Saturday, August 4, 2007
Many Filipinos grew up on Freestyle music before or during their love affair with hip hop culture. I remember listening to Jocelyn Enriquez, Buffy, Debbie Deb, TKA, Cover Girls, Johnny O, Steve B., etc. in mixtapes blended with Latin booty, Uncle Luke, electro-funk, and other hip hop music. The foundation to these genres is usually simple and convenient: a Planet Rock-type kick, snare, hat. And the DJ can cut it up nasty with the transformer sound, eagle, chirp, or what have you.
I heard from a close friend that in the San Francisco Bay Area, Freestyle music used to be closely associated with Filipinos, and this view came from folks outside of the Filipino community. Surely there is a dope set of Filipino artists rockin' the Freestyle scene, but also Filipino youth themselves (along with Latinos) in the 1980s and 90s vibed to this music (complete with big Aqua Netted hair), and for some, they b-boyed/girled to it. This was our music of choice in my little crew back in middle school.
So why Freestyle? For some, we know that our parents cha-cha and line dance to Latin-style music. In fact, some folks cha-cha to Freestyle. Is Freestyle an echo of the Latin sonic environment of our Filipino communities? Or does Freestyle provide DJs a favored arsenal for mixes and scratches, that easily flirts with the hip hop sound? Is Freestyle simply enjoyable to dance to, despite its hip hop kinship? Or did you really think Judy Torres was Filipina? All of the above?
Even though both men and women enjoy Freestyle, I would also like to know how Freestyle might have opened up more space for Pinay artists.
Tell me your stories!