Sunday, May 18, 2008


Image #1"Click, click, clap / Click, click, clap / One, two, three / One, two, FREEZE!"


Image #2
"Boom, bap, boom-boom, BAP / Boom, bap, boom-boom, FREEZE!"

Now, you write a caption to both of these images in the comments.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who Are You? A Survey of the Fil Am Self

Right after the Association of Asian American Studies Conference, a small group of my comrades formed a loose network called the Filipino Soul Aesthetics Working Group. Basically, we are trying to get like-minds together (students, professors, artists/performers, and community organizers) to begin a dialogue about Filipino "soul" (we are still trying to define "soul"). So far, we are zeroing in on Pin@ys and hip hop culture, but we are also open to including Pin@ys and other Black cultural expressions, such as jazz and funk.

Why Black cultural expressions? Many people may be yelling, "Hey! We look Asian! The Philippines is in Asia!" But after self-reflection and self-research, many of us will realize that Filipinos are a very complicated "Asian" group, especially considering Spanish, White American, and African American presence/culture in the Philippines. Check it! Filipinos are extremely mixed in terms of history, language, culture, and artistic expression! Simultaneously, Filipinos occupy a distinct position in richer Asian nations, as Filipinos are mostly "lower-class" workers (and called pretty horrible things by other Asians...btw, any other folks out there have an uncle/cousin heading to Dubai to do construction work or work as a driver??? holla) and we also tend to be stage performers and entertainers in other Asian countries.

Jota dance by Philippine Performance
Arts Company folks in Florida

What is important to understand is that these influences in Filipino expressions/social positions are closely linked to the intense history of Spanish and U.S. colonization, a unique history other Asian nations do not have (yes it goes beyond the chopsticks thing). So, considering this, how would you classify Filipinos culturally/racially/ethnically? (This framework of colonization anchors the questions we will be asking in the Filipino Aesthetics Working Group.)

There is an abundance of current examples of Filipino artists/performers "pin@ytrating" mainstream public culture-- from the "dancing inmates" (Lorenzo Perillo of our Filipino Soul Aesthetics Working Group writes a mean article on these talented Cebuano prisoners), to Charice Pempengco, JabbaWockeez, and even DJ Neil Armstrong touring with Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige (any other examples?). Gathering from this very visible manifestation of Pin@y talent in the "mainstream", I have a couple of questions for you:
Kiwi and Bambu of the
former Native Guns

QUESTION ONE: What ethnic/racial group do you think Pin@ys most closely resemble? [Among popular choices are Asian or Pacific Islander (as seen in Myspace profiles), but many others (as we know) gravitate towards Latino and African American cultural expressions.]

QUESTION TWO: Why do you think there is a gravitation towards Black American cultural art forms among Pin@ys?*

*This probably applies more to second-generation Fil Ams.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Thanks! LEGEND documentary at Film Festival!

MV and DJ Icy Ice, fest-ing it up

Thanks to everyone who represented at the Asian Pacific Film Festival program "VC Digital Posse" on Wednesday and supported my short documentary "Legend." Thanks Ernie Pena for the nice photos.

And to all the loud, rude people in the back of the theater screaming (for me)...THANKS! Ya'll made me feel popular. Note to the educators out there: in order to feel popular, bring your students to your own event... make their grades ride on it...And they'll make you feel like you won somethin. The love! Ya'll look so glamorous (above photo).

It's been a great ride. Thanks to the Visual Communications Armed With a Camera (AWC) Emerging Artists grant. Also, big ups to the AWC 2008 cohort! Can any AWC cohort compare to us? And most of all, thanks to Icy Ice for sharing his stories and flexing on the wheels of steel at the program afterparty. Bringin da noise! (Did he play the funky Freestyle jams? Yes he did!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: A Tribe in the East with DJ Mike Rizzy

Come vibe with Deejay Mike Rizzy, who be bangin out the hottest ride out jams while bring us back in the day of high top fades and rat tails at Don't sleep on the New Jack Swing mix!

Who is Deejay Mike Rizzy?

What's going on? I'm DJ Mike Rizzy 1/5 of the Kuya Tribe VA DJ Crew from Virginia Beach. Lived In Virginia all my life from a military family. Other than that hip hop is basically my life with a little bit of nba basketball and food on the side.

Who is the Kuya Tribe?

Kuya Tribe actually started around the mid 90's. I'm actually not an original member i'm just kind of carrying the torch. But the whole inspiration behind Kuya Tribe is DJ Kuya D. Kuya D and Delinger are from Queens New York and later moved to VA where i met them. But Kuya D had a large impact on the filipino party scene in NY in the early 90's and carried it over to VA. Kuya D used to be in a crew with DJ Roli Rho of 5th Platoon before 5th Platoon was around and they used to do a whole lot of parties all around New York. So basically it mostly started in New York with Kuya D, Delinger, Ir-Y, Mad Ryan, J-Rule, and Rik Guyver who you know now as the famous film director Rik Cordero. They had a pretty large buzz of their own with their mixtapes during the late 90's and spinnin at a bunch of spots. Eventually i linked up with Kuya D and Delinger and we did pretty much all the clubs around the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area then added Disko Dave and DJ Vaperz to our roster.

Why do you take time to make mixes for

I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented circle of friends around me that excel in all different types of professions. A few of my friends founded a very succesful Forex trading website ( The other DJ's in my crew (Kuya D, Delinger, Disko Dave, Vaperz) are some of the most talented dj's i've ever seen. My roomate Josh Verdes ( is an extremely skilled musician. And another good friend of mine happens to be a pretty well known blogger by the name of HappySlip. So being around these people really inspired me to find my own outlet to express myself musically. Also like i said earlier, i'm really a hip hop junkie to the fullest extent so i wanted to find a way to showcase the music that i personally like and not play just what's on the radio.

Who introduced you to hip hop?

What really introduced me to hip hop was MTV and BET. I was that little kid at home standing next to the VCR recording all my favorite hip hop videos. I was lucky enough to come up and witness what they call the "golden age" of hip hop. Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Kane, Lyte, Latifah, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, the whole native tongue movement, the list goes on and on. That's all it took. No looking back after that. I really didn't start dj'n until about 98. I met DJ's Kuya D and Delinger and the rest of the original Kuya Tribe crew around 95 or so and I would always try to learn on their set. It took me to graduate from high school until i could finally afford my own set of turntables and do my thing.

We know about Chad Hugo, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot but not many people know that they are from Virginia Beach. Why do you think that is?

The hip hop scene in Virginia Beach is big. This city is mainly a military town so you really have a big melting pot of people from all over which is why we can listen to Dre and 2pac, then listen to Nas and Jay, then onto TI, Wayne, etc. But the thing is that i think we get overlooked a lot. All those artists you just mentioned Chad, Missy, Timbaland they all got their starts from being discovered by other major artists. Teddy Riley discovered Chad and Pharrell, Devante from Jodeci discovered Timbaland and Missy and that's another i noticed about Virginia Beach. I read interviews from Phonte of Little Brother and he mentions how your home state really doesn't support you until you get noticed everywhere else and i kind of feel the same way. I know it's probably not like that as much in New York or California but i know for a fact a bunch of these other states don't want anything to do with you unless your on MTV or something like that. Which is why i decided to make the podcast because i know there's people out there that's into the same music that i am.

How are Filipinos involved with hip hop in Virginia Beach?

In the hip hop scene most of the filipinos i've come in contact with are either DJ's, Graff Artists, or B-Boys. I don't really know too many filipino mc's. I probably know a lot more singers and dancers than anything else. Photo: Ir-Y, Mad Ryan, and Rik Guyver (Rik Cordero) of Kuya Tribe

Do you think there are big differences in Filipino DJs in California and those in VA Beach?

In my opinion there's a huge difference between dj's in California and Va. Beach. For one there's a much much much larger DJ community in California. There's a large filipino population in Virginia Beach but there really isn't that many DJ's. A lot of the DJ's from this area don't really do it anymore. There were definitely a lot more DJ's in the late 90's than now. But the styles between us and Cali are really different. A lot of the west coast dj's i've heard have more of an upbeat club style to their mixes. I can really only speak for me and my crew but we're more New York influenced and play mostly boom bap type stuff. We don't really play a lot of crunk or snap music. Honestly i can't stand it but that's just me.

How do you think being a military town makes VA Beach unique in terms of your hip hop community?

Being from a military town really gives you an appreciation for all different types of cultures and music. My crew has has been spinnin all over this area for a long time and we get all types of requests from all eras of hip hop, to reggae and soca, to house, electronica, you name it. So i think to be a succesful dj in this area you really need to have a well rounded knowledge of music.

What would you want people to know about the hip hop scene in VA Beach?

I just really want people to notice that there's more than Timbaland and Missy out here. There's people out here that really live hip hop and have respect for all the elements of it. But at the same time I'm glad that innovative and trendsetting musicians like Timbaland, Missy, Neptunes are from VA and made a huge impact in the game. It could be a lot worse. D'Angelo, Skillz, Chris Brown, and Trey Songs are also from VA don't sleep on them.

What do you think are the new innovations made turntablism and DJing?

You know i was the first person in my circle to make the switch from vinyl to digital. And at first I would be a little bitter towards dj's that started on Serato and just copied hard drives from people. When i was coming up it was hard enough just to afford turntables then on top of that you had to save a whole bunch of money just to rack up enough records to do a gig. So to see people just people giving away like 20 gigs of music upset me at first but i got over it. But technology is really changing the game. They're coming with all these midi consoles now so pretty soon you won't even need turntables. I love my technics to death but i know how much easier life would be if i only had to bring a laptop and small console to gigs. I remember breaking my back carrying a coffin and 10 crates to each gig. There's also a growing popularity of Video DJ's so that might really be on the rise. But other than that i probably see a lot more people adding effects and synths and stuff like that to their sets and a bunch of other little things to set themselves apart from other dj's.

What's your next move in the DJ game?

I'll definitely be producing a lot more music for HappySlip. I have a bunch of artists i'm currently producing for so i'll be putting out a bunch of music in the future and also i'm going to be concentrating on doing a lot of out of town gigs. On top of that i'll still be giving the people new mixes on a regular basis so check for me.