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In a small and crudely painted green room called "the bunker," 18-year-old Lucas dos Santos da Cruz and his friends go over rhymes in their heads. Soon they will be competing in freestyle rap battles on a poorly illuminated square in the "City of God," one of Rio de Janeiro's most notorious and violent slums. For the young men, rap is a way to express frustration with the violence that permeates their daily lives.To see how residents were dealing with an increase in violence in Rio's favelas, an AP team spent eight days with two families in the City of God, which was made famous by the 2002 Oscar-nominated film by the same name.While many teens participate in rap battles to deal with the stress of violence, others cope by learning a musical instrument, participating in capoeira dance circles or taking university prep classes in a community center.
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