27 September 2016

We talked to Artists and Fans at the Urban Jam 2016 about Hip hop Music and Culture

It was a rainy day last August 27, but people were not deterred to show up at Bridgetowne Open Grounds, Quezon City for Urban Jam 2016. From rap aficionados, graffiti writers, to hip hop dancers, the place was filled with positive energy that winds and raindrops can't repel. With the music performances headed by Mobb Deep and Skratch Bastid, and flanked by local acts headed by BLKD, Batas, Anygma, and Loonie, everybody was definitely hyped. They were all down to bump their heads to banging beats and sick rhymes. Every artist definitely brought it, from young cats; Tatz and Tweng, to veterans like Dash and Kemikal Ali.

Here are some photos from the event, plus a quick interview with some of the hip hop heads in attendance to provide you a better view of what went down. You will also have some insights on what it is to be hip hop, and the outlook that they have for our scene.

"When I went to (play) other music, they were like, "we want some more hip hop" which was really cool. I like that. True hip hop fans." 
- Skratch Bastid

Interview by David Villania III and photos by Tristan Tamayo

1. What can you say about the crowd at Urban Jam?

Protege, Emcee & Producer

I think it was a pretty diverse hip hop crowd. You had the old school heads, the newer younger generation, the hard-core supporters of the local scene, the fans of the international acts, and also some non-hip hop people, seeing them all for the first time.

Skratch Bastid, DJ

Well the crowd at Urban Jam is a very hip hop crowd. It was really cool to come here and play new hip hop, old school hip hop, classic hip hop, everything. When I went to (play) other music, they were like, "we want some more hip hop!" which was really cool. I like that. True hip hop fans.

Sloj, Producer

I thought it was dope that there were a lot of familiar heads that night, but I also wished there were more of them. Also enjoyed watching break crews and their cyphers. It was great that people were still into the show despite the bad weather.

Dash, Emcee & Producer

Fun, everyone had a great time and loving every minute of it to last drop, despite the weather and all. Classic moment.

Batas, Emcee

Well, they were very interactive regardless of the rain, it didn't bother them to watch and listen in front of the stage. It was a good crowd.

Kemikal Ali, Emcee

The Urban Jam crowd had a majority of the real heads. The rain didn't stop them at all.

Umph, Producer

I saw some real hip hop heads in the crowd, from old school to new.

Skratch Bastid

Goriong Talas, Batas, & Sayadd (Illustrado) 


2. What is the first song that got you into hip hop?
Anygma, Emcee
I can't say that just one song got me into hiphop but one of the earlier actual rap songs that I can remember was "Lodi Dodi" by Snoop. I was probably 9 or 10 years old and the storytelling really got me, partly too 'cos it was very explicit. haha!

Joshua Cesario, Graphic Artist
"Ilibing ng Buhay" by Death Threat.

Havoc, Emcee
For me, I think it was Kurtis Blow with his song, "Basketball".

Cedric Cordero, Videographer

Foreign track: "My Adidas" by Run DMC, local track: "Mga Kababayan" by Francis M.

Meow, Emcee & Graffiti Artist

I remember my father always made me sing "Humanap ka ng Panget" by Andrew E when I was a kid, but I can't say that I got into hip hop because of that. There wasn't really a specific song but some of the first hip hop albums that my cousin and I listened to were from Bone Thugs, Death Threat, Sun Valley Crew and Urban Flow.

Mon Punzalan, DJ
I grew up in Novaliches, mobile sound systems were popular that time. "Paid in Full" by Eric B and Rakim, that was the most popular song back then.

Tatz, Emcee & Producer
The first song, I think (is) "If I Rule the World" by Nas. That's also the first beat that I wrote to.

Havoc & Prodigy (Mobb Deep)

3. What is your fondest memory as a hip hop artist? 

Prodigy, Emcee
When we did that song with Rakim. That was crazy doing a song with Ra.

Kemikal Ali
Fondest memory was me spittin' in front of Andrew E at the parking lot of Greenhills Sound Studios. I think that was 1994 or early 95. I couldn't come up with a demo tape so I went at it.

Skratch Bastid
It's probably building a friendship with DJ Jazzy Jeff. It's not really one memory in particular, but he's my idol, my hero. And now he's my friend and we work on stuff together. It's more of a life direction, and I'm very happy about that because he's an amazing person and I think, together we're doing some really fun stuff for DJ.

Fondest memory is when we first performed at Boom Boom in Pasay in 1993 with Masta Plann, Death Threat and our mentor and producer Boom! That was our first ever big debut as Legit Misfitz. And then there was 2008 First Asian Hip Hop fest with the BeatMathics and (we) performed in front of 50,000 people when we opened up for Nas. We did our set and killed it, ended it with Pambansang Kamao, no doubt!

Man, I really hate these questions 'cos it requires me to rank things. But off the top at the moment, maybe not exactly my fondest, more like one of my proudest moments, was actually making it to Toronto for World Domination 4 despite the insane flooding, being fucked over by the embassy 'cos they just didn't open my application despite it being submitted 9 weeks prior, me breaking down, trying every possible and potentially illegal way to convince them to grant me my visa. Having slept only like 15 hours in 5 days, not sleeping on the entire 22+ hour flight, (and) arriving a day late for the 2-day event, being picked up by the homies, getting to the venue straight from the airport, and battled on stage in like 15 minutes upon arriving. I feel like it was one of my better showings as well. But yeah, everything about that trip, it was really crazy, I can probably tell it better in person and with more self incriminating details too. haha!

I miss the times when you would really have to search for hip hop. Everything is on the Internet now. Back then I keep switching from one music video channel to another just to see if they would be playing hip hop. Aside from Channel V and MTV, there was Channel O, which I think was an African network that played a lot of rap, from Ghostface to Dizzee Rascal. I went to every record bar I could find to search for tapes and CDs. If I wanted to check out an artist's album, I couldn't just download the whole thing or listen to it on Youtube or Spotify,  I would have to search Limewire or Kazaa, then download whatever song is available.

One of my fondest memories in hip hop is going gold for the first time. One of our albums going gold, that was pretty dope.

This right now, Urban Jam. My first real, real, real hip hop performance.



DJ Teaze


4. What do you want to happen to the hip hop culture in the Philippines?

I personally would like to see our hip hop culture and its artists gain more international audience. People need to know what we do out here, and the history runs deep. At the same time, we have emcees who rap in English that non-Filipinos worldwide should listen to, as well as some of the best musicians, producers, and DJs.

I would want more original sounds to come out of the scene.  Like stuff that doesn't sound like it has a peg.

Joshua Cesario
On the real though, more money to circulate in the scene, so that the artists can get paid right. Even the people behind the scene: organizers, graphic designers, video directors, etc. So that there's a budget to play around with, to execute ideas and concepts.

That there will be more heads who understand what's going on.

I want it to grow bigger and bigger. I hope the quality evolves and evolves.

Kemikal Ali
I wanted it to blow up (like) back then. Now I just want the true hardworking individuals to get what they deserve. Get respected, be supportive of each other and get paid. That's, get paid right.

Cedric Cordero
I want it grow more even-though it is already happening,. More critical listeners. More tastemakers. Less cheapskates and fakers.

More foreign acts, more big events/hip hop festivals with all the hip hop elements present.

Music festivals like Urban Jam are a boost to a local music scene. There is nothing like watching international acts perform live and, if you're lucky, interact with them even just for a bit. Come April next year, better not miss out because the organizers are gearing up for Urban Jam 2017. Philippine hip hop stand up! 





DJ Buddah


DJ Kimozave



Support Hip hop Music and Culture. <3

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