independent
  • Format: CD, download digital
  • BRA: 20,000
Live Albums
Album Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
Top 30
MTV ao Vivo 3 3
  • BRA: 100,000
  • ABPD: Gold
Album Title Album details Peak chart positions
Top 30
Gabriel o Pensador: As Melhores 1 3
Tás a Ver: O Melhor de Gabriel o Pensador 12 10 19
Como um Vício


List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Year Title Peak chart positions Album
BRA Hot 100 BRA Hit Parade BRA Year End POR
1993 "Tô Feliz (Matei o Presidente)" 1 2 40 27 Gabriel o Pensador
"Lavagem Cerebral"
1995 "Rabo de Saia" 19 11 Ainda É Só o Começo
"Estudo Errado" 1 1 24
1997 "2345meia78" 1 1 17 39 Quebra-Cabeça
1999 "Tô Vazando" Nádegas a Declarar
"Astronauta" (ft. Lulu Santos) 8 12
"Cachorrada" 2 1 12
2001 "Até Quando?" 1 1 Seja Você Mesmo (mas não Seja sempre o Mesmo)
"Pega Ladrão!" 12 12
"Se Liga Aí" 14 15
2003 "Retrato de Um Playboy - Parte II" 11 7 MTV ao Vivo
"Cara Feia" (ft. Titãs) 23
2005 "Palavras Repetidas" 18 4 Cavaleiro Andante
2012 "Surfista Solitário" (ft. Jorge Ben Jor) 17 Sem Crise

Other Songs[edit]

List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Year Title Peak chart positions Album
BRA Hot 100 BRA Hit Parade BRA Year End POR
1993 "Lorâbúrra" 1 1 6 48 Gabriel o Pensador
"175 Nada Especial" 15 12
1997 "Cachimbo da Paz" 1 1 8 Quebra-Cabeça
"Dança do Desempregado" 11 8
"Festa da Música" 5 4 100
1999 "Nádegas a Declarar" (ft. Fernanda Abreu) 7 5 Nádegas a Declarar
2001 "Tem Alguém Aí?" (ft. Digão) 25 Seja Você Mesmo (Mas Não Seja Sempre o Mesmo)
2003 "Tás a Ver?" 14 Tás a Ver: O Melhor de Gabriel o Pensador
2005 "Tempestade" 68 Cavaleiro Andante
2008 "Amigo Urso – Resposta do Amigo Urso" 70 Como um Vício


  1. ^ "Detonautas – biografia". Studio Matheus Levi. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Estrela, Filipa. "AC Para os Amigos é o novo disco do Boss". Destak. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Magaldi, Cristina (October 1999). "Adopting imports: New images and alliances in Brazilian popular music of the 1990s". Popular Music. 18 (3): 309–329. doi:10.1017/s0261143000008898.
  5. ^ "Gabriel O Pensador leva prêmio Jabuti de melhor livro infantil". Folha Online: Ilustrada.
  6. ^ Bollig, Ben (Fall–Winter 2002). "White Rapper/Black Beats: Discovering a Race Problem in the Music of Gabriel o Pensador". Latin American Music Review. 23 (2): 19. doi:10.1353/lat.2002.0017.
  7. ^ a b Gabriel o Pensador
  8. ^ a b Behague, Gerard. "Rap, Reggae, Rock, or Samba: The Local and the Global in Brazilian Popular Music (1985–95)." Latin American Music Review 27, no.1 (Spring/Summer 2006): 79–90.
  9. ^ . Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^
  11. ^ Redação Tititi. "Gabriel O Pensador tem ONG que oferece reforço escolar". Educar Para Crescer.
  12. ^ "Ong Pensando Junto (Gabriel O Pensador)". Rocinha.ORG. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "About Us". Dreams Can Be Foundation. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Os Discos mais Vendidos do Brasil". Portal Sucesso. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014.

External links[edit]