Saturday, March 29, 2008

Street Dance, Time Travel, and a Zoo

Congratulations to Cal State Long Beach's Pilipino American Coalition (PAC) and a successful Pilipino Culture Night (PCN) a week ago! It was an amazing show, and yall packed the house on Good Friday (when Lola should be prayin Novenas). A three and a half hour show, and yall kept them the whole night!

Like we've been discussing here and here, young Pin@ys have been involved in creating and performing large-scale theatrical productions for decades (since the late 1970s at UCLA). During the early 1990s, hip hop dance forms emerged as standard vernacular for PCNs. At first there was resistance to this because of hip hop's "blackness" and its threat to "authentic" Filipino culture, and all that jive.

Now, it's incredible to see this tradition in choreographed street dance triumph in such a high-profiled venue as "America's Best Dance Crew." Kaba Modern and JabbaWockeez (who come out of the Fil Am choregraphed street dance scene and share the same circles) certainly brought this spectacle into America's households. PAC Modern, the street dance branch of PAC who put on a dope set for PCN, is a powerhouse in the West Coast choreographed street dance circles. I have no doubt that if the best members of PAC Modern joined AMDC (there are more than 50 troupe members), they would bring enough heat to be in one of the final episodes (before America divides up the funky Asians).

The 22nd Annual PCN at CSULB--entitled "The World's Fair"--highlighted an important moment in Philippine and U.S. history-- when Filipinos were displayed in a "living exhibit" as newly acquired colonial possessions of the U.S. at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Like a zoo exhibit, Filipinos were displayed in their "native" habitats reconstructed on-site in St. Louis. Much more, Filipinos were depicted in progression of most savage Filipinos (Mountain People, Negritos) to most civilized (Visayans, who were apparently seen as most Westernized because of Spanish influence).

The World's Fair was a deliberate attempt to justify U.S. occupation of the Philippines (beginning in 1898) and the urgency of the "civilizing mission" (or "White Man's Burden") of the U.S. in this benighted part of the world. It was like Western colonization of the islands version 2.0-- molding Filipinos into a better Western image that the Spanish failed to do. Well, they had one thing right--Filipinos certainly adapted an American (read "African American") performance tradition (beginning with Vaudeville forms brought by Black Buffalo Soldiers serving in the islands during the Philippine-American War).

Anyways, the PCN risked perpetuating this "zoo" spectacle (like many PCNs do) by exotifying and objectifying Filipino culture as "other," a voyeuristic journey for both Filipino and non-Filipino audiences. However, the cast delivered a subversive production, craftily telling a story of the political duplicity of U.S. interest in Filipino participation in the World's Fair, and how fucked up it was "Uncle Sam" ordered Filipinos from savage-to-civilized who ultimately need American assimilation to become fully human. (Oh how the reverse was more close to the truth).

Anyways, I'm sure the audience learned something that night. But what was more impressive is the talent of the student organization. The production even had original music played by student musicians (complete with a seven-piece rondalla). And the whole skit cast sang (pretty good)! I always wonder how these steady reserves of Filipin@ talent keep replenishing Fil Am orgs, since people graduate. Apparently, the talent is always there among young members of our community.

So how did the PCN skit integrate the ever-present "modern" dance? Well, one of the tents at the fair was a "Tent of Tomorrow" and whoever steps inside, gets a glimpse of what's to come. What happened when the main characters stepped into the tent? Well, let me paraphrase the words of ring leader, who spoke to the Filipino characters: "Step right up! Come see what your great great grandchildren will be doing: spinning records on two machines, writing strange words on walls, and dancing on the floor!" Wow, so much for resistance to blackness in the early 1990s-- and now it seems like hip hop is an integral part of the Filipino American experience? I would agree with this. Would all agree, though?

PAC Modern at Vibe XIII, January 27,2008
Check the oh so fresh funkstyles: 2:20-3:20

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Guest Article: "Filipino America's Best Dance Crew"

Check out this article written by The Brian. He reviews a thorough history of Filipin@ American street dance legacy, and the reason YOU should vote for JabbaWockeez. He also gives a neat look at the East Coast Fil Am dance scene, which addresses my recent entry "West Coast v. East Coast: Comparing Fil Am Hip Hop Scenes." For a New Jersey Pinoy brutha, he got some West Coast knowledge. (Now who is going to document the East Coast scenes?)

Filipino America's Best Dance Crew
by The Brian
March 23, 2008

Kaba Modern and Jabbawockeez are, as far as MTV goes, 2 out of 3 best dance crews in Amerikkka. and many argue that they are in fact the best 2 out of 2, with Kaba getting cheated out of being in the finale, perhaps for cosmetic reasons. what seems to go unexplored on the show is that both crews are pretty much asian american and from southern california. in a pop television landscape devoid of asian faces except for a scattered few, the near dominance of these 2 crews of asian youth is suprising and perhaps frightening. why are they so damn nasty? how did they get to be so hip hop? where are the black people?

KM and J-dub are not anomalies. they did't emerge from nowhere, suddenly bursting onto the scene. on the contrary, they are actually part of a long tradition of Filipino street dance crews on the West Coast. Filipinos have been a force in Cali street culture since swing dancing and zoot suits in the 40's to the mobile dj's of the 70's and 80's to the reemergence of breakin and turtablism of the 90's. And in the past 15-20 years, they have developed a massive street dance choreography culture as well. Kaba Modern is actually 16 years old. The Kaba is short for the Tagalog word for Countryman/woman "Kababayan." Kababayan is also name of the Filipino student association at UC Irvine. Although KM's representatives on ABDC are NOT filipino (which is a travesty; see Mark V's blog for more), they are still part of this filipino dance tradition (and filipino openness to non-filipinos; colonial mentality what what!). [Note that Kaba Modern really has over 30 members, most of whom are Filipino including the choreographers. Similarly, Jabbawockeez is also a larger crew than who's on the show, most of whom are Filipino including their de facto leader Kid Rainen also known as Rynan.]

and they have many contemporaries
who have grown up with them through the decades. Samahang Modern (of UCLA), PAC Modern (Pilipino American Coalition at Cal State Long Beach), Team Millenia (of Pilipino American Student Association at UC Fullerton), Carson Street Dance, Culture Shock LA, Common Ground, Sick Step (known for its member Ryan Conferido and Hawk from So You Think You Can Dance), and the list goes on. I hypothesize that the latter groups that are not affiliated with a college are actually offshoots, inspired by the college groups but sustained by the same dance community.

Pilipino Culture Night 2008 trailer for Cal State Long Beach's Pilipino American Coalition

most of the groups originated in the storm of PCNs, or Pilipino Culture Nights (aka Barrio Fiesta) common at many colleges, where dance performances take center stage. usually filipino folk dance such as tinikling and maglalatik comprise the majority of the show, these filipino americans always leave room for the one "modern" dance where they showcase how hip hop they can be (also known as flip hop). because fil-ams have always been part of cali street culture, this part of the show inevitably became the highlight with filipino student association forming "modern" groups to focus specifically on street dance performances.

the filipino community's over abundance of community events such as festivals and parades gave ample opportunities for these groups to perform and perfect their unique style of choreography. A few notable events really developed the dance groups. Friendship Games, over 20 years old, has brought together filipino college students from all over california and the west coast for a day of fun competitions including one for "modern" dance groups. Vibe Hip Hop Dance Competition (which itself is 13 yrs old) hosted by an Asian frat but with almost exclusively filipino groups participating, has enabled the groups to compete on a big stage with thousands in attendance. Bustagroove, hosted by Culture Shock, is another massive dance competition in the area and almost always plays host to PAC Modern and Kaba Modern.

the existence of a cohesive filipino youth culture
helped sustain these street dance crews. having been deeply immersed in bboy and dj worlds for quite a while, the dancers came in with extensive knowledge of hip hop and infused it into their dance. they developed a style of hip hop choreography that is unique to the mostly insular community and had enough stage opportunities to grow as performers.

Here's a list of some of their most common elements: (try looking for them in this PAC modern performance)
-10-15 minute master mix of 50 billion songs
-breakin routine
-random breakin power moves (flares, windmills, headspins, flips)
-lockin routine
-acting out a voice over
-cheesy guy/girl partner "flirt" routine
-intricate transitions
-sexy girl jazz routine
-street jazz moves
-overly dramatic head whips
-30 dancers on stage at once (think Cebu prisons doing Thriller performances) followed by smaller group sets

What makes this style of hip hop choreography uniquely filipino american is the combination of traditional hip hop dances (breaking and lockin) and the more MTV-influenced street jazz with slight bboy flavor. on the one end, you have these old school dances that most thought were long dead. hell, even the black community dropped these dances like a bad habit in the late 70's/early 80's. in fact, it's latinos and filipinos who kept breakin alive in the US. this commitment to old school is where fil-ams have made a niche. at the other end of the spectrum is their understanding of new school, which is essentially the street jazz style found in many music videos with a bboy energy on top. you will almost never see these filipino crews rock party dances or new school dances that exist outside of music video choreography. these are mostly studio trained dancers (albeit, their own dance studios) after all so the newest dances will never be taught to them. things like the heel-toe, c-walking, hyphy, flexin, krumpin, uptown shake, chicken noodle soup, the wop, the nike, the roger rabbit, etc. are hardly ever seen.

in contrast, i think a lot of east asian dance groups dont have the same long history with hip hop and draw heavy influence from the pop music scene in asia. and i'm not sure that the cohesive youth network is there to give enough performance opportunities for their scene to blossom. instead, all the other asians join the filipino crews. suchin pak, the korean mtv news correspondent, once told me that her brother growing up in california always wanted to be filipino cuz they were so cool.

so what about the East Coast? the scene is much younger but is finally starting to develop. fil-ams on the east haven't been here as long and are more spread apart so it's taken some time to establish a network. Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND) is only a little bit over a decade old. and PCNs on this side of the country are lucky to be as old. but we've seen what's going on on the west coast and we're starting to catch up. and once again, when the infrastructure is available, the scene blossoms.

in the early 2000's, FIND District 6 (DC/VA) hosted the short-lived Expressions where we saw the cali-like crew DNA as well groups from ODU, Gtown, etc. Culture Shock DC (still very Filipino) hosts its own version of Bustagroove called the East Coast Dance Competition in its 5th year pin@y groups like Fr3sh, Moshun, and Rhythmology can be seen. And then there's FIND's Battle of the Barrios in District 3 (NY/NJ area) which has served as testing ground for the past few years for emerging filipino crews from schools like NYU and Villanova. What makes Battle of the Barrios interesting is that they require groups to incorporate traditional Filipino dance into their show, forcing some really creative hybrids to be born.

you should vote for Jabbawockeez. i don't need to tell you that these boys are dope. they also cut their teeth on many of the same dance events/competitions i described above and really are part of this long tradition of filipino street dancers. however, what really sets them apart from the "moderns" is that the Jabbawockeez can boast street credibility. it's beautiful that filipinos have their own street dance performance culture, but it's wack when many of these dancers dont exist as dancers outside the comfort zone of their crews and crew choreography. looking at Kaba, you can tell that as individual dancers, they aren't as tight and probably can't hold their own in a cypher. i would still consider them at the fringes of hip hop dance. they learn breakin, poppin, lockin for the sake of improving their group performances and to enhance their choreography. those at the center of hip hop can do performances too, but are equally focused on steppin up their game to win battles and represent in party cyphers where the solo dancer is king/queen and improvisation is key. and this is exactly why i love jabbawockeez. they are at the center of hip hop. they exist as individual dancers. Kid Rainen is well known in the bboy world and can stand up to the best of the best in breakin. he and his crew are battle tested, cypher approved. so while choreography can take you far, hip hop is ultimately about being free.

edits (3/26/08):

thanks for the feedback. here's a few things i forgot to mention:

1) i'm probably too harsh on the college students. they are afterall students, and the term sophomore or "wise fool" comes to mind. they will of course learn in time. i didn't become a strong dancer until after college, but my involvement in college dance groups was a necessary stepping stone.

2) i'm from the east coast so how do i know all of this?? i've been watching pac modern dance videos since 2001, pre youtube days. i used to try real hard to imitate them too. so yeah, i'm part of the greater dance scene and have observed from the sidelines for a while. but i invite people to corroborate, clarify, and refute as much as they can based on their own experiences.

3) alumni of these college groups often go on to form their own crews or dance studios. they often end up teaching other generations of filipino youth, high school age and younger. by doing so, they spread the culture and in fact cultivate future dancers who will one day go into college and help sustain the existing crews with their own expertise.

4) it'd be great if someone could do a comparison study with the desi dance scene. i think it's probably very parallel. the plethora of large scale dance events like Bhangra Blowout really force the dance to evolve and the groups to reach higher and higher levels, perfecting their style over time.

5) is hip hop tinikling an east coast thing? "modernizing" traditional dances especially the tinikling has been done ad nauseum over here. who else is doing it? and lookout for stepping, which is one dance style that has been creeping into Battle of the Barrios courtesy of NYU's IFA.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stakes is high! JabbaWockeez in final round!

JabbaWockeez member and native San Diegan Rynan Paguio is a veteran b-boy

After Kaba Modern's getting voted off, JabbaWockeez made it to the final round of "America's Best Dance Crew!" Congrats! They must get more votes than the crew Status Quo , who put on a goofy circus clown performance for their finale. JabbaWockeez chose to put on a solid, faithful old school hip hop routine, complete with crazy screwdrivers (or eggrolls) with shoulder freezes executed on beat with the stuttered snare. What an homage to hip hop styles for a mainstream, Mickey Mouse television show finale! They freaked that.

You can vote for your favorite crew all week, until the final show on Thursday, March 27, 2008.

Some thoughts on JabbaWockeez on "America's Best Dance Crew":

1. JabbaWockeez bring funk, flavor, and flamboyance while remaining loyal to particular dance foundations.

2. These dancers have been in the dance game for a long time, some for more than a decade. They deserve to get national (mainstream) recognition for their dedication to the craft. Their dedication is so much that the larger crew represented at last weekend's hip hop orgy "World of Dance" event.

3. The style JabbaWockeez projects brings a more faithful performance of hip hop dance forms (and fashion: matching dookie ropes and Kangol hats? What?!). I think they steer away from gimmicky tricks and hip hop-culture caricaturing. They let the world know that b-boy/b-girl culture never died (see the film Planet B-Boy), but is in fact getting stronger and achieving national (mainstream) shine (for good or bad?).

4. The crew epitomizes Pin@y commitment to b-boy/b-girl culture. The crew is half Pinoy (both on the MTV show and the larger crew); they give an accurate (male) face to Pinoy hip hop performance. The fact that the crew is ethnically mixed (and, well, also mono-gendered) is very much representative of the Pin@y experience in hip hop in general, as we tend to collaborate with many communities (we're very fluid and floating!). Check out any Pin@y dance organization on a college campus, and it'll probably have what Mark from FOBBDEEP calls "non-Filipino-Asians-in-Filipino-student-organizations", among many other racial groups.

5. I'm surprised this group made it this far in a watered-down TV show. I was convinced JabbaWockeez deserved to be "America's Best Dance Crew," but wasn't confident that mainstream America and MTV would "keep them" around this long, since they are "so hip hop." How subversive. How hip hop.

How thoughtful. How goldilocks.

Friday, March 14, 2008

West Coast vs. East Coast: Comparing Fil Am Hip Hop Scenes

Thanks to Ninoy Brown’s interview with The Roots and Snoop Dogg music video director Rik Cordero, I thought it would be neat to compare the Fil Am hip hop scenes on the West and East coasts. Here is a little snippet from the interview illustrating Rik’s experiences as a Fil Am immersed in hip hop in New York:

“I don’t really gotta ask, but you’re Filipino, right? Has this part of your identity influenced any part of your career?

Yep, I’m Filipino, first generation Fil-Am. I think my identity has influenced me a great deal. Like most Fil-Ams growing up, we have no clue where the hell we fit in, but what’s cool is that for me, I just turned it into a way to observe. There’s no box for me so I’m just roaming around. I was also heavily influenced by the Filipino music scene on the East Coast, so some of my early influences were 5th Platoon, ISP and the whole DJ movement. I DJ’ed too, under the name Rik Guyver and our crew was called Kuya Tribe Productions. We did the FIND (Filipino Intercollegiate Network Dialogue) conferences and all that.

I also really look up to all of the Filipinos who seem to navigate through the entertainment terrain. Almost all of them are exceptionally talented and really down to earth individuals. I met Pharrel Williams recently, but Chad Hugo couldn’t make it ’cause he was sick, and I was kind of disappointed because I wanted to meet him so bad.”

As with Samahang Pilipino, Pilipino American Coalition, Kababayan, Southern California Pilipino American Student Association, Friendship Games, and other West Coast Fil Am college student community spaces, FIND is definitely an important center for East Coast Fil Am youth congregation. I miss my FIND folks! I hope my Florida people still roll deep at the FIND conferences. So big ups to FIND for providing an important space for Pin@y community building, artist networking, choreographed dance gluttony, and um, “partying opportunities.” FIND and other Fil Am student college spaces provide creative forums for Pin@y hip hop artists/performers (a good example is Kaba Modern. Another is the seminal Unity Fest (?) party that Samahang Pilipino at UCLA provided embattled youth during the early 1990s). These community-building resources are something both the West and East Coasts share in terms of hip hop cultural formation among fellow Pin@ys.

As Rik demonstrates, 5th Platoon is a big influence for Fil Am hip hoppers on the East Coast. I constantly hear this from Pin@y DJs on the East Coast, but as 5th Platoon member Kuttin’ Kandi and many others will testify, there was a whole lineage of East Coast Fil Am DJs that set it off before 5th Platoon stepped on the scene. This prompts the need for more research on Fil Am hip hop artists/performers on the East Coast, much like Oliver Wang, Dawn Mabalon, Lakandiwa De Leon, Antonio Tiongson, Elizabeth Pisares, and others have done for Pin@y hip hop artists/performers on the West Coast. We KNOW there was a huge Fil Am hip hop scene in NY/NJ for a long time, so dare I ask, did the Fil Am hip hop scene (DJs or dancers) in NY/NJ PRECEDE the West Coast scene (which is often marked by Fil Am mobile DJs appearing in the Bay and LA around 1978)?

5th Platoon crew circa 1998

5th Platoon 10 year anniversary documentary

Even though it is given that the West Coast (especially the LA Area, SF Bay Area, Seattle, and San Diego) and the East Coast (especially New Jersey and New York) are home to historic hip hop scenes in which Pin@ys have been creative and critical artistic agents, I realize it is important to expand the discourse from a traditional West Coast/East Coast (heavily West Coast) dichotomy that assumes these are the only regions that contain vibrant Fil Am communities. This expansion is important to me because I grew up most of my life in the dirty-dirty South, where Uncle Luke, 69 Boys, Miami Bass, and Latin Freestyle dominated the airwaves in the 90s, and where Mystikal, the Hot Boys, and No Limit exploded in our region before Dirty South music took over the entire nation. Therefore, let’s get some words from those from the South (does this include Virginia and Maryland?), Midwest, Hawaii, Alaska, and overseas.

As a side note, it is my firm belief that Fil Am hip hop cultural formation developed out of the migration of Fil Am youth between different military towns where concentrations of Filipinos reside (including those in Hawaii, Japan, GUAM, and Puerto Rico). Virtually all of my interviewees for "Hip Hop Mestizaje" coincidentally had fathers in the U.S. military (Navy or Air Force). In One Tribe, M. Evelina Galang writes a neat (fictional) story about Fil Am youth culture in Virginia Beach, VA (a huge military town home to the world famous Happy Slip, and also Chad Hugo, Pharrel, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot).

So what are the differences between West Coast hip hop scenes and the scene on the East Coast and other regions? Focus on footwork flavor versus perfection in power moves? Funk style versus wild style graffiti?

Enlighten us.

(Make sure to subscribe to Ninoy Brown's blog "FOBBDEEP." Don't sleep!)

UPDATE: 3/20/08

Maybe the reason why many of us are so mute about this topic, is because we really haven't thought about Filipino communities east of California? We really need to begin documenting this history. Styles over power moves, boyeee!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: EyeASage ain't playin

EyeASage spittin fierce

Peace to EyeASage (Krishtine de Leon) for puttin on a dope show at the UC Irvine TDB/Kababayan "Filipino Hip Hop Renaissance" Showcase on Friday. (Bambu wrapped it up right with the "Chairman Mao" acapella! I got you in part II bro).

One of my favorite songs on EyeASage's "Married to the Hustle" mixtape is "Macktivist," a song that perhaps many of us can relate to??? Krish's lyrics are sharp, cutting, and brutally honest. Let's take a look:


"You can keep it movin
I ain’t the gullible type
I can give a flyin fuck about the poems you write
Got yo fist in the air like you just don’t care
Tryin to gripe about the system like
“It just ain’t fair”
Looky here
You’re kickin some predictable shit
Rock dreads in a cap that your grandma knit
Take a lot more than that to be down for the cause
And take way more than that just to get in the draws
I like to see you spittin' game to the next
Generation of sistas
That love salad but can’t stand oppression
Funny as hell but they’ll see
Activists can be as wack as other people can be
Don’t let the propaganda fool you if you’re tryin to fuck
And tell Huey P. Bootsy that he’s shit outta luck

Ha, anyways

You got Martin and Marley on the front of the line
But they cheatin on they wives like half of the time
Even Malcolm had to question on the movement himself
When he found out that Elijah was dickin the help
While he preachin’ bout respect
Puttin family first
But couldn’t tell between a woman
And a hole in the dirt
It’s funny how they wanna question how we livin our lives
I could push the titties up
And they be changing they minds
Cuz a man is just a man at the end of the day
Bet a hundred million dollas he won’t turn it away
Almost nine out of ten would rather barter belief
long as pussy gettin slanged on the regular, b
If Che Guevara wanna holla he can pump on the brakes
Cuz revolution separate between the real and the fake
You can hide a wedding ring in the palm of ya fist
“Activist” is just a word like “nigga” and “bitch”"

Wooooord? I know, I know, there are a lot of Fil Am activists who rock mad sexy flavor. I mean, who doesn't look cute rockin a revolutionary bandana at a Fil Am Vets rally? HOT! (Just as a note, I cannot be considered in the macktivist camp because grandma refused to knit my cap. And my dreads is a weave. Booyaa!)

Seriously, this important critique of patriarchy and sexual preoccupation within "activist" spaces reminds me of one of Kiwi's dopest lines in the first Native Guns Stray Bullets Mixtape (Track 23):

"You know the down brown man is a myth
Cuz even down brown men treat their women like sh-"


Make sure to peep the "Married to the Hustle" mixtape!



On another note, make sure to DL the new Heavy Rotation 2008 show for March. Bambu represents live from the Heavy Rotation Launch Party at the San Diego House of Blues. You can also hear Ms. Krish's jam "Sco Nails" on the playlist, along with a fresh set of jump offs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stuff Fil Am People Like

In the great tradition of the popular blog "Stuff White People Like" and its spawn "Stuff Educated Black People Like," and inspired by "Ask A Filipino", here is a critical, serious, and scientific list of stuff Fil Am people like (not in any particular order).

#1 Sushi
This satisfies the Asian part for Fil Ams. The rice and soy sauce are natural ingredients they are used to. Just add pork, grease, and vinegar and it'd be a barrio fiesta for them.

#2 Picture taking
Fil Ams love taking pictures of each other, even redundantly in the dance club. This custom dates back to when white people took pictures of them a century ago.

#3 Free sandwiches. Not this.
Fil Ams will gather around free food in general, so be cautious if your multicultural org's resources are limited.

#4 Latino Culture
This usually comes in the form of salsa dancing. Move out the way when "Esa Morena" is played at one of their debuts.

#5 Hawaii (Yes, that is Jasmine Trias)
This satisfies Fil Ams claim to be Pacific Islander (minus the whole genocide thing, of course).

#6 Afro-American culture
Fil Ams' fascination with Afro-American culture goes way back when David Fagen and African American Buffalo Soldiers helped Filipinos fight against American colonizers. They honor him through corn rows and sporadic copula absence.

#7 Sportin dark colors

#8 Rockin big shades (sorry Krish)

#9 Sportin bright colors

#10 Choreographed Dancing
These Fil Am dance troupes usually consist of an absurd amount of dancers, moving uniformly. Uncle Sam says: "You're easy to control. Yet, oh so funky."

#11 Pageants
Through consent or coercion, Fil Ams are socialized to participate in extravagant pageants. This relates to #2 and #14.

#12 New York
When you ask a Fil Am where they are going to vacation, they will usually tell you "I really want to go to New York" if Hawaii is not an option. This relates to #7 because of New York's connotation with hip hop culture. Coming largely from the suburbs, Fil Ams will grab any opportunity to be urban.

#13 Basketball (5'10" and under bringin the thunder)

#14 All-you-can eat buffets
Fil Ams tend to gravitate to all-you-can-eat buffets. This phenomenon relates to American consumer influence in the Philippines, like indulging in choice, variety, and extravagance (and endless cheddar-baked biscuits).

#15 Extended college life
But likely not this.

#16 Being late
Fil Ams are always late, even for job interviews. At some Filipino masses, you will notice church starts at fifteen after the hour. Too bad it doesn't end fifteen minutes early, when Fil Ams tend to leave after bread time.

#17 Head wraps and Kufi caps
This is a gesture to their Muslim and African roots. This kind of relates to #6.

#18 The idea of revolution
Fil Ams love proclaiming the need for revolution (while wearing dark or bright colors and a head wrap). Actual revolution, however, is kind of scary.

#19 The sound of vinyl scratching
Wicky wicky wicky. Got your attention (like a dog whistle)?

#20 Loitering in large groups

This is especially true after a Fil Am youth group or club meetin and usually takes place in parking lots. This phenomenon is related to #10, with less body movements.

#21 A Tribe Called Quest
When "Scenario" comes on in the club, you betta duck cuz Fil Ams will bug out. Why do Fil Ams like ATCQ? It might be Ali Shaheed Muhammad's fresh beats or the resonating, non-threatening Afrohumanist rhymes. Or maybe its because they are a "tribe."

Any more?


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Filipino Hip Hop Renaissance Showcase: See you there!

I'mma be reppin' "Hip Hop Mestizaje" at this event at University of California, Irvine on Friday, March 7. See you there Kaba! (Peace Antonio)

UDPATE (3-8-08):
Thanks for an incredible night Antonio, Jana, Doris, and everyone! It was a huge success, thanks for letting me a small part of it. TDB and Kaba fo lyfe. Ya'll are inspiring and give life to consciousness, art, and community. Keep on doin what you do. Anyone got pictures to share?

Fil Am Modern Practices: Like Prison?

Crank That! Cebu Prisoners Rippin' Up Soulja Boy and (a long) MC Hammer routine

WTF? Foreal?

I wish my dance troupe back in college was this dedicated. With 6 hour practices until 2am, I guess it was kind of like prison (just kidding).

In all seriousness, incredible video. Amazing how transnational mainstream rap (and dance) from the U.S. is (thank you internets), and how old school/sentimental music like MC Hammer reverberates globally.