By Daryl Lim
Photos by Reggie Krush
When artists hit legendary status, people think they turn into divas that want to go about their own business. That’s widely accepted, but not completely taken. On the other hand, there are artists who hit that status, but become more accessible to their fans, working even harder and showing more love to everyone than what’s expected of them, and that’s what Mastaplann have done in their recent bar tour of the Philippines.
With a legacy built on dope singles and strong album cuts, it wasn’t a hard decision for me to tail them on a couple of their shows during their Philippine bar tour. I asked myself why they’re even only doing a bar tour because, clearly, they could’ve easily done a one stop, big show for everyone to check out. Little did I know that this bar tour would prove how legendary and humble the guys are.
I met the guys at the Brgy. Tibay anniversary, something I’ve always relished to have done ever since I heard Bring That Booty as a kid. See, there’s always a certain mystique held to artists who are your heroes. They seem invincible, able to hold your attention while making you feel like you’re in the presence of royalty. As the only Hip-Hop act working the show that night, it was a major surprise for me to see even local rock and metal greats in the backstage area give daps to Butch and Johnny Krush. Their aura of strength still burst through, but I didn’t expect that the guys would be as humble as to head outside in the back of the Metrotent to take photos with fans. After all, they’re legends, guys who’ve built their legacy, able to provide themselves that extra hint of privacy that they deserve. Truly, these dudes proved otherwise.
Dropping by their show at Craft in BGC a couple of days later, I saw Johnny Krush and Butch hard at work outside the venue. With a couple of beers in hand, they were hard at work on their set, knowing fully in the back of their minds that they’d be delivering a show later on. The upscale environment made me think that they’d be a little more guarded and such, but they still took pre performance photos with fans, some of them definitely younger than I am, and I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore. It struck me that they definitely hit a demographic that I never imagined would attend a Mastaplann show, and considering how fickle today’s younger generation are with Hip-Hop, it truly was a welcome surprise.
At Mow’s for the Fliptop Mindfields show, I got to see Butch and Johnny Krush for who they really are: a family. They welcomed fans like long lost cousins, chopped it up with their old homies from Sun Valley Crew and Death Threat, and just had a good time with everyone. If anything, it showed complete humility and a sense that they never lost who they really were: dudes who just love Hip-Hop so much, that no matter where they performed, they’d give their best performance, be it a large venue filled with thousands, or a small bar that would barely even be able to hold 150 people.
Performance wise, the OGs of the True Asiatik Tribe truly held it down. Johnny Krush rocked the stage with energy, dancing and rolling with the whole set, while Butch was calculatingly hella chill and precise. With guest appearances on some performances, they more than held their own and showed the people why their legacy stays strong and still grows. From the new school cats like Skarm and Switch from Assembly Generals, to their brothers Ill-J & Juss Rye from SVC, and the Mighty Dash Calzado, Mastaplann gave each guest performer love for the kind of performance they’d give out. You could feel the love and warmth, the respect given by people to a couple of Filipino Hip-Hop OGs, and in turn, they actually stayed more humble and accessible to people.
Mastaplann knows their ish. Professional, yet giving. Private, but accessible. Onstage braggadoccio melded with an offstage humility. They’ve stayed strong and committed to giving the people 200% of themselves, and seeing this really makes me wish that younger cats could see these dudes in action. Maybe a countrywide tour could be done soon, but for now, these guys most definitely wrecked it, and it definitely was an experience that’s forever gonna be in my mind as one for the books.