Monday, September 17, 2007
Since '93, One group has been synonymous with everything dark, street, and gangsta with Pinoy Hip-Hop. It's group members have changed many times, adding more and more faces to the arsenal of lyrical thugz, but one thing has remained consistent throughout: their style, from the start, in essence; Pinoy rap with attitude. Sharing a similar back story to another group with "Attitude" from Compton, this rap group is credited for singlehandedly starting the 'Gangsta Rap' genre in the Philippines, and catapulting rap away from its Novelty/Wholesome phase, leading the way for groups such as Ghetto Doggs, Kruzzada & Gulpe de Gulat. It has launched the careers of both the self-proclaimed "King of da Undaground" Hi-Jakkk and the lyrical tongue-twister "Gloc-9". This group is none other than Death Threat.
Founded by Ron "Beware" Salanga and Gerald "Genezide" Acelajado, the group is infamous for being the only rap group to sell Multi-Platinum Albums with nearly no promotion & airplay. With only word of mouth and street credit, Death Threat's "Wanted," "Kings of da Undaground" & "Beware Tha Return" have all gone platinum. In essence, the group is "Undaground rap" personified. But where are they now? It's been five years since the group's latest offering, "Still Wanted" hit Record Bars, and the local rap industry hasn't seen any signs of them since (Besides Occasional guest appearances by Konflick, Phat L or aka Dyablo).
However, The man himself, O.G. Beware, is back in P.I., with a plan to take over once again... hate them or love them, you can't deny their influence and impact on local Hip_Hop, and we recently got the opportunity to sit down with Boss B to talk about the current state of the group, of the local Hiphop industry, and to put a few rumors to rest.
SOL: We're here with the main man himself, O.G. Beware of Death Threat for an indepth look at what makes this pioneer tick. First of all, I'd like to thank Boss B. for taking the time to answer a few questions. First thing's first, back in '93, what inspired you guys to get into rapping? Rap was booming back then, but Gangsta rap was nonexistent. How did you guys think of such a different concept?
BEWARE: Actually, when we started the idea, it was kinda challenging for us because I wasn't sure if Pinoys would accept our music. I knew that if I just thought of the right concept, it might work (That was in '91). It took me some time to think out the whole image of the group... our identity as a whole. I had the foresight of the concept and idea. To be like a Pinoy N.W.A. but with our style and to appeal to Filipino topics & issues (Like Fratsta & Bantay Zalakay). I was really hoping Filipinos would accept Pinoy Hiphop. That was in '92.
SOL: So now you're back after a long absence. What can we expect from Death Threat's new album? Will it be more of the old stuff, or...?
BEWARE: It's really different from my other albums. But what I can say is that I was privileged enough to work with a handful of great musicians. I recorded the album in its entirety (besides Kickin Lyrics 7) in Toronto, Canada. It was a challenging process, because I was also finishing College at the time. I also shot the first single's Music Video, "Palakpakan Everyone," in T.Dot. I was fortunate to work with fellows that have the same amount of respect for the music as I do. People from different parts of the world. Their passion was what inspired me to finish the project.
SOL: Why did you decide to call the album 'Revenge Of Da Undaground'? Will all of Death Threat be in it or will it be a solo effort like the classic "Beware: Tha Return '98"?
BEWARE: It's the comeback of Death Threat. In '97, I proclaimed that we are "The Kings Of The Undaground." This is our revenge, artistically, to take back the artform. That raw, underground sound. This is "The Revenge Of Da Undaground." The idea of it is for the album to come in two discs. Part 1 will be a solo album (mostly), with personal tracks that deal with true to life experiences that I had in Toronto Canada (from '03 to '06). But on Part 2, I will be with the DTG Boiz and some surprise guests... *laughs*
SOL: When can we expect this New Album to Drop?
BEWARE: Hopefully, Disc 1 will be out in most malls and outlets nationwide before the end of September...
SOL: Alright, well, it's no secret that Death Threat is one of the most controversial groups in all of the local Hip-Hop Community. How do you respond to all your critics and naysayers?
BEWARE: Isa lang ang masasabi ko sa mga critics namin... listen to track 15 on Revenge Of Da Undaground. "Wala Akong Pake." Nanjan ang sagot ko sa mga Cute na Critics ko. Hehe...ngayon ko lang talaga kayo binigyang pansin. Pasensya na ha?
SOL: Whatever happened to Genezide & O-Dogg? They were in every album up until "Kasalanan," then he just kinda vanished. Are they still part of the group? Will they be in the new album?
BEWARE: Si Genezide, born-again. Pastor na siya. So in essence, "Gusto kong Bumaet" is especially true to him. Si O-Dogg, nanjan pa din. Nagkikita pa rin kami. Abangan niyo sa susunod na Kickin Lyrics. Sa Disc 2 of "Revenge," it's Death Threat reunited. Halos lahat ng DTG maririnig nyo po ulit.
SOL: We all know that Gloc-9's first studio album(s) were with Death Threat. How do you feel about Gloc-9's current popularity? Is he still with the group?
BEWARE: I will always be proud of my Protege. He will always be my brother in Death Threat... whatever he becomes, I'll always be behind him. When we say "Death Threat for life" on that song, we mean it. Di Matitibag.
SOL: Okay, on that note. Time to get to the truth behind one of the most controversial Beefs in the local rap industry. What exactly happened to start the Beef with Hi-Jakkk ? Why was he let back in the group for "Still Wanted" even after "Walang Utang Na Loob?"
BEWARE: To this date he is no longer affiliated with Death Threat. He Backstabbed me. Not only me, but the whole group. It's a really long story, and you can hear bits and pieces of it on the street or wherever, but to cut the long story short, he is a traidor, a thief, a snake, and a backstabbin-ass bitch. Fuck Hi-Jakkkol.
SOL: Whatever happened to 2High & Half Ounce?
BEWARE: One of the members of 2High, Lil Kiko, is still in Sacramento (where we recorded "Beware Tha Return"). He'll be coming back home soon. Terra/Gobas is currently working in a stable company in P.I. He's on some cuts with Gloc. Half Ounce, I don't get to talk to anymore, but he's still mah boi.
SOL: The local Hip-Hop industry right now is kind of nonexistant. What do you think the future will bring for pinoy rap and what role do you think Death Threat will play?
BEWARE: The usual. Bringin' new material to the streets, for the streets.
SOL: Okay, something that's never been asked before. Who did you grow up listening to? Both locally or internationally. Who are Beware's influences?
BEWARE: Internationally... Westcoast! 2pac, Ice Cube, Undaground Ish and all... I really listen to all kinds... I'm open minded when it comes to music... as long as it's good, it's all good! Locally, mah homeboys Francis M., Andrew E. and Mastaplann... that's all.
SOL: Who are you favorites in the game right now? Both locally and internationally.
BEWARE: Can't say. They all sound the same these days.
SOL: Is it true that you really wrote all of "Beware: Tha Return" behind bars? How was that experience? Did you find it easier or harder?
BEWARE: I didn't write it behind bars. It was actually my inspiration not to get locked up again after all my past troubles. I was locked up for sometime, but I didn't write the album when I was inside.
SOL: I heard that 'Revenge Of Da Undaground' is supposedly going to be your last album. Is that true?
SOL: What do you think of the music industry in the Philippines as a whole? Lots of people seem to have given up hope. What's your message to all the pirates out there?
BEWARE: Y'all know my stand on that. Fuck Piracy! Fight Unauthorized Copies. You can see that label on all of my new albums. We make quality music, pirates steal the profit, then what do we have? Why would we wanna put out any new ish? Mga Taong Abuzado!
SOL: Let's talk about "There's No Hip-Hop in the Philippines." Your take?
BEWARE: You can look at this issue on a couple of different angles. On one point-of-view, there could be no Hip-Hop in the Philippines, but if you ask me, I think we definitely have a Hiphop culture here. The only problem is that it's NOT UNITED. Actually, it's divided, which is the sad part. But what the hell, basta kami, united. Lahat ng DTG, buong Pilipinas na nakikinig sa musika ng DTG, at sa lahat ng thugz, hustlas and gangstaz, sold parin kami! Salamatz po sa inyong lahat.
SOL: Apokalipsis is hot right now. How did you discover them and when can we expect their second album to hit stores?
BEWARE: Well... they've been ma boiz for awhile, of course they're hot. *laughs* Not sure when the album's gonna drop, but fo' sure you'll be hearing more from the mreal soon.
SOL: What's your favourite track from 'Revenge Of Da Undaground?'
SOL: What's your favourite Death Threat track out of all the albums you guys put out? Which one did you enjoy doing so much?
BEWARE: Definitely "Gusto Kong Bumaet," because from the time I wrote it back in '92 to this day when I rap it in concerts, it still relates to my fellow listeners. One love.
SOL: Lastly, got any previews of the rest of 2007 or even 2008? What products have you guys got under your sleeves? Any hot albums about to drop?
BEWARE: Watch out for our new ish coming out soon. Merchandize and all that po. All DT's latest ish will be found on www.PinoyPrideWorldwide.com. Thank You sa lahat, at respect sa SoulSonic... peace.
SOL: Once again, thank you for your time. Death Threat in the house! It's been a pleasure to interview one of the cornerstones and pioneers of local Hip-Hop.
Interview Done By: SOL