Based in: Metro Manila (Mandaluyong), Antipolo Rizal
Alias: The Mouth, Master Rapper, Kikong Kalyo Kilabot ng Kalentong
Language(s): Tagalog, English
Style(s): Mainstream, Conscious, Spoken Word
Affiliation: Red Egg Records, Spindicate Posse
Francis Durango Magalona, or more known in Pinoy Rap as Francis M. earned the title, The King of Pinoy Rap and a true legend of this genre. He is also known through other nicknames such as “The Mouth”, “The Man from Manila”, “Master Rapper”, and simply, “Kiko”.
The son of Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, both celebrities during The Golden Age of Philippine Cinema, Magalona followed his parents footsteps by getting into acting and was casted in the movie, Bagets 2 back in 1984.
And it was the same year when he discovered hip-hop through breakdancing and became a member of Eclipse Breakers. He performed his moves in various popular television shows in The Philippines including the now defunct, Dance 10.
While breakdancing was losing its popularity after the mid-80s, Magalona shifted to rap music and became the host MC for the now defunct variety television show, Loveliness back in 1987.
But it was until 1990 when Francis Magalona broke ground in The Philippine music industry with his iconic chart-topping hit track, “Mga Kababayan”. Due to its nationalistic theme, the track was well received and became a commercial success. It introduced Pinoy Rap to the masses and became the most recognized track of this genre.
“Mga Kababayan” was the showcase track of his debut album, Yo! released the same year under Octoarts Records. The album was a mixture of rap and pop tracks but nevertheless, it was labeled as a hip-hop album and was the first full-length of its kind in The Philippines. Yo! also included other hit tracks such as “Cold Summer Nights” and “Loving You” which included his wife, Pia Arroyo. She became the first woman in The Philippines to record a rap track.
Magalona earned more commercial success when he released his second album, Rap is Francis M. also under Octoarts Records back in 1992. It was considered by many Pinoy Hip-Hop heads as the greatest Pinoy Rap album ever created. Here, he dealt with various social issues from drug addiction with the track, “Mga Praning” to election drama in “Halalan”. Magalona also displayed his lyrical skills through tracks such as “Wack”, his respect to God in “Yo! To Yahweh” and expressed his sense of nationalism in “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” and “Man From Manila”. Rap is Francism. also included production from some of the most respected DJs / producers of that period such as DJ Master of Disaster and DJ Kimozave. In addition, Magalona’s hip-hop / breakdancing crew, The Spindicate Posse was introduced.
With the Pinoy band explosion of that time, Magalona experimented with fusing rap and rock music. Such was evident upon the release of his third album, Merong Akong Ano! back in 1993. Still under Octoarts Records, the album was supported by DJ Kimozave and the band Kanabiz, later became known as Hardware Syndrome. It contained the chart topping hit track, “Ito Ang Gusto Ko” which became one of Magalona’s most recognized tracks. Due to its positive nature and concern for the greater humanity, the track was well received by the general population. It was so popular that it was used in a Royal Tru Orange commercial and featured Magalona himself.
The music video version of the track was widely played in popular music television channels within the region such as MTV Asia and Channel V.
In addition, Magalona and The Spindicate Posse set a trend in urban fashion by sporting colorful, native motifs in the clothes they wore.
Despite his strong reputation as a Pinoy Rap superstar, Magalona continued acting and was featured in various local action / comedy films such as Ano Ba Yan!, Mama’s Boys, Estribo Gang, Tong-Its and many others.
In addition, he became one of the hosts for the popular noontime variety show, Eat Bulaga and also hosted “The Word Up Show” on the now defunct Danze Music Zone (DZMZ 89.1 FM). He became the first Pinoy VJ on MTV Asia, hosting some of its popular shows such as “Life’s a Beach”.
Magalona focused much of his music to rock and at the same time, established both connections and friendships with some of the most popular rock bands in The Philippines notably, The Eraserheads. The band featured him as the guest rapper in the track, “Super Proxy”. His fourth album, Freeman established himself as a legitimate artist in the rock genre. Released in 1996 under Sony BMG, the album contained some of his most recognized tracks such as “Three Stars and a Sun” and “Kabataan Para sa Kinabukasan”. But the most known track in the entire album was “Kaleidoscope World” which was well received by both his fans and the masses. It became one of Magalona’s most recognized tracks and won several awards including “Song of The Year” during the 1996 NU 107 Rock Awards.
A sequel was released back in 2001 and contained hit tracks such as “Watawat” which Magalona gave recognition to The Philippine Flag. It became his 8th studio album.
Following the success of Freeman, Magalona explored the many different genres of popular music as in his fifth studio album, Happy Battle. Released back in 1997 also under Sony BMG and with the support of various bands and musicians such as Hardware Syndrome, The Evil Stepsisters, Ely Buendia of The Eraserheads, Planet Garapata and many others, the album contained a great diversity of tracks from hardcore hip-hop to the many varieties of rock music. Traditional Filipino “Kundiman” music was also fused with rap music as with the nationalistic, historical and self conscious track, “1-800-Ninty-Six”. The title itself was based on the year The Philippines gained its independence from Spain.
After years of making rock music, Magalona went back to his hip-hop roots and a year later, released his sixth studio album, The Oddventures of Mr. Cool with support from various pop and r&b groups such as Evil Stepsisters and Absence of Color. Unlike the diversity of musical genres of Happy Battle, this album contained chill-out rap tracks mixed with rhythm & blues. It also included the hit track, “Whole Lotta Lovin’” which sampled Eraserheads’ popular track, “Alapaap”.
The following year, he released his seventh studio, Interscholastic which was more a parody of popular American tracks in tradition to satirist musician, “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Magalona also worked in several independent projects. He became a legitimate producer when he formed the independent music production group, Red Egg Records back in 1998. One of the group’s first project was producing Mastaplann’s third album, Mastaplann.com.
In addition, he formed Filipino Pictures Inc., a film production group which both produced and directed music videos for various Pinoy Rap artists / groups and local rock bands.
While being a co-host in the popular noontime variety show Eat Bulaga, Magalona organized Rappublic Of The Philippines, a Pinoy Rap competition for new acts back in 2003. Some of the finalists include the group, Stick Figgas which later on signed under his Red Egg label.
Other than music and cinema, he was an avid photographer and was a member of Camera Club of The Philippines.
Magalona also ventured in his own urban apparel brand, Francis M. Clothing Company with its distinctive silhouette image of his upper body posing with a mic on his right hand and a victory sign on his raised left arm. In the image is the distinctive 3 stars and the sun symbol of The Philippine Flag.
Sadly, Francis M. passed away back in 2009 due to multi-organ failure as he was suffering from a blood related disease. Nevertheless, his contribution to Pinoy Hip-Hop is very significant and that his legacy still lives on.
- Yo! (1990)
- Rap is Francism (1992)
- Meron Akong Ano! (1993)
- Freeman (1996)
- Happy Battle (1997)
- The Oddventures of Mr. Cool (1998)
- Interscholastic (1999)
- Freeman 2 (2001)