Famed Brazilian rapper Dum-Dum, real name Washington Roberto Santana, dead at 57 following stroke

 May 13, 2023

A prominent rapper in Brazil, Washington Roberto Santana, better known by his stage name of Dum-Dum, passed away this week at the age of 54, according to Brazilian media outlet Metropoles.

Santana, lead vocalist of the rap group Central Faction, reportedly died on Friday due to complications from a stroke he suffered on April 6 that left him hospitalized in a serious condition.

He had been placed into an induced coma in order for surgery to be performed but never woke up from that coma.

Former partner said, "Your legacy will be eternal"

The outlet reported that Santana's death had first been announced on social media by his Central Faction group but that no information was provided with regard to a wake or memorial service.

His former stage partner for many years, Eduardo Taddeo, said in his own post to social media, "Unfortunately, this morning, national rap has become poorer. One of the greatest voices in hip hop has left us. Your legacy will be eternal. Rest in peace my bro, all the hoods of Brazil thank you for what you did and represented."

Santana and Taddeo had first formed Central Faction in 1989 along with a few other rappers who eventually left the group, as did Taddeo in 2013, which resulted in Santana taking on the lead vocalist role as he was the only remaining original member.

Collaborated with major U.S. rap artists

According to one report, Santana was born in 1969 and grew up in the slums of Sao Paolo, Brazil, and began rapping in the late 1980s with a style and stage presence that was described as "unique," "poetic," and "energetic."

His group, Central Faction, was described as "a blend of old-school hip-hop, funk, and soul," and following the release of a debut album in 1992 were regarded as one of the more "promising" rap groups to come out of Brazil during the 1990s.

Several more albums were released over the years and the group actually collaborated on several occasions with well-known American rap stars like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac, with Santana providing background vocals on a number of hit songs.

The report noted that everything wasn't always great for Santana, though, as he reportedly dealt with drug addition throughout his life and legal troubles that stemmed from his career, including an arrest and jail time in 2001 for cocaine possession and lawsuits from former group members over unpaid royalties and other issues.

Music video was once censored and banned

One of the biggest problems for Santana and Central Faction came in 2000, according to a report from Brazilian media outlet Folha Online at that time, in which the group was censored and banned from airing a music video on MTV by the Brazilian court system.

The video and all copies were reportedly ordered seized after it was determined by Brazilian authorities that it allegedly incited the "theft of homes, vehicles, bank branches and ATMs, in addition to kidnappings, illegal possession of weapons, release of prisoners through violence, robbery, and homicide, indicating success in criminal operations."

Ironically, the video was also alleged to have incited "racism" and "prejudice" against black residents of Sao Paolo by portraying them as criminals, and the video, once seized from MTV -- which turned it over under threat of a lawsuit -- was held by the government as evidence in multiple criminal investigations.

At that time, then-lead vocalist Taddeo had argued that it was all a big "misunderstanding" and that the group was not condoning or promoting a criminal lifestyle but rather was highlighting their problems with society more broadly, and asserted that the ban on their video amounted to the sort of "censorship" one would expect from a "dictatorship."

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