Before I start, yes musical trends have changed. With the availability of both the internet and social media, many musicians prefer releasing their material online. What more is that, many prefer releasing singles over full albums even if the latter is an extended play format. Nevertheless there are still a handful of artists who prefer releasing full albums and I have to give them credit for that.
And the album reviews still continue!
Let’s get back to the program. Sean Patrick Ramos, more known in Pinoy Hip-Hop as Shanti Dope is one of the most prolific rap artists in The Philippines and recently dropped his latest EP album. Titled Basic, this is Ramos’ third studio album and is under Universal Records Philippines.
A review of the tracks
Shanti Dope’s third EP album has a total of 5 tracks of pure hip-hop music. Just like his previous studio albums, Ramos kept the same formula of smooth vocal flow plus his trademark spoken word theme and lyrics.
He also kept his diverse music styles such as going chill / lofi in the track, “Tabi” featuring Daarth, to the “trap” like sound of Loaded which also featured fellow rap artist, Hellmerry.
“Sabog na sabog sa ngiti pag tatawa ka ganto pala kapag sayo tumama”
Shanti Dope – Tabi
Shanti Dope’s third album, still provided a decent listening pleasure. But unfortunately, is not as classic or breathtaking as his previous 2017 release, Materyal. I more felt Materyal as it was more presentable and tracks in this album are some of the most iconic in Pinoy Hip-hop.
As with Basic, my personal favorite track is still “Basic” as I highly appreciate his lyrical flow and the supporting beat went hard.
Overall, Basic still worth checking out and is still a good album coming one of the most versatile Pinoy Hip-Hop lyricists.
Decent listening pleasure
Album lack the classic feel compared to his previous release.
One of the most prolific MCs in Pinoy Hip-Hop and a member of BB Clan, Kemikal Ali teams up with DJ Arbie Won aka. The Beat Traveller and produced this classic collaboration album.
Bukas Uulan ng Mga Bara (BUNMB) was released back in 2018 under Uprising Records, Philippines.
A review of the tracks
Bukas Uulan ng Mga Bara has 15 tracks of pure Pinoy Hip-Hop!
“Raffy Entrada” – This introductory track showcases DJ Arbie Won’s turntable skills and sampling some of Kemikal Ali’s iconic tracks. The track continues with Kemikal Ali introducing the listener to the album.
“Pwersa” – The first full rap track in BUNMB. This grimy sounding track starts with sampling KRS-One’s vocals in the track, “Mad Crew” and proceeds with Kemikal Ali expressing the issue of people with influence “can get away with murder”.
“OTW Na” – The third track in this album has Kemikal Ali express being on his way to a DJ / MC session and elevate himself and Pinoy Hip-Hop as a whole. And being late is not an option.
“Hari Ng Dada” – The fourth track where Kemikal Ali deals with several issues from dirty politicians and dirty media to the so-called “Padrino System”. This is supported by a “rapid style” beat produced by DJ Arbie Won and is fused with Indian elements.
“Wag Kang Iyakin” – A diss track towards a specific dirty and corrupted politician or any other person with such nature.
“Panalo Bigayan” – Kemikal Ali collaborates with fellow Circulo Pugantes / Chinese Mafia member Klutch B. in this hard pounding, politically themed track.
“Rekta Sa Kalye” – This “spoken-word” track has trap music fused with Pinoy Hip-Hop. And trap music here is taken in the next level supported by Kemikal Ali’s strong punch-lines.
“Palong Palo” – The eighth track in this album. A “spoken-word” track aimed at a specific person.
“Eskoba” – This relaxing track makes you feel drunk.
“Mister Lamon” – A politically themed diss track aimed at dirty and corrupt politicians.
“Lumang Dialekto” – This is my favorite track in the entire album and arguably, Kemikal Ali’s strongest. A “spoken-word” track where he showcases his lyrical ability supported with beats and scratches by DJ Arbie Won.
“Bolo Brigade” – A “posse-cut” track featuring Apoc, K-Jah, BLKD, Sayadd, Emar Industriya and LA based Fil-Am MC, Bambu.
“Mr. Chairman” – This intense diss track is aimed at corrupt politicians notably those in The Lower House. The track ends with scratch effects of President Duterte talking profanity.
“Sino Ba Sa Inyo” – A collabo track with Jaime Labrado aka. O.W.P.O. of Madd Poets.
“F na F” – The album completes with this hardcore “spoken-word” track featuring Anak Ni Bakuko.
“Mahalaga parin kumilos kapatid; Pag dating sa dulo may magandang kapalit”
Kemikal Ali – OTW Na
Kemikal Ali’s lyrical mastery, combined with DJ Arbie Won’s turntable skills and beatmaking supremacy made BUNMBthe definitely Pinoy Hip-Hop album!
Seriously this is one of the best Pinoy Hip-Hop albums EVER if not the best. And there are times that I even rank this over Francis M.’s iconic album, Rap is Francism which to me has been my no.1 Pinoy Hip-Hop album ever since its release.
I really enjoyed listening to Kemikal Ali’s lyrics and punch-lines and he delivered them very well. And DJ Arbie Won’s production matched Ali’s flow.
My top 3 favorites are “Lumang Dialekto”, “F Na F” and “OTW Na”. Though I liked every track in this album and are iconic in its own right.
Though I found a few disappointments in this album such the skit at the beginning of “Panalo Bigayan” featuring Klutch B.. Some listeners prefer skipping this skit and forward straight to the track. Another is “Bolo Brigade” and while I really like the collaboration, the beat for this track was fine but unfortunately, did not match some of the flows of its guest artists. Though ironically, Bambu being a special feature for this track had the most number of profanity in its lyrics while Kemikal Ali himself expressed little if not, no profanity.
“Mr. Chairman” was also one of the most powerful tracks in this album and could have been longer. And this is the one track where Kemikal Ali expressed his strongest delivery.
But overall, BUNMB is still a Pinoy Hip-Hop masterpiece and well deserves getting the highest score!
The entire album got Kemikal Ali delivering some of the hardest punch-lines in Pinoy Hip-Hop
Some of the hardest beats produced by DJ Arbie Won
Again, strong lyrics, flow and delivery
A true Pinoy Hip-Hop masterpiece
Some track listing on the CD version does not match
“Mr. Chairman” could have been longer
The skit before “Panalo Bigayan” is somewhat lengthly. My personal opinion is that, it would be better if it was a separate
Released back in 2019 under Locked Down Entertainment, Fatigue is the second studio album coming from the hip-hop fusion band, Assembly Generals.
The group is composed of MCs, Swtichtrik and Peaceful Gemini, Plus Jigger Divina on the turntables, Ray Marasigan on drums and is produced by Mon Punzalan.
A review of the tracks
There are a total of twelve tracks in Fatigue with seven tracks of full abstract hip-hop music, one “fusion music” while the rest are composed of interludes.
The album starts with “Taro-San”, which is more a live announcement recording and then shifts to “Kulog”, a socially conscious track that was created to “wake up” people who remain ignorant from the various problems and issues facing human kind.
But again, most if not all tracks in this album are socially conscious and are spreading awareness on the problems and various issues related to society.
Take the English language track, “Roulette” for example. It deals with people choosing the wrong paths in life, the fatal consequence they face in making such choice and ultimately, us being the reason for their demise. Another is the upbeat sounding track, “Ligaw” which is my favorite track in the entire album. In “Ligaw”, the group questions the listener why society is stuck in that “circle” and preventing from moving “forward” for betterment.
“Naiwan sa kahapon at hindi na umabante; umaasa sa wala panay reklamo ng maarte”
Assembly Generals – Kulog
Assembly Generals’ second studio album did its part in waking up listeners on the problems of society and encourages them to take action.
Personally, I find Fatigue as a listening experience as it makes you think on the current situation not only The Philippines but the entire planet and make a decision on whether you choose to do something about it or not. Assembly Generals delivered their message as through their socially conscious tracks and is supported by strong beats and production.
Such music is among those contributing to the rise of the so-called “woke culture” especially with today’s generation. But it is still up to the person who agree with the album’s message, disagree with it or continue to remain blind on what is happening around us. Though honestly, the people who choose the latter have nothing to loose as there are people out there who both mind and continue their own business and not be affected with the issues dealt in this album.
While Assembly Generals are questioning the listener, I have a question for the group and is more what they want to happen with society and our future?
Certainly we do not live in a perfect society and even with strong conscious message and spreading awareness, as I said earlier that people still have the choice to doubt and disagree.
Another criticism I find with this album is in the track, “Roulette”. This is arguably the most powerful track in Fatigue especially when it comes to the theme and subject matter. And while the group conveyed their message well, I still think that flow and delivery for this track needs some refinement. I”m not going to be biased with language though I still think that if the lyrics were done in Tagalog, the track would possibly reach a wider audience, Philippine-wise. Though using English is fine as well and as with the said language, I will compare with Mastaplann’s “Fix Da World Up” which is also a socially conscious track though its subject matter is not as deep as “Roulette”. Both Tracer and Type had a decent flow in “Fix Da World Up”. Switchtrik’s flow in “Roulette” can still improve and create an updated version.
Overall, Fatigue is an album that is worth listening to and is among taking Pinoy Hip-Hop music to the next level.
The theme of the album which is about social awareness on the issues concerning society
The lyrics, rhyme and flow for the track, “Hands Off” needs some refining.
After a decade of hiatus, Kawago one of the most popular Pinoy Rap groups reunited and released their 2018 third studio album and first extended play, Kawago Reunited 2.0.
The group is still composed of its original members, Zhatto, Duff Uno and Sneaky and while they are older and more matured, their style of music has remained the same.
But it’s great that Kawago has reunited and I appreciate that they made the effort of releasing new material.
A review of the tracks
As this is an EP album, Kawago Reunited 2.0 is only composed of seven tracks.
The majority of the tracks have the usual novelty theme mainly dealing with romance, dating and expression of love, so I will not break it down individually unlike some of the albums I’ve reviewed in this site.
“Mapapatawad pa ba mahal kong sinta; Hindi ko na kayang ikaw ay wala”
Kawago – Patawarin Mo
Kawago’s third studio album still provided some pleasant listening despite its masa / novelty theme. And their music is a bit evolved unlike their previous albums.
Honestly, I more enjoyed listening through the latter part of the album starting with the remake of “Kailanman” as overall, they are a bit more refined compared to the first three tracks. I somewhat enjoyed listening to “Kailanman” as I really appreciate the original Japanese track, “Saigo no Iiwake (最後の言い訳)” by Hideaki Tokunaga and covered by numerous Pinoy Pop artists such as Ted Ito as with the track, “Ikaw Pa Rin”.
And with Kawago, they sampled this track and fused rap music with it.
Other than that, I cannot find any more significance with this album.
Most tracks within the entire album have the usual novelty theme.
A Pinoy Hip-Hop collective composed of lyricists, Batas aka. Panginoon and Apoc aka. The Death Architect or Arkitekto. Joining the two is producer, KMG, and DJ Arthug who provides the scratch and mixes.
Under Uprising Records, Teknika Brutal released the extended play collaboration album, Puro EP back in 2020.
A review of the tracks
Puro EP is an eight track extended play album and what an album it is! The album is fronted by both Batas and Apoc, delivering strong lyrical abilities and hard punchlines. Batas’ hard vocals is in great contrast to Apoc’s softness. Their vocals are supported by the hard, grimy beats produced by KMG and scratching from DJ Arthug.
Every track goes hard from the grimy intro to various tracks of the same style such as “Dapat Patunayan” or “Maling Akala”, the latter being my favorite for this album. In contrast, tracks such as “Labi” has a more “upbeat” feel compared to the rest.
Other tracks such as “Sabi Daw Nila” is a showcase for Pinoy Hip-Hop where both Apoc and Batas goes on a lyrical exchange and is accompanied by one of the hardest beats produced by KMG. Completing the track is the scratching on the end by DJ Arthug. One can argue you’re going to bang your head throughout the entire length of this track.
You got every element represented here to produce a raw hip-hop album!
“Ang salita kutsilyong nakakahiwa nag dedepende ang hapde sa talas ng dila”
Teknika Brutal – Maling Akala
With Puro EP, Teknika Brutal delivered a raw and hard hip-hop sound, defining what Pinoy Hip-Hop should be. I like the lyrical exchange between Batas and Apoc plus the beats in this album are “strong” ranging from hard to melodic. What more the numerous turntable scratches in many of its tracks.
The only drawback that I found with this album is through the track, “Labi”, honestly the woman’s background vocals tends to be a bit distracting especially when you want to listen to the verses itself.
But still, Puro EP remains to be one of my favorite Pinoy Hip-Hop albums! And this is not only one of the best albums produced by UPRISING but also one of the best albums ever in Pinoy Hip-Hop.
Strong lyrical flow and delivery
Mixture of hard to melodic beats
Loads of scratches
The woman’s vocals is somewhat distracting in the track, “Labi”
The second studio album released by the hip-hop duo, Stick Figgas. Both Loonie and Ron Henley are still present, but are joined by musicians of different genres such as singer, Kat Kat Agarrado of both Passage and SinoSiKat, Tuts Calinawan on bass guitar and many others.
As with the addition of new members, the group evolved from pure hip-hop to a more full fledged “fusion” band.
On the personal side, reviewing this album will be somewhat of a challenge as I have been used to the usual “hip-hop” albums and this one will be different as the entire tracklist is heavy on live instrumentals, something that I’m not that familiar with.
A review of the tracks
Realistick has a total of nine tracks of hip-hop fusion. The entire album contain live instrumentals, providing the background music for both Loonie and Ron Henley. Here’s a breakdown,
“4:19”: The introductory track and this one is all instrumental, introducing listeners to the group’s latest style of music which is more fusion.
“Lamanloob”: A “spoken word” track dealing with the will of self-action, thought and decisions. And both the risk and consequences of such.
“Mukha Ng Pera”: An interesting track about the usual subject of money being the root of all evil plus social status.
“Ubasan”: Another “spoken word” track with a romantic theme. Also one of the most known track in this album as I often hear this every time in Wave 89.1 FM’s The Flow.
“Parisukat”: This is my favorite track in the album especially the melodic feel of the music plus its “spoken word” theme and lyrics.
“Hiram”: A “spoken word” track dealing with life and the decisions people choose while living.
“Bara Bara”: More a “freestyle track” of self expression accompanied by a live band of the group’s additional members.
“Sinungaling”: A “spoken word” track about credibility, trust and lies committed by people and society.
“Nandito Lang Ako”: The final track and also a remix of the same track in their previous 2007 album, Critical Condition. It contains the “knight in shining armor” theme with a twisted plot.
“Di na pwede yung tulad ng dating puro na lang oo; Uulitin lang kung ano itinuro parang loro”
Stick Figgas – Lamanloob
Pinoy Hip-Hop heads will have mixed reactions with both Stick Figgas’ second studio album and its evolution to a fusion band. Some accept the change while others still prefer the usual hip-hop music with beats containing samples of various tracks.
Honestly, I still find it a welcoming development that despite the presence of live instruments, the hip-hop element is still there. Both MCs, Loonie and Ron Henley still expressed strong lyrics, thought and subject matter.
Overall, Realistick delivered and is an example of how various genres are fused to create some good music.
Strong lyrical flow and delivery
Retaining the “hip-hop” element despite the use of live instruments.
For those who can’t accept such fusion, many look at this album as more rock oriented than hip-hop.
The first album review under HIPHOP.PH! Man From Tundo is the second studio album from Third Flo’, released 2021 under 727 Entertainment.
This is coming from the rap artist that brought us the iconic hood track, “Territoryo” in which he raps about life and the people of his gritty Manila neighborhood, Tondo. But with his second album, Third Flo’ brought in a more “trap” style combined with some lo-fi elements. Many tracks in this album tend to have a relaxed sounding vibe despite the intense lyrics of the artist.
A review of the tracks
Third Flo’s second studio album has a total of 11 track of pure Pinoy Rap music.
As with Man From Tundo, Third Flo’ expresses his dedication and passion for rap music plus his purpose of being a rap artist as with his first two tracks, “Basta Rap” and “Para sa Wala Lang”. He also express his lyrical skills over number of bars with the track, “MFT 16bars”, and gratitude with “Blessed” featuring The 727 Clique.
In addition, Third Flo’ expresses stories of hood life both his personal experience and that of others in tracks such as “Still Mobbin'”, “Naka Mio”, and “Kumakayod”. And goes to lyrical expression, bars or spoken-word with the tracks, “DMDK”, “Say Hello”, and “Alam Mo Na”, featuring collaborations with Pinoy Rap artists and groups such as Josh Papers and Tondo Boyz.
The album ends with “FTW”, expressing his willingness to “wiiiin” the rap game.
Third Flo’s lyrical skills won his second album, a 4/5!
He expressed strong rhymes, flow and delivery, but also many of his tracks are short usually around 2-3 minutes and his lyrics / verses can become too repetitive, mainly at the beginning of the track and the chorus. And while I understand that such is common in trap music, Third Flo’ could have expressed less repetition just like how Kemikal Ali expressed a wide variety of verses with his trap track, “Rekta Sa Kalye” and delivered it very well, limiting such repetition on the chorus.
Honestly from a personal perspective, Third Flo, is better off exploring the style that he used for “Territoryo” or “Bomba” which to me are his two most powerful tracks. The closest of such style in this album is, “Still Mobbin'”.
As for the beats, they are mainly trap style though some tracks with have a slightly grimy feel to it such as “DMDK” or “Naku Mio” for example.
Overall, Third Flo still delivered a good album and it is worth checking out.