Friday, August 27, 2010
Having just released their first video single, On the Grind off their debut album Headlines: Issue #1, People’s Future (PF) has further established their mission of moving the industry; the inception of which came about just a few years ago. In that time, PF has received acceptance from fellow artists and audiences of all calibers. Veterans have deemed them “neo-SVC”, new school artists have built camaraderie with them, and fans have learned a thing or two about the heights that Filipino hip-hop can reach once more.
I took the liberty of having a sit-down interview with the powerhouse – beat genius/hip-hop quotable Jed Kenneth Caba aka JedLi, lyrical patriot Brian Pascual aka Verb and lispy, thought-provoking Michael Saldana aka Gap. Read on for deeper and more personal insights on the group that has pushed an undeniably growing number of hip-hop heads to get their “mind on the grind”.
MO: You just launched your first video "On The Grind" – a completely solid and unique piece of work by Director Kevin Vea. What can you say about the audience's reception?
Verb: Most of the people who saw the video like it a lot. Even I’m overwhelmed about its outcome. I give all the props to Kev for doing a great job!
JedLi: I think a lot of them were impressed. Kevin did an amazing job & people DO look better in HD (laughs).
MO: What message did you want to convey and do you think that message was delivered?
Gap: Sa video, gusto naming pakita na hindi mo kelangan ng mamahaling kagamitan at production team para makagawa ng isang astig na music video. Ang kelangan mo lang ay isang astig na camera, at isang magaling na direktor at editor. Yun lang! Let the world around you be your inspiration! A lil’ bit of SWAG juice helps a lot too (laughs).
JedLi: The chant-like chorus we got goin' on in our song says it all. We're grinding every moment of our lives. Whether it be school, day-job, chores, legally/ illegally hustling, even thinking is in the process of grinding. I'm just hoping that people will begin to open up their minds to Hip Hop... Philippine Hip Hop to be exact.
MO: How do you feel when half of your audience can say "you've come a long way", yet the other half is just discovering you guys and views you like an overnight success?
Verb: I feel weird because I don’t even think we reach that far yet. We got some recognition but we haven’t reached our main goal.
Gap: I think we’ve come a long way as a group. We started out at a pretty young age, and we’ve been together for almost 6 years now. We had our share of ups and downs (personal and music sh**), but despite all that we still stuck together as a unit, as a family! And that affected our music. The beats and the rhymes became extensions of our lives, and thru that you could see the progression from us being rebellious, naive teens to men who are aware of everything that is happening around us. In terms of the music industry though, were still in the process of “scratching the surface”. Everyone’s entitled to their own views and opinions. We just hope that we could prove them wrong, so they could be part of the first half of the audience.
MO: Would you say that your drive and focus is still reminiscent of when you guys started out or has it changed completely? How so? Are you on the same "grind"?
JedLi: Of course. It's a little bit of both. We always look back in our journey & celebrate it. But just like software & machines we have to upgrade our formula in order to adapt in this fast-changing world. The grind may change a bit but the essence & the drive will always be there.
MO: As People's FUTURE, do you believe that your music will outlive you? Are you confident enough to say that your music is classic material and that it will still be relevant in the future? Please elaborate.
Directed By: Dj Umph of Miscellaneous
Verb: That’s part of our mastaplann! We want to replace Tito (Gap), Vic (Me), and Joey (Jed). Will it be relevant in the future? Yes, because people would still have to be “on the grind” to live.
JedLi: I'm hopeful about our music because I'm confident in what we can do as a UNIT & Individuals. If it does outlive me, Gap, & Scoop [Verb] then that's great too but it doesn't really matter actually because all that matters is if people appreciate what we do for Philippine Hip Hop & if we do make an impact in everyone of our listener's lives.
MO: They say that artists struggle to come up with music when they're generally happy in life. Is there some sort of angst that exists in your lives that drives you to make music?
Gap: I wouldn’t say angst, but we are struggling right now. That’s why a lot of people could relate to our music, because nowadays everyone is struggling. We’re not superstars or big time ballers. Were just like everyone else. If only they knew, we’re JUST LIKE YOU…
JedLi: Most of the time, it's an emotional thing. When I'm feeling a certain emotion, I want to express it and music happens to be a great outlet, obviously. I put my soul into the music I create. I learned that from the past great musicians that left their marks.
Verb: That can be true, but see we live in the Philippines! I love my country, but its sucks to be here! This is also why we’re making music, because we want to help change this f**ked up place.
MO: What keeps you guys grounded? Who or what would you refer to as your rock?
JedLi: The world and everything in it. There are so many people on this planet and a lot of good & evil happening at once. Let's put it this way: everyday to me is like a movie with all the drama, action, comedy, & even horror. I'm after that "new beginnings with happy endings" kind of thing.
Verb: My goals.
Gap: Family keeps us grounded. And since we are all brothers and sisters, that should be enough reason and inspiration to “stay grounded”.
MO: You guys have worked with quite an impressive roster of artists like ILL-J, RBTO, Mic, God's Will, Marquiss, et al. for Headlines Issue#1. Who would you want to work with for Issue#2?
Gap: Tao Aves, Nyko Maca, Jonan Aguilar, Denmark, Clutch B, Loonie, Glock 9, Freddie Aguilar, Pinikpikan, The Philharmonic Orchestra! Oh, and Juliane Taroja! Mmhhhhmmmmmm
Verb: Sakin Mastaplann, Down Earf, Ali of BB clan. Cause I’m a fan!
JedLi: Andrew E., Nyko Maca, Quest, Protege, Mastaplann, LDP, Loonie, & Jonan Aguilar. There's a lot more.
MO: When you are interviewing for an Ivy League college, you are asked the infamous "which icon, living or dead, would you invite for dinner" question. Instead, I'll ask you: which 5 musical icons, living or dead, would you invite to do a track with you guys?
Verb: As of now 5. Dr. Dre, 4. Nas, 3. Wu-Tang, 2. The Roots Crew , and 1. Francis M.
Gap: I would invite Bob Marley, Tupac, Nujabes, Dong Abay, and Chrisette Michele! Why? Ask me personally when you see me. ☺
JedLi: In no specific order: 1. Geological [Blue Scholars], 2. Notorious B.I.G., 3. J Dilla, 4. Bill Evans, and 5. The Roots
MO: Finally, what should your fans expect next? Message to your supporters.
Verb: Expect the worst! Making music here in the Philippines is tough! We’re done doing free shows for muthaf**kers who make money inviting us to perform and don’t give us anything in return! I don’t want to be a slave in my own country and work for minimum wage! F**k that! This might be our last year. If this music shit won’t provide food on my plate, then I’m out to find a new grind, BUT that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop making music. What you can expect is that we will follow up with a classic album called “PAST, PRESENT’ and US!” MARAMING SALAMAT SA LAHAT NG NANINIWALA!
JedLi: FANS are COOL, literally! Hehe. They can expect a lot of things. They should keep their ears & eyes open for VERB's solo album; GAP & Nimbus 9's collaboration; & Military Brats: Mr. A & Mr. E [which is a collaboration with me & Aero.]. And what they really should look forward to is PF's next Album: Past, Present, & US. We're putting our "everything" into this album. We've learned a lot from Headlines so we’re applying that to this album. The experience is a plus. It's going to be great. To all the people and sponsors that supported us, we are grateful for everything. Peacebless.
Gap: Expect us to live up to the name “People’s Future”, whether it be with the music, business, arts, or whatever. Pero ngayon, abangan nyo na lang yung mga bagong kanta na lalabas… Classic shit, no bullshit! And to all the haters out there, here’s a big, fat, F**K YOOOOUUUU!
People’s Future presents…Headlines: Issue#1 is available at Odyssey, O, Fully Booked High St., Capital G Shop and now via delivery 0917-804-9947.
MIND ON THE GRIND
By: Monique Jaramillo-Señeres