By Daryl Lim
Celebrating the hip-hop culture in the Philippines
Hip-Hop in the Philippines has always been supported by a lot of people. From the days of Francis M, Masta Plann, and 7 Shots, we now have newer artists like sKarm, Curtismith, BLKD, and Batas. Our country has not only been a hotbed for talented MCs, but local DJs have also gained prominence while proliferating one of the strongholds of hip-hop culture. Aryan Magat and Supremefist are just some names which come to mind in the local scene, carrying the torch for forebearers like DJ MOD. Not only are our local artists and DJs on the rise, but Filipinos in other countries have helped flown the 3 stars and a sun. People like DJ Q-Bert, DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples, Apl.De.Ap from the Black Eyed Peas, Bambu, and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes have been holding it down for the Philippines for so many years.
Through this kind of prominence, why is it that Philippine Hip-Hop hasn’t truly gone and exploded like many thought it would? Maybe all it needed was a heck of an idea from people who love hip-hop, and that idea would turn out to be Urban Jam.
Ryan Armamento is a local DJ who’s gone to great lengths just to see his favorite acts. When MNL Online sat down with him, we immediately saw how much he loves the culture, and we felt the passion coming from him.
“Hip-Hop culture has always been big in our country, it’s just that there are times when it’s not properly exposed. It could be due to some unforeseen circumstances, but hip-hop never died.”
His statement rings true, but not just for hip-hop in our country. Worldwide trends seem to always push it back at times, but the culture has always stayed strong and prospered. In any country, hip-hop has always been huge, no matter which part of the globe you go to.
When asked about why it took this long for a Philippine Hip-Hop Festival took place, Armamento made a strong statement: “It took years for people to once again find the idea of music beyond just beats. With the spread of guys like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, people started listening to the lyrics again, and a fresh sound is something people would always want.”
We also asked him about why it was Mobb Deep that Urban Jam was bringing in, Ryan said that Mobb Deep are, indisputably, one of rap’s most legendary crews. “I was surprised one day when my son was playing NBA 2K. I couldn’t help but nod my head when I heard ‘Shook Ones pt. 2’ in the menu screens.” (For reference, Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones pt. 2” was the instrumental track heard during Rabbit’s last battle in the film, 8 Mile.) Ryan even said that Mobb Deep are truly excited because they never even thought they had a fan base in the Philippines.
We asked Ryan if he thought that Mobb Deep would be the main draw, and his honesty shone through when he said that he thinks Mobb Deep is a great attraction, but not necessarily the biggest one.
“I, along with my partner, Allan Villegas, believe that the biggest draw here is seeing the growth of hip-hop culture in the Philippines. I’m definitely excited for Mobb Deep, but I’m definitely more excited to see our local MCs and DJs truly show the world our stuff. The Philippines is so accessible to other countries here in Asia, and they could easily come and fly in for the event to see how big the culture has grown in our country, and, that to us, is the most important thing.”
Urban Jam happens on August 27, 2016. For ticket purchases, you can get yours at SM ticket outlets and at Ticketnet outlets. The event is brought to you by Random Minds, together with media partners, MNL Online and PURVEYR.