Filipino hip hop

Filipino hip hop

Filipino hip hop can be divided into two main categories: hip hop as performed and followed in the Philippines, and hip hop performed and followed by people of Filipino descent overseas, mostly among Filipino Americans in the United States.

At present, there are striking differences between the two, with the former taking a more old school style approach to rapping and orchestration. This can be understood by the fact that many Filipino people follow current American hip hop artists, and may simply see the difference as being that of American hip hop sounding one way and Filipino hip hop sounding another. Although there is strong support for underground artists through area affiliation or artist collectives, the vast majority of hip hop artists in the Philippines are seen by the strongly Catholic Filipino society as socially unfavorable, due to the mature nature of some of their lyrics which often portray the harsh realities of a developing country; while the latter, due to their immediate surroundings in more productive areas of hip hop as well as economical advantages, are able to perform and orchestrate in current styles and branches of hip hop, giving content and listening choice a wide array of options, and unlike in the Philippines, the youth-oriented culture of many western countries attribute to many Filipino-American or overseas Filipinos support of these overseas Filipino hip hop artists. However, a growing number of Philippine hip hop artists in the Philippines have been orchestrating and rapping in styles closer to Hip hop variants followed worldwide today, showing a new wave of "outside-in" influence. The Philippines has the oldest hip hop scene in Southeast Asia, largely due to that nation's historical connections with the United States, the birthplace of hip hop. Filipino rap is heterogeneous, encompassing rap in languages such as Tagalog, Chavacano, and Cebuano, as well as English. The musical style has become as diverse as hip-hop music itself with such sub-genres as Kalye (Street), Masa (Commercial), Makabayang (Ethnocentric/Socially conscious), Gangsta, and underground rap.


Origins: The roots of hip-hop in the Islands

The beginnings of hip-hop culture in the Philippines can be attributed to several main factors; the innate of them being the heavy influx of American musical styles in that country as reflected in the widespread popularity during the 1960s of Motown artists The Temptations, The Supremes and The Jackson Five and later in the 1970s of Funk, Soul and Disco music. Bands such as The Commodores, The Gap Band, James Brown, Con Funk Shun, The Bar-Kays and Earth, Wind and Fire among many others received heavy rotation on Manila airwaves. The future importation of hip hop culture and music, similar to the previous genres mentioned can be credited to the direct contact Filipinos received with both Americans and Filipino Americans, or as they are commonly called "balikbayans", stemming from the root words "balik" meaning to come back and "bayan" loosely translating into hometown or homeland. [cite web| url=| title=Republic Act No. 9174| year=November 7, 2002| publisher=Republic of the Philippines| accessdate=2006-07-02]

The intimate relationship between hip-hop culture and the large Filipino American community along the United States West Coast naturally resulted in the exportation of rap music back to the Philippines. Numerous cassette tapes, videos, books and magazines concerning hip hop issues and popular rap artists would be sent out by Filipinos to family members back in the islands. :]

The towns and barrios surrounding the numerous American military bases that were scattared throughout that country such as Clark Air Base in Angeles City and Subic Bay Naval Base in Olongopo were among the earliest to be exposed to the culture; as contact with African-American, Filipino American and Latino servicemen resulted in some of the earliest exposure the locals had to the new musical genre. [cite web| url=| title=History of Pinoy Rap| accessdate=2006-07-02]

Groundbreaking hip hop films such as "Wild Style" (1983), "Breakin'" (1984) and "Krush Groove" (1985) were also major influences; and as early as 1982 local breakdancing crews like the Angeles City based Whooze Co. International, with members consisting primarily from Clark Air Base, "The Eclipse" (whose former members included Francis Magalona, Dance 10's Darwin Tuason and current Federation Sounds' Glenn "Kico" Lelay), Info-Clash Breakers and Ground Control (members included Rap Master Fordy, later to be known as Andrew E. and Jay "Smooth" MC of Bass Rhyme Posse) became mainstays in local parks and malls in and around the Metro Manila area such as Glorietta Mall, which was an early hotspot for breakers. Several mobile DJ crews of the era included such names as the Rock All Parties Crew which emerged onto the scene only to produce such future Pinoy rap pioneers as Andrew E. and Norman B.

1980s: Seeds of a movement, from the South Bronx to Metro Manila

The birth of Filipino hip hop music (commonly called Pinoy Rap and its emcees "Rapistas") came in the early 1980s, with early records from Dyords Javier ("Na Onseng Delight") [cite web| url=| title=Phil Music Registry| accessdate=2006-07-02 (Link appears to be broken as of last access, no relevant content is visible)] and Vincent Dafalong ("Nunal"), both records released in 1980. Early influences on the genre included American hip-hop icons Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Run-D.M.C., Ice T, KRS-ONE & Boogie Down Productions and Eric B. and Rakim among many others.

The genre developed an underground following in Metro Manila during the 1980s. Fact|date=February 2007 In late 1989, former DJ and breakdancer Andrew E., or, as he was then called, Rap Master Fordy, introduced two of his friends from the mobile DJ group Rock All Parties Crew, Norman B. and Andy "Luv" MD, to J "Smooth" MC, an acquaintance from Andrew's breakdancing days. The trio would go on to form the group "Pine Rhyme" (for Las Piñas City, the area from which they hailed), later to be renamed the Bass Rhyme Posse. [cite web| url=| title=Bass Rhyme Posse Bio| accessdate=2006-07-02|] The pioneering act was Pinoy hip hop's first rap group and would release their self-titled debut album on VIVA Records in 1991 which spawned the cult hits "Let the Beat Flow", "Buhay Estudyante" (Student Life) and "Juan T." becoming the genre's first rap group to release a record. [cite web| url=| title=Bass Rhyme Posse Facts| accessdate=2006-07-02|]

The genre soon entered the mainstream with Francis Magalona's debut album, "Yo!", which included the nationalistic hit "Mga Kababayan (My Countrymen)". Magalona (widely known by the aliases "Francis M., The Man from Manila", and "Master Rapper"), a former breakdancer from the "The Eclipse" crew who rapped in both English and Tagalog, became an instant superstar and the first rap icon in the Philippines as a result. [cite web| url=| title=Francis M.|| accessdate=2006-07-02]

More stars followed in Magalona's footsteps, including Pia Arroyo who's ("Loving You") duet track with Francis M. marked the first time a female had rapped on record in the country, Lady Diane ("The First Lady of Rap"), Andrew E. ("Humanap Ka Ng Pangit") (Look For Someone Ugly), Bass Rhyme Posse ("The Bass Rhyme Posse"), Denmark ("I'm Markie D.!"), Michael V. ("Maganda Ang Piliin") (Pick Someone Pretty), Rapasia ("Hoy! Tsismosa"), Marcelo ("Di Ka Ba Marunong Umayaw"), Rapi Boys, and MC Lara, who released a self-titled album.AM Kidd and Topkat are Filipino-American rappers emerging from the Bay Area rap scene.

1990s: The Golden Age

Known as the "Golden Age" of Pinoy Hip Hop, the 1990s marked the beginning of many rapid stylistic innovations beginning in 1991 with the establishment of the Disco Mix Club Philippines which was one of the earliest platforms for Philippine DJ mixing battles. Early innovators of the style included DJs Carlo Yalo, Noel Macanaya, Rod "DVS" Torres and Omar Lacap among others. []

Following the path set forth by their Bass Rhyme predecessors, the tri-lingual rap group Rapasia released their self-titled debut record in 1991, garnering the hit "Hoy! Tsismosa". One of the earliest Filipino hip hop groups to embrace such an abstract format, the album's lyrical content often contained a mixture of various Philippine languages (including Tagalog and Chavacano) along with English. [ [ ] ] Rapasia's innovative style would later be built upon years later by other Pinoy rap groups such as Zamboanga's Ghost 13. Rapasia's members included Martin "Bronx" Magalona, brother of Pinoy rap entrepreneur Francis Magalona.

MastaPlann was also another group that did all their music in English.The group had 3 deejays and 2 mc's. The mc's were known as Type (Johnny Luna) and Tracer One (Butch Velez brother of famous actor Vivian Velez). MastaPlann released 3 albums that went multi platinum.Mastaplann is an all-Filipino Hip Hop group that was formed in 1992 in the Philippines, with original group members Butch Velez aka Tracer One, Johnny Luna aka Type Slickk, Disco Mix Competition DJs Sonny Abad, Noel Macanaya aka DJ MOD, Lopi Guzman aka DJ Lopi, and managed by Jesse Gonzales. Butch and Johnny were balikbayans from the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, CA, Sonny a balikbayan from Hercules, CA, near the San Francisco Bay Area and Noel and Lopi native Filipinos. In 1992, Mastaplann was signed by Universal Records, where they released two records; in 1993, their debut eponymous release, and in 1994, The Way of tha Plann. These albums eventually obtained platinum status and are still selling worldwide. In 1995, Butch and Johnny went back to the states to take a hiatus from the scene. In 2000, they released a third album through BMG Records, under the new sub-label, Red Egg Records entitled, an obvious reference to their newly developed website. Additionally, the group scaled down their line-up to just Butch and Johnny, and then added Johnny Krush, another balikbayan from the San Francisco area. This album has already obtained gold status in the Philippines, and is also still selling. Currently, the group is based in the States where they still perform and make music. Mastaplann is currently working on their fourth album, yet to be titled, to be released under True Asiatik Productionz.

The following year marked a turning point for Pinoy rap with the release of Francis M.'s influential second album, "Rap Is Francis M" (1992), which is highly regarded as one of the greatest Pinoy Rap albums. Ushering in a socially-awoken wave not seen in the Philippine music industry since the heydey of Juan De La Cruz, Sampaguita and 1970s Pinoy rock; Magalona's tracks dissected the various cultural, social & political problems that plagued his country such as drug addiction in "Mga Praining" (The Addicts), political corruption and instability in "Halalan" (Election) as well as the detrimental effects of a colonial mentality to Filipino culture in "Tayo'y Mga Pinoy" (We Are Filipinos), the record's complexity and socially sentient message quickly earned it its classic status and became the standard by which future albums of the genre were to be compared to. Magalona's enduring contributions to the genre would later be recognized in the "All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop" (2003) published by Backbeat Books; [ [ Amazon Online Reader : All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop ] ] as well as in the U.S.-based hip hop publication "The Source (magazine)" (May 2004).

In 1994, going against the wave of radio-friendly rap tracks that dominated at the time, Death Threat released the first Filipino gangsta rap album which told tales of the daily lives and struggles impoverished Filipino youth faced growing up in the slums of Metro Manila's barrios entitled "Gusto Kong Bumaet" (I Want To Be Good). [ [ Death Threat ] ]

In 1997, the underground Pinoy rap group Pamilia Dimagiba released their groundbreaking album "Broke-N-Unsigned" on Tenement Records, marking the re-emergence of the conscious emcee in Pinoy rap. A coalition of sorts, Pamilia Dimagiba composed itself of several underground Pinoy rappers and crews such as 8th Messenger, Shadowblyde, Spoon, Murder-1 of Khan's Assassins and Young Galaxy of Iron Triangle among others. The raw seven-track, politically minded album was a breath of fresh air at the time; as Pinoy rap during the era had taken a more hardcore, gangster persona. Known for their coarse lyrics, serious subject matter complemented by heavy beats fused within traditional Filipino folk music; the camp's records by the names of "Duelo", "Manila's Finest", "Reality Hurtz" and "Brainstorming" among others were largely in essence a throwback to the early, nationalistic Francis M. inspired days of the genre. [ [ ] ]

Another Filipino hip hop artist who achieved prominence during the 1990s is the formerly Los Angeles-based DJ Andrew E. (born Andrew Espiritu), whose tracks "Humanap Ka Ng Panget" and "Makati Girl" (as done by Norman B. of Bass Rhyme Posse; was the first Pinoy rap track recorded to contain beatboxing) became monster hits in the Philippines, rivaling even Francis M.'s previously untouchable reign on top Pinoy rap's throne. Prior to landing a recording contract, the rapper had competed in various rap contests around the Philippines; the likes of which also produced Pinoy rap stars Michael V., Denmark and Martin "Bronx" Magalona. Andrew E.'s 1991 hit "Humanap Ka Ng Pangit" (Look For Someone Ugly) was the first to spawn a plethora of response records from other rappers in the country, such as Michael V.'s "Maganda Ang Piliin" (Pick Someone Pretty). The rapper's ability to combine unique storytelling with raunchy and humorous wordplay laced with catchy beats made Andrew the first of his kind in the genre. [cite web| url=| title=Caroustar of the Month (July 2004) Andrew E.||accessdate=2006-01-20] He then went on to release a movie entitled Andrew Ford Medina: Huwag Kang Gamol in 1991 which was the first film in the Philippines to include a full-on freestyle battle on screen. By the mid-1990s he had established his own record label, the controversial Dongalo Wreckords, as well as many successful rap groups, including Cebuano rappers The Anthill Mobb, Madd Poets and Bicolano rappers Salbakuta. The former, known for their complex and versatile lyrical ability achieved fame with their debut album "Ikatlong Mundo". In 1997, Andrew E. produced and hosted the first Pinoy rap television show, Rap 13. Other popular rap artists and groups included Cirkulo Pugantes, El Latino, Mastaplann, Verbal Sativa, Kulay, Legit Misfitz, Pariente, Urban Flow, Sun Valley Crew, and Mega Force Crew (*formerly known as Grand Assault Tribe).

Millennium and beyond: The New School

The opening years of the 2000s witnessed Pinoy rap transform from being considered a novelty or fad into a full fledged phenomenon, rivaling that of Pinoy rock's traditional stronghold in popularity amongst the island nation's youths, as well as in the national music industry. Rap artists such as Salbakuta, Pikaso, Krook and J.O.L.O., Mike Swift, Mobbstarr: DiCE & k9, Los Indios Bravos, 7 Shots of Wisdom, Mista Blaze, Nimbusnine, Krazykyle & the Rapskallion Familia, Kruzzada, Jologz and Carlos Agassi dominated the music charts with hits such as "S2pid Luv," "On Your Own," "The Answer," and "Anak Ni Luningning." In 2002, Carlo Maniquiz and Nick Tuason together with the assistance of FUBU's headquarters in New York City established FUBU Philippines clothing; opening up several chains of stores around the islands, and along with the King of Pinoy Rap himself Francis M., launched a compilation album of the same name later that year showcasing a basic who's who of local hip-hop talents. []

In 2003, Death Threat member Gloc 9 (born Aries Pollisco) released his solo debut album entitled "G9", scoring such hits as "Isang Araw", "Sikat Na Si Pepe" and "Jologs" among others; making his solo arrival known to the Philippine music industry the record was an instant hit. The album would be followed up by 2005's memoiric "Ako Si...Gloc 9", the rapid-tongued emcee's career has since been elevated to new heights and is considered to be one of the most acclaimed and popular "rapistas" within the genre today. [cite web
url =
title = Gloc-9’s Second Album Out
work =
date= 2005-03-28
accessdate = 2006-07-09

Hip-Hop group MOBBSTARR, consisting of Cebuano rappers Dice & k9 scored a phenomenal hit with the song "Itsumo", further establishing their role as premier southern Filipino rap artists.

On August 22, 2006, AMPON "Absolute Messages Personified Over Noise" dropped their debut album "Dekoding Rhythm"; a compilation consisting of both primarily English & Tagalog tracks by producers Mic, Caliph8, Chec, and Skarm among others. [cite web
url =
title = 1st Philippine Annual Hip-hop Music Awards
author = Jay Frank de Jesus
work = Titik Pilipino
date= 2005-02-19
accessdate = 2006-07-09

On June 2008 OPM Hiphop music was back on the airwave when wave 89.1 debuted one of the deepest lyricist from the underground group RAPSKALLION FAMILA, Amazing Kid Released Hustla's Musik which spoke of positive hustlin' which the listeners felt deeply the song got major support through request via text,calls and YM,then comes His more RNB tip type of music on August 8, 2008 Amazing Kid followed up with Almost which was collaborated with DJ Myke of the AKAfellas and Sabado Boys. This time Amazing Kid brings a more personal type of storytelling and the story is so vivid you get a feeling you were there to witness the song itself currently it's getting the same request as the first single. With the two single the RAPSKALLION TRILOGY Album carried these tracks which also feature 2/3 of the Rapskallion namely Hash One and Lamarga,Hash One is a Pasay based MC talking about life struggles and Lamarga is a Batangas based Mc's composed of ill29,kid immortal,tre cash and doughboy.

Rap Rift: Tagalog vs. English Lyricists

The nationwide success of artists such as , Krook and J.O.L.O., Pikaso, 7 Shots and Sun Valley Crew,Amazing Kid, who primarily use English lyrics in their tracks has given way to the on going divide between the two main types of rappers in the country: Tagalog and English. With tracks consisting of English lyrics such as "On Your Own" dominating the Philippine air waves, several Tagalog based emcees have felt a sort of bias in the Philippine music industry, favoring Pinoy hip hop artists who use English rather than MCs who choose to use Tagalog or other native Philippine languages in their rhymes. Those who rapped in tagalog believed that rapping in their native language give them the identity of being a Filipino rapper. The conflict between the two sides became evident in several events such as the 2004 Black Eyed Peas concert in Manila in which local rapper Mike Swift's Tagalog-based track was cut short halfway through the song due to the unofficial "English Only" policy towards the BEP's opening acts being enforced by the event's organizers. [cite news
url =
title = Hakbang, Pilipinas!
work = Philippine Daily Inquirer
date= 2004-06-12
] Drawing the boundary line between the two styles of rappers, the popular rap act Salbakuta recorded the track, "Ayoko Ng Ganitong..." whose lyrics partly attacked such "English Only" Pinoy rap"topdawg"then on 2008 one of the Rapskallion Familia's Ace Lyricist Amazing Kid brought hiphop back on the radio with his debut single Hustla's Musik which featured seasoned veteran Pikaso on the song which was a powerful debut that got a lot of listeners attention, then comes his latest effort Almost this time teaming up with the AKAfellas' DJ Myke which is currently getting very popular feedback from listeners. Hopefully this very creative lyricist once again open the door for quality rap artist in the country today.

Junior Rapistas

The widespread popularity of Pinoy rap in and around the islands has resulted in the spawning of a new breed of Pinoy emcees: Junior "Rapistas". Far from being a new trend, Jamie "Baby" Magtuto and her 1991 hit single "Eh! Kasi Bata" ('Cause I'm a Kid) was an early example of Pinoy kiddie rappers. The single was also included in the soundtrack for Jamie's motion picture debut of the same name released later that year. [imdb title | id = 0479380 | title = Eh kasi bata]

The 2000s saw the resurgence of grade school rappers in Filipino Hip Hop. 2005 was a breakthrough for kid rappers in the Philippines as Aikee, through the Madd World/Circulo Pugantes Camp released his debut "Ang Bawat Bata" (Every Child) on Alpha Music and at eleven years of age, became the youngest Filipino rapper to release a full rap album, [cite web
url =
title = Introducing Aikee, The New Kid Rapper
publisher = Titik Pilipino
date= 2005-08-04
accessdate = 2006-07-09
] and as a result has become one of the most popular mainstream rappers in that country. [ [ ] ] Other notable junior "rapistas" include Lil' Kix (Dongalo Wreckords), [ [ ] ] Xylk (Real Deal Productions) [ [ ] ] and the duo Kid Rappah (Dongalo Wreckords) [ [ ] ]

Other elements of hip hop

The art of MCing or rapping in Filipino hip hop is also represented in other forms such as battle rapping, or freestyling. Several annual contests such as the Fête de la Musique [] and the Blazin' Freestyle Battle are held annually within the Philippines specifically aimed at showcasing such talents; often drawing masses of undiscovered, amateur Pinoy rapistas.

Many other aspects of Filipino hip hop are embodied in other elements such as turntablism, with DJs DJ Coki, DJ Kimozave, DJ Rocky Rock, DJ Arbie Won, and DJ Sir Scratch among others. Philippine-based DJ crews such as The Megateam, Spindicate Posse and Samahang Ng Mga Turntabolista sa Pilipinas (S.T.P.) dominate DJing competitions such as the Disco Mix Club Philippines. Artists representing other elements include b-boy crews like The Battle Krew (TBK), Tru Asiatik Tribe (TAT) and The Balikbayan Tribe (BBT), "grapistas" or graffiti crews such as, SBA CRU, UAT, Elemento Syento Porsyento, Estrella Pasay Grafixerz (E.P.G), Farm Friends Kolektib (FFK), CIS as well as beatboxers like Christopher Oreo a.k.a. BoomBuster, Cool MC Norman B. of the Filipino rap group Bass Rhyme Posse.

Filipino American hip hop

Birth of a culture

United States hip hop shares a rich history and deep connection within the Filipino American community. Filipino American hip hop culture bases its long historical roots beginning in the Filipino, Latino and African-American neighborhoods along the West Coast, specifically in the Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. The movement that had been born in the south Bronx among Jamaican, Puerto Rican and African American youth in turn had its West Coast identity formed within the respective African American, Filipino and Latino communities. Similar to the Filipino American zoot suiters, be-boppers and ballroom dancers of previous generations, the dynamics within these respective communities would reincarnate itself once again in the form of hip hop. [ [ With Style: Filipino Americans and the Making of American Urban Culture by Victor Hugo Viesca ] ] Since the 1990 Census, Filipino Americans have made up the second largest Asian Pacific American group in the United States (after Chinese Americans), [] and until 2000 were the largest Asian group in California. In West Coast hip hop, their role has been comparable to that of Puerto Rican artists on the East Coast, who were an integral part, along with African Americans, in the creation of the foundations of hip hop culture.

As early as the late 1970s, during hip hop's infancy, pioneering mobile Bay Area Filipino mobile DJ crews such as Sound Explosion, Unlimited Sounds, Electric Sounds, Fusion, Ladda Sounds, Ultimate Creations, Sound City Productions, Kicks Company, Images, Non-Stop Boogie, Imperial Sounds, and Sound Sequence among many others helped capitalize on the massive Filipino party scene by introducing the newly formed genre of music while spreading its popularity throughout South San Francisco and its surrounding areas through paid gigs on house/block parties, family gatherings, school pep rallies, weddings and church halls; primarily playing and mixing electro funk alongside Latin freestyle. Rival crews would often one-up each other by showcasing superior equipment and providing elaborate set-ups. Early mobile DJ stars included DJ Ren, (born Rene Anies) founder of one of the first Filipino American DJ crews Electric Sounds and DJ D-Styles, (born Dave Cuasito) who in 1987 established the mobile DJ crew Sound City Productions. [] In 1983, a real-estate agent by the name of Mark Bradford established "Imagine", which began primarily as a showcase for Filipino DJ talent in and around the Bay Area and came to serve as the premier event for DJs until the founders untimely murder in 1991.The movement would reach its pinnacle in 1987, when more than one hundred mobile DJ crews would participate in all important DJ sound clashes and showcases. By the late 1980s, the mobile DJ movement had declined in popularity and had given way to the turntablist, largely due to the rise of Q-Bert and the innovation of "scratching" within the DJ community. The legacy of the mobile DJ would live on however; because many of the Bay Area turntablists that would go on to define the art in the 1990s such as Q-Bert himself, along with DJ Shortkut often had their beginnings in mobile DJ work. [ [ NOiSE ] ] Also in New York City, early hip hop musician and Salsa legend Joe Bataan (half Filipino and half African American) had one of the first rap hits, "Rap-O Clap-O," in 1979, released on his Salsoul label. [ [ Joe Bataan Rap-O Clap-O (Brazilian 12") ] ] In 1980, DJ "Nasty Nes" (of Rap Attack fame) of Seattle launched the specialty show "Freshtracks" on Seattle's 1250 KFOX introducing the first ever hip-hop radio station on the West Coast. He would than later go on to serve as the DJ for pioneering Seattle rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot. [cite web| url=| title=Interview with West Coast Pioneer Nasty Nes|| date=May 6, 2005| accessdate=2005-12-25]

In the 1980s, several legendary Filipino B-Boy groups such as the Renegade Rockers, Knuckleneck Tribe, Rock Force Crew, Daly City Breakers, Jughead Tribe and Concrete Rockers also emerged out of the bay area rivaling even the New York City based Rock Steady Crew, whose official West Coast contingent is known to consist of several Filipino American members. [cite web| url=| title=Filipinos and Hip-Hop Culture|| date=June 12, 1997| accessdate=2005-12-25] Kalifornia Noize Terrorists' Paul Sirate, better known as P-KidP-Kid (listed under the category "B-boys/girls") is the same person as Pikaso ("Mr. Sirate"), listed under the category "Producers".] emerged out of the Bay Area becoming one of the early premier breakdancers and later went on to MCing and producing, lacing tracks for the likes of the Bronx's Terror Squad and L.A.'s Pharcyde. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, pioneering Filipina rapper Lani Luv (born Melanie Caganot) became one of the early West Coast female MCs.

Several tagging crews such as Oakland's Those Damn Kids (TDK) were some of the originators of Graf Art on the West Coast. It was during this time in 1983 that TDK's King Dream (born Michael Francisco) surfaced out of the graf art world. Francisco utilized his pieces to celebrate, express and educate from his own Filipino American background in order to promote tolerance while simultaneously strengthening bonds with others from differing cultures, eventually achieving international recognition. [ [ The Dream Kontinues - Media Archive ] ] Now deceased, (Dream was murdered in 2000) [ [ The Dream Kontinues - Media Archive ] ] he is considered by many to have been one of the greatest and most influential graf writers who's work had been expressive of his urban environment while focusing on social issues concerning not only Filipino Americans, but also other people of color in America such as police brutality, racism, nationwide liberation and rebellion. [ [ The Dream Kontinues - ] ]

Rise of the turntablists: Built from scratch

By the 1990s, hip hop artists of Filipino descent (particularly turntablists like Q-Bert and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz) achieved prominence and came to dominate the DJ art form of scratching, introducing the world to a more innovative style of scratching utilizing a wide variety of new techniques, including the playing of actual melodies, [ [ Invisibl Skratch Piklz: Biography : Rolling Stone ] ] as well as the inventions of the "crab scratch", "tweak scratch", "strobing", and furthering the development of "flare scratching". [] In 1996, the International Turntable Federation, which hosts the largest international turntablist competitions, was established by Alex Aquino. DJ Glaze of Long Beach's Foesum have together been staples in the West Coast gangster rap scene since the G-Funk era of the 1990s. DJ Babu (born Chris Oroc) has gained notoriety for his work with the turtablism group Beat Junkies and the alternative hip hop act Dilated Peoples. Many other notable DJ champions from other countries around the world such as Canada, Australia, Japan and Germany have also been of Filipino descent. [ [ Davey D's Hip-Hop Corner: The New Source For The Hip-Hop Generation ] ] Other notable DJs include DJ Kuttin Kandi of New York City's 5th Platoon, DJ Icy Ice of Los Angeles' KDAY 93.5 FM and DJ E-Man from Los Angeles' Power 106 FM, DJ Marlino aka "da5footafunk" from San Diego's XHITZ-FM Z90.3; From the Washington DC Area, [ DJ Enferno] (2003 US DMC Champ/2003 1st Runner Up DMC World) and [ DJ Geometrix] of the [ Trooperz Crew] , From Texas, DJ Manila Ice (2007 DMC US Finalist) and DJ Jester the Filipino Fist. Another long time contributor is music producer and Hawaii's 1st Hip Hop DJ Champion, Joseph Netherland, better known as, [ DJ ELITE] of [ Elite Empire Entertainment, LLC] . Two long time staples for entertainment in Sacramento, CA are [ DJ Eddie Edul] and [ DJ Billy Lane] .

The "raptivists"

Filipino American hip hop also infuses influences from the native Philippine literary art of Balagtasan, or Filipino spoken word poetry; although most Filipino American rappers primarily use English or "Taglish" in their lyrics, as opposed to their Philippine-counterparts. In the millennium, underground rap groups such as Blue Scholars, Native Guns (now defunct), and Kontrast have utilized this method in their styles, producing pure hip hop while promoting community activism and social consciousness through their lyrics, earning the title of "raptivists." Some groups, like San Jose, CA based Sons of Rebellion, also unify several communities through their music as they represent the Filipino American, African American, and Muslim experience. [cite news| url=| date= 2003-05-30| title=Bay Area rap artists build bridges across racial lines| first=Davey| last=D| publisher=Mercury News (offline as of last access, see [ Google cache version] ] Lyrics from Sons of Rebellion have even been used as part of a nationwide high school curriculum, for the technology based high school SiaTech, and tracks from former Native Guns member Kiwi's album "Writes of Passage: Portraits of a Son Rising" have also been used in a Filipino-American literature course taught at San Francisco State University. Many socially conscious and community minded Filipino emcees often do benefit shows to help out the Filipino community locally and internationally. In February 2007, Filipino American emcees Kiwi, Kapatid X, Power Struggle, Praxis Roks, Blue Scholars, and Rhapsodistas joined forces with other Filipino American community artists to do a Stop the Killings benefit concert in San Francisco, CA to help raise awareness about the political climate in the Philippines. [ [ Stop the Killings MP3 Downloads - Stop the Killings Music Downloads - Stop the Killings Music Videos - Stop the Killings Pictures - ] ] The Stop the Killings event utilized the power of hip hop to expose the numerous amount of killings done to innocent people in the Philippines. [ [ STOP THE KILLINGS Benefit Show ] ] Blue Scholars and Kiwi went on to do a subsequent "Stop the Killings" tour, with shows happening in several major cities across the nation. (Adam Pineda Lindo)

Perhaps one of the most successful mainstream Filipino American rappers is the Black Eyed Peas's, who has released songs such as "The Apl Song" (Elephunk) and "Bebot" (Monkey Business), which not only contained Filipino (Tagalog) lyrics but also native Filipino musical elements. Pineda has also founded his own record label, Los Angeles-based Jeepney Music, to help discover and promote Filipino hip-hop talent from both the United States and the Philippines.

Left Coast Legacy

The future and legacy of Filipino American hip hop particularly on the West Coast is also represented in MCs such as the Bay Area's Al Beezy" and Nump who's track records together have included collaborations with West Coast hip hop pioneers such as E-40, The Federation, Daz Dillinger, JT the Bigga Figga, Dru Down, Yukmouth, C-Bo and The Delinquents among many others along with appearances on television shows such as "MTV's My Block: The Bay"; southern California's Lucky Tha Lootgetta, and Riccy Boy (half Filipino/Samoan). San Diego-based Gametight Inc. is a Filipino American owned record company (Bogie) which is home to many hip-hop artists such as Lucky Tha Lootgetta, as well as Tha' Frontliners, "Big Wy", and Riccy Boy. Also representing the city of San Diego is the Filipino/Mexican record label South Psycho Cide Productions whose rap group, South Psycho Cide"' [ [ South Psycho Cide AudioSparx Artist Site ] ] have landed nominations for Best New Hip-Hop Album in 2003 and 2005 for the San Diego Music Awards. [ [ > News > Features - Foursome's indie hip-hop label aims for stars ] ] E.A.R.T.H. (Everything Around Revolves Thru Hiphop) has been making a buzz in the I.E. Inland Empire since 2002. E.A.R.T.H. consists of Write Words (Filipino), NoE, Ro Tone and Double Negative. Their first debut album E.A.R.T.H. (Everything Around Revolves Thru Hiphop) was released in 2005 indepedently, and has gain a following. They just finished recording their 2nd album "Grass Roots: From The Ground," which will be release in spring/summer 2008. You can find more information about them thru their myspace: [] MistaMil is a multi-talented producer/songwriter/performer and CEO of his indie label L22 Records based in Southern California which comprises a mainly Fil-Am roster. Alongside Mistamil, is Los Angeles, CA born/Philippines based MC Mister RP who is scheduled to release his highly anticipated solo debut album "Fragments of Wisdom" worldwide late 2008, with production by Illmind, Marco Polo, Shuko, Symbolyc One, Nicolay, Styalz Fuego, Budo, and more. Southern California-based "DJ Clueless" (half Filipino/Salvadoran) and gangster rapper Knife (half Filipino/Spaniard), from East Los Angeles bear seemingly diverse musical styles; as is evident in the prevalence of satanic culture in his 2006 album "So Satan" by Adversary Ent. and Triumphant Recordings.

Pinoy Production: Chad Hugo

One of the most successful Filipino-American producers is Virginia Beach's Chad Hugo (born Charles "Chad" Hugo). One half of the popular music production and writing duo The Neptunes, Hugo has along with his production partner Pharrell have laced chart topping hits for the music industry's elite such as Jay-Z, Nelly, Gwen Stefani and Snoop Dogg among others. [ [ Chad Hugo Photos - Chad Hugo News - Chad Hugo Information ] ] Staying true to his Filipino roots he has also collaborated with many Fil-Am rappers such as The Black Eyed Peas'; making an appearance in Apl's music video for "The Apl Song". []

The Coming of Krump/Buck

Reminiscent of the legendary Bay Area Filipino American b-boys and b-girls of the 1980s and 1990s, the new millennium has seen the recreation of that creativity in the arrival of a new generation of young Fil-Ams seeking to carve out a name and legacy for themselves in the books of hip hop through the West Coast art form of Krumping. []

National outlook

Although generally associated with the West Coast with groups like Blue Scholars and Native Guns, Filipino American hip hop is increasingly represented by artists in other regions, with East Coast performers such as Knowa Lazarus and the Q-York Senate hailing from Queens, New York, Midwestern groups such as Chicago's The PACIFICS, as well as the South in TBB and Crew from Atlanta, Georgia, Baby Booda [] from Mississippi, Koponang Kulapo in Bay Area, California, 4-Man Rap Group Six Sign Music, One of Los Angeles areas rising group and as far north of the American border as Canada, including Montreal's New Elementz and Toronto's Dopey, Dos Armados [ [ SoundClick artist: Dos Armados - pinoy underground ] ] , Si JP [ [ ] ] , and Cola are just some of the few rising Filipino-Canadian hip hop artists.


The 2000 documentary film "Beats, Rhymes and Resistance: Pilipinos and Hip Hop in Los Angeles" (produced and directed by Lakandiwa de Leon, Dawn Mabalon, and Jonathan Ramos) chronicles the development of hip hop culture among Filipino Americans in Southern California during the 1990s. [ [ Locus : Music, Mayhem and the Silver Screen ] ]


There were two FM stations in the Philippines that played all kinds of R&B, Hip hop & all types of Rap music. These are two defunct radio stations such as Power 108 FM & BLAZIN' 105.9 FM. These were the radio stations that recognizes the latest and the greatest Hip hop genre. This was better known as Project: Hip hop founded in 1993 by three high school friends namely DJ Caine, Satoshi & Quaizy Ileon. There are plans to revive the project either in another radio dial & if nothing else it can broadcast online.

Filipino Rap

Music samples

ee also

* List of Filipino hip hop artists
* ["Hip-Hop and Critical Revolutionary Pedagogy: Blue Scholarship to Challenge 'The Miseducation of the Filipino'" by Michael Viola]
* [ "Filipino American Hip-Hop and Class Consciousness: Renewing the Spirit of Carlos Bulosan" by Michael Viola]

Notes and references

* [ "1st Annual Philippine Hip-Hop Music Awards"] February 19, 2005. Retrieved December 25, 2005
* [ "Tales of the Turntable: Filipino American DJs of the Bay Area"] Hip Hop Slam February 25, 2002. Retrieved December 24, 2005.
* [ "Featured Promoter, Dancer, and all-around contributor to the Hip Hop Community"] Retrieved December 25, 2005.
* [ "Filipino DJs of the Bay Area-Why Are They So Successful?"] Rap Dot Com Magazine/July 1994 Reprinted and re-edited in October 1995 Retrieved December 24, 2005.
* [ "History of Pinoy Rap"] Retrieved January 20, 2006.
* [ "Writing Is My Life-by Mike Dream"] Retrieved December 25, 2005.

External links

* [] Informative Filipino hip-hop website


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