Boss AC, artistic name of Ângelo César do Rosário Firmino (born in Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cape Verde, on January 3, 1975), is a Portuguese rapper and singer. He is considered one of the pioneers of Portuguese hip hop.
Boss AC is the son of Cape Verdean singer Ana Firmino and Cape Verdean painter António N. Firmino (Toy Firmino). He was born in Cape Verde and came to Portugal at a young age, spending his childhood and adolescence in Lisbon.
Boss AC started his musical career in the late 80’s. He became the lead singer of Cool Hipnoise, then Boss AC was a group composed of AC and Q-Pid. He also made several guest appearances on records by Da Weasel, General D and Fernando Cunha, from Delfins, which gave him some impetus in the music world.
At that time, rappers coming mostly from the peripheral belt of greater Lisbon gained some projection. This movement came to be translated into the compilation “Rapública” (Sony, 1994) in which Boss AC was responsible for the production, authorship and composition of the songs “Generate Power” and “A Verdade”. As his first songs were released on disc, Rapública marked the definitive start of the artist’s career.
In 1996, he was the author of Cavaco Silva’s campaign anthem.
Manda Chuva (Send Rain)
In mid-1997 Boss AC left for the US, where he recorded the tracks that formed the album Manda Chuva, with the mix of Troy Hightower, one of the most requested hip-hop mixers in the US. Boss AC got in touch with him through Mind Da Gap, whose song “No Ceremonies” was mixed by Troy.
After pre-production and recording of the album in New York, Boss AC returned to Portugal, where he recorded the voices that participated in Manda Chuva. The artist invited names like Sam and Melo D, or DJ’s Soon and Dee Nasty. Built like a movie, the album uses intros and several other skits to connect the themes.
Manda Chuva hit stores in 1998, marking the singer’s debut. The album, reflecting Boss AC’s old intentions tries new musical approaches – ragga, soul, R&B – always around hip-hop. The influence of his African origins is also noticeable, with themes such as “Corda” and “Tunga, Tunguinha” sung in Creole, and “Velhos Tempos”, which talks about his childhood in Lisbon. On this album, he had the vocal collaboration of Q-Pid.
Rimar Contra a Maré (Rhyming Against the Tide)
In December 2002, Boss AC compiled the songs he had been creating since the release of Manda Chuva in his second album of originals, “Rimar Contra a Maré”, entirely recorded, produced and mixed by the author himself, with the exception of two songs that were mixed by Troy Hightower. “Rimar contra the tide” was considered an extremely autobiographical and somewhat dark album, expressing his disenchantment with the world.
The theme “Baza, Baza (Hoje não Quero sabe)” was one of the great successes of the album, which catapulted the musician to the spotlight of Portuguese hip-hop, due to the popularity it reached. The theme “Lena” was already included in the soundtrack of the Spanish film of the same name, from 2001. The bonus track “É Mintira” is a song in Creole that featured the guest voice of TC. Gutto once again participated in the tracks “Quieres Dinero” and “Lena”. The CD was developed by Jorge Cervantes for Andinos at the Cervantes studio, Paço d’Arcos.
In February 2005 the music video for the single “Quieres Dinero”, produced with Gutto, was nominated for the African Music Video Awards, in the category “Best Special Effects”, of the South African channel “Channel O”.
Ritmo, Amor e Palavras (Rythm, Love and Words)
Also in 2005, in March, Boss AC released “Ritmo, Amor, Palavras”, whose mixes were in charge of his longtime collaborator, Troy Hightower – who has mixed for De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Outkast and Janet Jackson, among others – at Hightower Productions studios in New York. The mastering was signed by Jim Brick, at Absolute Audio Studios, in New York, where works by Mariah Carey, Puff Daddy and Mos Def have already been mastered.
The CD has the participation of several artists, namely Carla Moreira (“Boa Vibe”), Pos, from De La Soul (“Yo (Não Brinques Com Esta Merda)”), Rita Reis (“És Mais Que Uma Mulher”), Sam The Kid (“Please Come In (Tuga Night)”), Berg (“Princess (Kiss Me Again)”), Da Weasel (“You Only See What You Want To See”), DJ Konnecta (“Who Feels , Sente”), Débora and Gutto (“Sentir So Well”) and Konscious (on the bonus track “Original Riddim”).
“Ritmo, Amor e Palavras” reached gold status in August 2005, having sold over ten thousand copies. In October it reached the platinum record, having sold more than 30,000 units by the end of the year. Within the hip-hop genre, it became one of the three best-selling albums ever in Portugal. The debut single, “Hip-Hop (Sou eu e és tu)”, quickly ascended to the first places in the tops, leading the preferences in the media such as MTV Portugal, Cidade FM, and Antena 3, among others. He was also part of the soundtrack of several television programs with a large national audience and appeared in multiple compilations edited during 2005. In September 2005 he was nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards, in the category of Best Portuguese Act.
Boss AC embarked on an extensive tour, with concerts in Portugal and also in Mozambique. In October, the Portuguese rapper secured the first part of 50 Cent’s debut in Portugal at the Pavilhão Atlântico in Lisbon.
Preto No Branco (Black On White)
In January 2008, Boss AC released the first track of their new album, “Preto no Branco”. The theme is called “Levanta-te (Stand Up)”, and its music video was released on July 21 on MTV. The album also features Mariza’s participation in the song “Alguém Me Ouviu (Mantém-te Firme)”. The single, the aforementioned song, “Levanta-te (Stand Up)” and “Acabou (Até Te Esquecer)” are part of the soundtrack of the series ‘Morangos com Açúcar’.
AC Para Os Amigos (AC For Friends)
AC Para os Amigos, released on February 6, 2012, is Boss AC’s latest album, and marks the musician’s debut for Universal Music.
- “Sexta-feira (Emprego Bom Já)”, was the first single from the album, released in February 2012. It obtained good positions on the Portuguese charts (3 consecutive weeks on TOP+; among the top 10 until April on TNT – Todos no Top; 3 on the MTV Portuguese Charts).
- “Tástabater” was the 2nd confirmed theme, whose video was filmed in Brazil. Current news was that the Portuguese rapper would also be the first confirmation for the academic parties in Porto that year. According to the Jornalista Porto Net portal, the interpreter would be the main attraction of the student party poster on May 6, 2012.
- “Tu És Mais Forte” was the third song with a music video, released in August 2012, featuring Shout. Before being officially launched, Boss AC had a cameo on a radio station show “Comercial”, where the theme was broadcast exclusively for the first time nationwide. With the meaning of the letter «you are stronger … and you know you can win / believe», AMI created a campaign to help and support disadvantaged children.
Awards, recognition, collaborations and media appearances
After the release of Manda Chuva, in 2002, Boss AC joined Gutto (also called Bantú at the time), the leader of Black Company, one of the bands that recorded in Rapública, authors of what was probably the first great success of the Portuguese rap, the theme “Nadar”. Boss AC and Gutto formed No Stress, currently one of the biggest hip-hop producers in Portugal.
In the following years, the rapper participated in works by Xutos & Pontapés and Santos & Pecadores, composed for cinema (“Zona J”, “Lena”) and television (“Masterplan”, “Último Beijo”).
In 2006, the singer was nominated for the second consecutive time at the MTV Europe Music Awards, in the Best Portuguese Act category.
Boss AC has participated in several Cape Verdean music festivals, including the famous Baía das Gatas Festival, in São Vicente, the first of its kind in Cape Verde and generally considered the most highly regarded.
In 2007, Akon invited Boss AC to a remake of the hit “I Wanna Love You”. A music video for the remake was also released.
The CMTV anthem, of which an excerpt is reproduced in the channel’s tabs, is also by Boss AC. The anthem was made public on the channel’s 2nd anniversary in 2015.