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
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
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
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@
hotmail.com and revolver8827@ yahoo.com.