Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Lyrical Empire: Hip Hop in Metro Manila premieres in the Philippines! Thanks to all the good folks like Jerome and Knowa (and everyone!) for making this finally happen. I wish I could be there. This project is for the artists and fans in the Philippines, and beyond! Keep on keepin on! Pataas!
Thursday, December 30
CLUB TECH GENIUS MANILA (located inside Manila Ocean Park)
as part of the bigger program:
2010 RAP-UP PARTY: The Capital G Shop & AllStars DanceSchool Holiday Bash
THURSDAY, DEC. 30, 2010
MaddyMatikz and Stratosphere Productions
Hosts: Jerome B Smooth & Sheera Vera Cruz
...Sponsors: Q-York, Capital G, Allstars Danceschool, Club Tech Genius Manila, Gold's Gym, Naughty Needles, Amazing Playground
8PM -DOORS OPEN
Please bring ID if you want to drink
P150 entrance fee on Guestlist
**For kids, only age 14+ can enter. Pls bring school ID**
Text 0927.565.6540 or email email@example.com for GL & Table RSVP on or before 5pm, Dec.30.
9PM -KRIS KRINGLE (Bring a gift worth P300 for gift exchange) NO GIFT BROUGHT, NO GIFT GAINED.
10PM -WORLD PREMIERE of "LYRICAL EMPIRE:HIP HOP IN MANILA"
Directed by Mark Villegas and features artists such as CHRiZo, Marquiss, MC Dash, iLL J, LDP, MastaPlann, Philippine Allstars, & many more!
11PM -LIVE PERFORMANCES by Jonan Aguilar & DJ Bboy, Q-York, Chelo Aestrid, KrumPinoy, Allstars Danceschool Scholars, & many more!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Generation ILL presents the Weekly Beat Sessions: "1ne Sample. Multiple Producers. Multiple Beats." This round they take it to the islands and funk with the Original Pinoy Music song "Isang Gabi" by Victor Wood (bel0w). A virtual assembly of 16 Producers from the Sunshine State to the sunny Philippines and all the way to the tundra of Toronto to foggy Londontown--these beat crafters twist, crack, chop, and flying jumpkick the somber Filipino ballad.
Big ups to ILLa for creating a community like this. Read below for details on his inspiration, a plug for my documentary, and the ways he is connecting creative minds around the world. And be sure to see how these producers really funked up this sample. Which one is your favorite? (No biases, but shout outs to Bojam and Chrizo cuz they dun set it off this time!! EeEw ang nasty sila nga!)
From MNL to FLA, show love!
"The first records I ever sampled were from my dad’s old record collection. About half of them were Filipino records or Original Pinoy Music (OPM) from the early 1970s. I remember sampling an old 45 by a group called Soul Jugglers (which I cannot find anymore) and Balikbayan by Dale Adriatico.
What I came to realize was there was so much talent over there and there were so many amazing records that were put out. The instrumentalists, arrangements, and vocals were amazing. Fast forward to 2007 or so — I first connect with Chrizo on myspace. After checking out his music and the other artists he was collaborating with, I come to realize that the Philippines also has a dope ass hip hop scene that is on the come up.
The hip hop scene in metro-manila was the topic of the documentary, “Lyrical Empire”, made by our boy Mark Villegas of FilAmFunk. Check out the trailer to this documentary which features Chrizo and also music by B-ROC (who made his debut submission this week). I had an opportunity to watch the full-length documentary yesterday and ended up watching it several more times. The list of screenings can be found here.
In keeping with the theme, this week we sampled an OPM song by Victor Wood. I speak very little tagalog, but i got some help from someone who summarized the song in three sentences: the girl he loves is dating his best friend, he becomes the best man at their wedding, best friend ends up leaving her. Depressing song, but amazing sample.
Anyways, check out the featured producers, several of which are making their debut to the Weekly Beat Sessions. Thanks for listening and for spreading the word about the site. Also stay tuned for the upcoming Christmas/Holiday edition of the Weekly Beat Sessions by @generationill. peace, illa (@illa0804)"
Sunday, December 12, 2010
This past Friday and Saturday, Beatrock Music celebrated its first year anniversary in Long Beach and San Francisco. An impressive collection of Fil Am (and the homey Otayo Dubb and the CounterParts Crew) rocked the stage. I copped some merch at the Long Beach show (see above), including the fabled Beatrock Music baseball cap.
Beatrock Music artist Bambu performed "Who's That?!", a song that uses the beat originally produced by Das Racist and uses a Tribe Called Quest "Scenario" sample: "Inside, outside, come around. Who's that? Brown!!!" Bambu, always baggin on DJ Phatrick (his "Chinese DJ"), joked, "It says brown. So it's hard for Phatrick to play this." Along with back and forth jabs, Phatrick and Bambu performed a great improvised showcase.
Brown music up and down the coast! Congrats to Beatrock Music for a memorable year!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
It's time you DLed the new EP Deep Foundation & Hydroponiks present Generation ILL. The EP is an East Coast+South collaboration between the NY/NJ emcees of Deep Foundation/Hydroponikz and the Florida beat production crew Generation ILL. And what a sweet collaboration it is. The album also features cameos with Bambu, Rocky Rivera, and Ashley Robles.
The tracks touch on various themes, from the mellow dance hit "To The Beat" to the multi-meaning diaspora-inflected "World's Apart". The latter is one of my favorite tracks: it cleverly manages to portray the pain, angst, and contradictions involved in living as a Filipino in the U.S. as well as painting those same conditions as seen on the streets of the U.S. and the Philippines.
Peep an excerpt from Mugg Shot's verse in "World's Apart":
"Was mothered by a land
Where white stands for rich
And dark tans are brands
On backs that stand stiff.
When your status is defined
By similar outlines
Social classes divided
By aboriginal ties
Round-eye descendants of
Fetishizing a skin to avoid
We lacking pride from
Where our people derived.
We came enslaved
The day they people arrived..."
Hip hop still speaking truth to power. Word. I was fortunate enough to catch up with illa and SoCo from Generation ILL to find out more about the geniuses behind the sound:
illa: It was definitely a new experience for us. It’s one thing to pass a beat to an artist who you may not be able to work with during the recording process but with this project, the music was just the beginning. As the EP evolved into a joint venture between us, DF and Hydro, we became fully involved in all aspects of putting the project out—everything from distribution to promotions, we were definitely grateful for the opportunity to work with those guys.
Soco: You know, thanks to smartphones and the internet, there wasn’t a lot of downsides to the process. Of course, if we were up in NYC, I’m sure it would’ve made things a lot easier. They shot a couple videos for the EP up there, too—we would’ve loved to be in front of the camera together with DF and Hydro. There’s still an opportunity for that, tho…we’ll keep everyone posted once they’re released. I mean, so long as there are planes, we’ll still be able to meet up in person.
Soco: I guess we were fortunate enough to have joined the FSA in a year with older members that were big music heads. Some were DJs, others were really big into music in general and we learned a lot about other artists we normally woudn’t have had exposure to so soon. Like, one of the guys had just bought Blackalicious’s NIA and I had never heard anything like it. I remember, our friend Ray was part of Slum Village’s street team and that was the first time I had heard anything from Dilla. Our minds were blown away listening to Fantastic V2.
illa: And really, if it wasn’t for the UFFSA, we probably wouldn’t be here doing this interview. We started making beats and recording music while in college and later, when we were performing, it was that same organization—that same family—that came out to support us whenever we had a show. Now that we’ve evolved into Generation ILL, and since we’ve collaborated with Deep Foundation and Hydroponikz, we’ve seen that support from not only FSAs, but the FilAm community nationwide as a whole.
Why do you guys prefer to work in a crew?
illa: Well, the idea of Generation ILL as a production crew/company was a product of the jam sessions we used to have up in Gainesville. Every Thursday night, while the emcees would be freestyling, the producers would get together and chop up a single sample and present them once everyone was done. It was a chance for us to not only share production techniques, but also an opportunity to introduce each other to the different equipment and programs we used. The producers started to meet up more and it gave us a chance to build that camaraderie fueled by making beats.
Soco: One thing we all have in common, other than music, is that we all have separate lives in separate cities. Nine-to-five’s, school, family responsibilities—and as individuals, the fear is that you might get lost in reality. We all decided to come together as Generation ILL to represent that bond we share as artists and beatsmiths and to keep that passion alive—the passion to keep making dope music. It makes us better in our craft—iron sharpens iron, you know? Being part of a crew lets our individual styles shine from one point, which in turn allows artists to find a plethora of different sounds in one place.
Any future projects?
We're looking forward to some collaborations with several artists from the West Coast. Currently, we're working on a track with Bambu/Beat Rock Music on an upcoming project. We have a R&B/Soul- inspired beat cd in the works which will be available soon and we have plans to release a Generation ILL project with a series of featured emcees during the 2nd Qtr of 2011.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Manny Pacquiao the People’s Champ: Is that too Much for Floyd to Handle?
from Davey D's Hip Hop Corner
November 15, 2010
"...While the world watched and cheered, we’re sure a certain boxer with a big mouth and lots of money sat at home also watching. There is no doubt that Floyd ‘Money Making’ Mayweather has come to realize two unshakeable truths. First, he can’t beat Mr Pacquiao. Yeah, yeah, we heard all the talk about how he’s a skilled precision fighter, a true student of the game blah, blah, blah…Save it. He knows it, I know and you know it. Mayweather watched and realized this past Saturday night this is man he can’t beat.
The other thing he realized is that he’ll never be seen as one of the greatest, even with an undefeated record. As a world champ, he misread history and what it means when you hold such a title especially as a Black man. The ring was always symbolic of power we did not have.. Even with boxing legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, part of what made him great was his accomplishments in the midst of hard oppressions. the accomplishments of boxing greats like Joe Louis and Jack Johnson became a symbolic victories for all those who felt marginalized and oppressed. Their victory was our victory.
Manny Pacquiao has captured that spirit globally. Sadly Floyd Mayweather has misread the signs of today’s times and missed the opportunity to be ‘the people’s champ‘. If Mayweather and Pacman were to fight and he somehow won, Manny would still be seen as champ all over the world. A Mayweather victory would be a hollow victory. Mayweather does not have the admiration of the people especially globally, and no matter how much he brags or ‘adroitly ‘plays the role of villan’ aka the ‘man you love to hate’, he’ll never be seen as a man for the people. What a wasted opportunity...."
Sunday, November 14, 2010
If the mid to late 90s was an era for Fil Am R&B acts, then the 2000s is for Fil Am emcees (and the scenes, audiences, markets, and artists do overlap). Is this decade a new "renaissance" for Fil Am artists (hip hop, R&B, or otherwise), or was the 90s just a special, special moment (well, certainly there were more women and group-oriented acts)?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Ready for the Pacquiao vs. Margarito fight this Saturday? Will the congressman defeat the Master Plaster? Patis or Tapatio?
The match this weekend is a good opportunity to explore the Filipino-Mexican connection, a growing scholarly topic, and a visual and cultural "common sense" among many Filipinos and Chicanos in Southern California. One scholar is doing interesting work on looking at Filipino and Chicano emcees and their political messages relating to homeland and diaspora.
The upcoming boxing performance echos the influence of "real" performance traditions between Mexico and the Philippines, with the latter as "New Spain" working as a colonial mediator to the far-off Spanish island colony. Here is an excerpt from Palabas: Essays on Philipine Theater History (1997) by Doreen Fernandez, a book that outlines various Philippine "performance" traditions, ranging from precolonial rituals to Philippine theater in the 1980s. (I suppose it is up to one of you to write a book on hip hop traditions in the Philippines.)
"During much of the colonial period, Spanish culture was introduced through Nueva España (Mexico), from where the Philippines was ruled by Spain through the Ministro de Ultramar. Soldiers of Adelantado Miguel López de Legazpi in the late sixteenth century are believed to have been the ones who brought over from Mexico the metrical romances of chivalry and of the lives of saints and martyrs, which were popular in their day and which, in indigenized form, became the native awit and corrido" (5).
Oh! This explains the whole champurrado/champorado thing! We all just one big chocolate mix. Well, of course Mexicans use the corn/masa, and the Filipinos, rice. And according to some recipes, the Mexican champurrado is served with alcohol.
Lambanog champorado for cold nights!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Here is a recent entry:
Rep Wear You From
Fashion is undoubtedly one of the core elements of Hip Hop. After all, 1990's hip hoppers practically made the Tommy Hilfiger brand. And where would New Era fitteds be without Jay-Z?
Hip Hop, in every one of its art forms, is all about stylistic expression. It's no surprise then that fashion, as an outward expression of style, is so embraced by the Hip Hop generation to connote culture and identity. It's about reppin' who you are and where you're from.
The glocalized Hip Hop community here in Paris and France puts its own twist on that concept and the outfit trends from the US. Sure, the fitted caps, baggy pants, and fly sneakers remain a staple, but here young people spice up their wardrobes with a smattering of ethnic and religious roots.
At every event I attend, I always feel like I'm at a convening at the UN. In the middle of a cypher, there will be a gleaming turquoise jacket with "ALGERIE" embroidered across the chest. To the left, I'll spot the outline of the African continent colored in bright red, green and yellow, on the front of a sweatshirt. I'll pick out the word "SENEGAL" discreetly wrapped around a friend's wristband. And then of course, my favorite Tee yells out to me, with huge block letters, "I'm Muslim, Don't Panik!" As I observe, I notice that I too am rockin' my favorite Philippines revolution crew-neck...
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I was able to attend this FlipTop session in Quezon City in July.
Far. Sweaty. Crowded. Bad acoustics. But still passionate about the culture. Philippine hip hop is the real deal, and they are hungry for more.
Check out my entry:
Guerilla Style: FlipTop gives you raw Philippine rap
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I've been representing Jacksonville, Florida pretty hard for the past few weeks. Here is yet another spotlight on a Jacksonville Pinoy/Pinay artist: the talented Leo Angelo Bio of the 8X10 Collective. We profiled Grace Bio last week, so check that out if you haven't already. I encourage all Filipino Americans to explore the hidden pockets of Filipino talent across the country.
Here we go!
When and why did you get into painting?
I got into painting when I was 8 years old reading X-men and Kung Fu comics. My favorite illustrators are Bill Sienkiewicz, Kent Williams, who made beautiful water color paintings of Marvel characters, and Tony Wong of Jademan comics. They were all major influences. During my teens, graffiti had a major impact on my style.
Why do you believe painting is the best way for you to express yourself?
Painting is a force which is drawn from your soul, your Devine self. Painting and drawing is a spiritual act, as any Art is. Color, shape and form interpreted by imagination: the illusion provokes thought into the viewer.
What inspires your work?
The Creator’s creation creates my creativity. I’m drawn to truth, beauty, and God. I wish the viewer to understand an artist's mind.
Describe the graphic art scene in Jacksonville. How does it compare to other scenes you are familiar with?
The art scene in Jacksonville is a growing, long over-due young scene. I am just now getting into the emergence of the scene. I have been performing live art in various venues around town with my sister, Grace. The thing about Jacksonville is, it loves art but doesn’t like artists. There a lot dope artists in Duval that hardly get shine. A big city like Jacksonville should embrace art more, because we are the soul and future of the city. The Filipino community should embrace their youth and their creativity, because without it - they will fall into negative stereotypes, which destroys representation our people.
Describe your experience at Filipino Pride Day. How was your reception by the festival goers?
I had a good time, but expected more. As a Non-Filipino, I would have liked to learn more about the history and culture. I was looking to see more political activism and social awareness about my country - the two things Filipinos ignore here in the U.S. I have to say, I was saddened that people were wearing Pinoy pride shirts but didn't know who I was painting (Ninoy Aquino). But, it was good time to reveal The 8X10 Collective to Jacksonville and the world!
What is your favorite hip hop album, and why?
I have been into hip hop since 1986 so it’s hard to have one favorite album. De La Soul’s “Buhloon Mindstate” and Digable Planet’s “Blowout Comb” would have to be my top two. Both albums got dope samples, hard-hitting beats with a jazzy feelin'. Both albums exemplify the highest creative potential in Hip Hop. Both albums you can rock all day, every day!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Lyrical Empire is featured in the He(art) of the Matter SDAFF festival program this coming Sunday, October 24 at 4:45pm.
This documentary is slowly making its film festival rounds. I hope to bring it to Manila soon. Since we're in San Diego, I will not refuse any offers of carne asada fries.
You can read more about my experience with a few of the Metro Manila hip hop heads in my article for Evil Monito magazine.*
Ridin’ out in Metro Manila
On a drizzly, humid July afternoon I squeeze into an overflowing train headed for Las Piñas, a city in southern Metro Manila. I hop from the train onto the Philippines’ most ubiquitous forms of transportation, the jeepney, a functioning relic of the United States military ostentatiously stylized with distinct Filipino flavor—bright paint, shiny chrome, and customized body kits. Like the other commuters, I cover my mouth and nose with a handkerchief as we battle the Metro’s pollution and traffic.
I am on my way to interview the Turbulence Productions crew, a small, independent group of emcees, beat producers, and entrepreneurs who rank as one of the most respected hip hop crews in the Philippines.
As someone who has been immersed in hip hop and who documents Filipino American involvement in the cultural cipher, I, like many other Filipino Americans, carried my own biases about hip hop in the Philippines. I believed because the Philippines is a poor country whose people are obsessed with mimicking catchy American pop songs, the quality of hip hop in the country must be sub-par.
I had it all twisted. CONTINUE READING...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I started drawing when I was a child. My sister told me I knew how to write my name in cursive, then started drawing everywhere around the house. Fast-forward to when I was around 5-7 years old, I walked into my brother Leo's room rockin' a graffiti piece. That experience alone influenced me to keep flowin' with Art.
Why do you believe painting is the best way for you to express yourself?
Any expression of the soul is communication from God to the world. We are His conduits. Its just up to the person on how they convey that energy to the world. Making Art for me is what I know best. Its what resonates within me & flows out of me. Its like breath. If I don't share it, I feel as if I am not allowing humanity to feel what it's like to be truly alive. To not do it, I feel as if I am dying.
What inspires your work?
God, my brother, my sister Gigi & my boyfriend Dorian "DENZITY" Lopez will always be my inspiration. Knowing God created everything in the universe as well as humanity me always leaves me in awe. If people only knew how complex we are, as well as how infinite the universe is, they would think and live differently. On behalf of my brother & sister- they have raised me to be the artist I am today. They taught me techniques, introduced me to various dope artists, bumped amazing music, overall- enlightened me. Lastly, my boyfriend's encouragement pushes me to do the impossible. His faith in me makes me want to do my best in everything I do as well as break through any boundaries that get in my way! Having them in my life keeps me moving!
Describe the graphic art scene in Jacksonville. How does it compare to other scenes you are familiar with?
From my experience working in the art scene, I found myself exhausting myself to redundancy. I became a "Yes Man" to every opportunity to show my work all over town, but haven't gained much from it. I have my crew of friends/supporters, as well as a lot of compliments from various peoples, but I felt as if I became a bird in a cage. For a local artist, there is no problem getting your work up in a venue & getting some publicity. The problem is most artists get support from their closest friends/fans, but it hardly goes outside of that circle- nevertheless, outside of Jacksonville. I've met & know of a lot of talented cats & find a lot of them getting frustrated in Jacksonville, until they move or experience scenes in other areas. It still has room to improve, but the people need to join together to help its progression.
In comparison to NYC, the hustle is harder, everything is flavorful, there are a lot of interesting cats to mingle with & you have the world as your oyster. From my experience hanging out with my sister in Brooklyn, I noticed her circle of friends are all amazing artists that all genuinely love & support one another. When they do events, they rock it solo or together, get mad support from their crews & from people that are interested in what they have to offer to the world. They usually have dope advertising and lots of press from the event itself.
I've been making numerous trips to NYC since 2005. Recently, I went there for this event "Meeting of Styles" at 5 Pointz held on Sept. 10-12. A mutual friend of my family & crew, Reskew, received confirmation from Meres (owner of 5 Pointz) to do a wall for the event. So me, my brother, friend & boyfriend decided to drive up from Jacksonville. We all stayed together for a week, but I stayed another week to hang out with my sister. It was an inspiring trip that I'll never forget! Check out the video below. This is one of the things we did while we were there:
Describe your experience at the 2nd Annual Filipino Pride Day in Jacksonville, Florida. How did you get involved with the festival? How was your reception by the festival goers?
My main focus was to represent my people and to enlighten them with history of the Philippines. I was also excited to have my crew, THE 8X10 COLLECTIVE (me, my brother & sister) in one show. Knowing that our first show was at a Filipino festival made us all very proud! My experience there was an enriching one. I was happy to share our gifts to our people as well as remind them where we stand as a people. Painting alongside my brother (I painted Corazon Aquino, he painted Ninoy Aquino), we attracted a lot of attention from people passing by. Some stayed throughout the entire performance to see our progress. We also had dope tunes blastin', incense burnin', good energy, as well as having my boyfriend, friends & family come support.
I actually got involved with the festival through Audrey Aviles (a family friend) & hooked up with the show by Angel Dendam. We thank them for everything they have done! It was an absolute success!
What is your favorite hip hop album, and why?
My musical tastes are very broad, but I would have to say my staple Hip-Hop album would be The Roots "illadelph halflife", simply because that was the first hip-hop album I heard. I remember vividly diggin' through my brother's music collection when I was in 5th Grade & pullin' out this album. I jammed out to it for a long minute. This album changed my overall being since then! Also, Digable Planets "Blowout Comb" How could you NOT love that album? I find my ass still boppin' my head to that sh*t! That album is super dopeness at its finest and will never get old!