Sunday, January 6, 2008

Kings In Their Own Right

Presented by: Bong "B-Roc" Andres of Turbulence Productions

The Philippine creative and pop-cultural playground has simmered and has been taken through a roller coaster ride over the years. Matinee idols, music icons, ballet dancers, theatrical acomplishments as well as technological breakthroughs has been the railways of this ride. Each mileu has picked its own flags, and the flagbearers are still icons of today. From Juan Dela Cruz to RJ Jacinto, from Freddie Aguilar to the Reycards, the masses have picked their role models who they endear to their very lives. I would love to take a portion of your day and engage you in reading this as we take a look on where our icons are now.
The 70's and 80's are rich with songs and tunes which has developed and remains to be the foundation of our songwriting, music making and has enriched our experiences as filipinos. We have soloist such as Gary V, Rico J Puno, Hadji Alejandro, Bert Nievera, Raymond Lauchengco and the likes. We had bands such as The Soul Jugglers, Juan Dela Cruz, VST & Co, The Boyfriends, Local Brown and more. There were duets and very memorable trios. For so long Apo Hiking Society, the trio of Buboy, Danny and Jim wrote songs that mirrored our everyday life and tickled our imagination between life, love, growing up and being responsible for self and others. Then there was Tito, Vic & Joey. This trio started to dictate the masses with very deep roots in radio, song writing, music compositions, tv, movies and generally able to be the new face of contemporary entertainment. These two trios have elevated our form of entertainment and has grasp the masses over the years.
A successful trio is always hard to come by, especially nowadays. 2007 is a playground for bands, for politicians, for gay celebirties, singing actors, and for business tycoons. These are the elements that surround the masses. Music has been over rated if only for the radio programs, it has also been raped of its creativity for Their marketing purposes. They have belittled the geniuses we were becoming during the 70's and 80's. Tito Vic & Joey are still favorites and APO Hiking Society still has juice to pack any venue. The music has suffered but the fans and enthusiasts are still there. They have been plagued by non senseness and are in the brink of giving up on our homegrown talent.
Currently the only trio that makes sense even in its unpopularity is Mo Twister, DJ Mojo Jojo and Andy of Magic 89.9. They have challenged the sinister acceptances of what radio programming should be. They recognize the reason why there is a market for MP3 players is not its portability alone but the uncreativeness of our current radio shows and personalities. Nobody is worth listening to, enough to dictate our days and our motives. King DJ Logan's show runs a far second if only for the puberty-esque topics.Joey de Leon touches something, it's worth the news.
Enter, the three kings. The Three Kings Project, is really a movement. I had chanced upon meeting three individuals on separate times, and saw them develop. Not only their crafts as musicians but their ability to attend to the humanism aspect of what it really means to be a Filipino artist in the Philippines. I met Nimbusnine when he was not the Nimbusnine that we know. Before the slick lines and "Island Loving" grooves he knew my dream. His passion of dismissing his studies because they served more than a distraction than truly educational made me see the depth of his courage. And truly being creative isn't about being talented, it is dipped into risk and courage. Who do you know in this time who has the strength to stand up for his vision and refute a possible future by being academically capable. And in no way is this degrading all that he's learned in and outside The System. From building the world reknowned Community show, to actually building houses for Gawad Kalinga, I've shared countless moments developing and investing all that I know behind the limelight to him. From staging Araneta for Ja Rule or rocking Taiwans crowd with international acts such as Jin The MC and Loon, he has already uplifted the fight for positioning of hiphop in the Philippines across the world over. He has grown to be what Filipino hiphop is partly about, creativity through challenging the environment that you're in and understanding that "class" is a word that should unify our ideas rather than categorizing our means of improvement.
There was a time I saw this man cry and bare his all into his music. I saw this boy change from a fan to a soft spoken dictator. I will be his right hand as the world decides to take him left. This dude understands my vision and I know he will tell all, of my legacy some day.
In the heart of Batangas, and in the midst of the break up of the province's potential pioneering hiphop group 6th Blade, I met Chrome. God's Will to many, but I knew him as Matt. His relentlessness of making a difference in the centralize hiphop scene in Manila could never be boxed up. Not by a storm, not by his then groupmates, not by money. He spent countless of days travelling, whether to perform one song, to watch a show or generally anything that furthers his surge to stardom. One time, I saw him support one of AMPON's shows and it was 1 AM already, he came from a taping of MTV Supahstar, and he still had enough energy to show love and go home to Batangas with a 7am call time for the next day. Close to winning the MTV event, he found himself lounging in with stars, and although losing the finals he stood as a man from Batangas who beat the odds of both life and tv politics. With a double duty as God's Will and a front man for the budgeoning band Sinag, he has carried himself around the metro and has been the intergal piece redifining hiphop for rock enthusiasts. His roots as a Batangeno has never been doubted, and still walks the streets where butterflyknives were given birth to. He has humbled himself amidst crowds of famous musicians but he takes his band and his music to higher heights in each time he performs. In the brink of releasing an EP, he has played a part in the Cinemalaya winner independent film "Tribu" directed by Jim Libiran. God's Will's journey's have brought him into DJ Arbi Won's presence and has blossomed several songs, has spearheaded a movement in Batangas that stems from his experiences in Manila as a surviving hiphop artists. He is now changing the impression the public has on FUBU, alongside Nimbusnine, they have put it in their shoulders to carry the line over to the new era of Filipino Hiphop. God's Will taught me that his brand of humility is through the acceptance of learning in a day to day basis. Trying is the only way you can really discover things, and sometimes trying trips you only for you to see the beauty of the ground you walk in. He has a tattoo "By All Means", different from a statement of "by all means necessary". His skin artwork reflects a certain refuge to try, to succeed, to fail even, and an answer to any and every question of challenge.. by all means.
Exit Batangas, enter Brooklyn New York, home to Pinoy's Finest, Lipa City bred Mike Swift. In this day and age, this character and vision is indestructible. I met him first in the Philippines and struck me as dude who could come and takeover the scene with his mere wit alone. What I discovered soon after, was his leverage of competition was built by his love for life. Not the type who would rest for a day, he put his steps in place and became a force to reckon with in only his first stay in the Philippines after so many years. He knew the struggle was from the gutter up, it was falsifying to claim Pinoy's Finest in NYC without struggling with the artists here. That is one trait that all other Fil-Americans have failed to connect on. Mike Swift is a friend of mine who just happens to rap, and I just happen to make beats and we make music like how we play ball. We done scrimmaged our way into ideas and huddled with the team we were individually building. He knows my game, I know his, but really we ball for the same front. He left with a promise to come back only to station himself in NYC once again. Trust me when I say, that it isn't where he wants to be. But what better way for a kingdom to be birthed, by way of sacrifice. Sure NYC has its merits, the grind, the money, living first class and with that, time passes. Mike carries the torch that you won't see him hold in his Youtube videos but if you did have time to see them, those torches are lit by your goosebumps. Put it in the bag he says, credentials aren't being boastful its an attempt to challenge you to knock his hustle out. Uma Thurman, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Freddie Aguilar, Karylle, Jay-z, Suge Knight, Danny Boy, Pharoahe Monche -- he knows its not about name dropping, its about asking these dudes what they think of him and when they tell you they know him that means he made a lasting impression. Movies, books, shows, concerts, dvds, cds, reality tv shows are in the palm of his hands and is about to thrust his way to the upper echelon of what it means to be a legend. The politics has always been there, and Mike was never the one to shy away from it, we will play the politics game someday he always tells me.
Tito Sotto always dreamed to lead but never did he knew his knack for entertainment was the one to bring him there.
Fake it till you make it, he says. But really, we only made it so no one can say we faked it.
It sunk in to me recently, and I learned from Mike Swift, the thin line between living a dream and dicovering the business you could do about is dictated and seen in your swagger.
October 2006 --- God's Will left for Japan to work and help his mom out. Mike's journeys brought him to a decision to take it back to New York to develop his plans there, he will be leaving at the end of October. Nimbusnine's in the studio recording a song called "The Blast", one of the final songs to make it for The Three Kings CD.
October 2007 --- God's Will will release his EP, Nimbusnine's video is about to come out and Mike Swift is close to 1.5 million views on his YouTube site and has garnered critical acclaim worldwide for the "To The Billboard" Movement he spawned in his return to NYC.
Unbreakable as Alicia Keys would put it, but did she say "We live in our dreams" or "We living our dreams"?; either way this trio breaks the mold of what you thought your roots for hiphop really was. Uproot yourself from all that you thought wasn't possible when you see me or these three other individuals.
Think about it, name me a trio who stood together, who dreamnt individually, grew within each other and walk God's green earth fully knowing their worth and ready to take you for the ride of your life. Andres Bonifacio they say, they all are. Jose Rizal they say, see them write. Ninoy Aquino they say, see them fight.
Thank you for your time.


jamielyn said...

Beautifully written...