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Saturday, October 09, 2004


By Cris O. Ramos
Urban Noypis (Part 2)

Hey, what’s up, yo? Here’s the second and final batch of Pinoy hip-hop CDs that I’ve got in store for you. As you can see, the column’s getting leaner but meaner every week, so do keep reading y’all!

Sun Valley Crew, It’s All Natural (Space Monkey). The hip-hop crew that took local rap music to another level along with Mastaplann in the nineties has turned themselves into a cult favorite in the local underground music circuit. (Take note: I said underground music, not underground rap music.)

The trio of Ryan “Slimm” Ventura, RJ “Ill J” Señeres, and Ryan “Rye” Armamento expands the program by coming out with a revolving door line-up that includes jazz saxophonist Dan Gil on Rhodes piano, Raimund Marasigan (Sandwich, Cambio, Squid 9) on guitars or his electronic stuff, Mong Alcaraz on guitars, Slimm on bass, Dex Aguila on drums, an amazing female singer named Wella, and other premiere musicians from the rock scene.

The album, however, was recorded way before this new crew. But listen and you’ll find elements that suggest they’re veering away from the laid-back bossa nova grooves of “The Real (Hip-Hop Music)” and “Why Ask Why,” to the fluid rap-rock of “Rockin’ It.”

Today, their music fuses elements of soul, jazz improvisation, rock, rap and what-have-you. Now you can call it whatever you want, but for this tight-ass crew, their music is strictly hip-hop.

Rating: 4 Guns

Denmark, Blind Rhyme (Blind Rhyme/Musiko/BMG). The one-hit rap wonder from the nineties (remember “Luningning?”) is back.  And boy, is he angry! For this comeback album, he spews vitriol against bosses who think nothing about their poor employees, corrupt politicians, religious hypocrites, the young rappers who had made fun of him while he was away (“di ko kailangan ang respeto mo/ta**d ka pa lang hip-hop na ako”), and the rappers he hates (“wag kang magtaka kung bakit lumaki ang tiyan ko/punong-puno ng mga bobong MC-ng kinain ko”).

But, he does not wage his war alone. He goes up against his young haters on “Baknthaday” with FrancisM and —get this—Michael V. (says Bitoy: “eh ano kung matanda na/eh ano kung mataba na/talagang lumaki yan kasi ang dami ko nang pera”). Along with a battalion of witty, hilarious and talented rappers, he counters Salbakuta’s “Meron Ba Kayong Ganitong Life?” with “Meron ba kayong ganitong rap?/wala!”

The only caveat here is that while Denmark goes on and on about criticizing Andrew E., there are a couple of tracks where he poorly imitates him anyway (“If You See Kaye,” Meat Lover”). But not to worry, since the 17 other tracks are all thumbs up anyway.      

Rating: 3 and 1/2 Guns

Lil’ Miao, Katipunera the EP (Second Story/Tower of Doom). Miao Ramos steps up the plate and represents the mean streets of Katipunan, QC, yo! But seriously though, Miao is definitely one talent worth listening to.

This six-track EP is predominantly full of easy listening, breezy acoustic guitars, head-bobbing beats and Miao’s versatility as a singer, rapper and songwriter. But what makes Miao stand out as a true talent is her realistic views on life.

The lyrics of “Mr. Man,” although nothing really elaborate, works because it speaks of a common theme that hits home: “Dear Mr. Man I hope you/have no idea of who I am/I want you to know how I feel/cause that’s as far as it goes.”  On “More,” Miao asks that “if it ain’t in your heart, then what are you doing that for?” 

On “Fine Line,” Liao confronts someone who she bets is “fluent with exhibiting deficiencies” and tells him off: “try everything else before you go/but first show me where you’re revolution will lead to.”  The EP fittingly ends with “Katipunan,” a gangster-ish ode that speaks of getting drunk, crammed parking lots, Shoppersville and Katips.  Word . . . better get a copy to make kinig to, ok?

One more thing, Goldwyn Morales-Azul, renegade music reviewer par excellence, R.I.P.

As always, you can e-mail Revolver for requests, suggestions and even violent reactions at kid_amnesiac45@ and revolver8827@

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