(written and reviewed back in 3/25/1998 under FLIP-HOP ONLINE)
Title: Rap Is Francism
Artist: Francis Magalona
Label: Octoarts Records
Rap is Francism was the second album released by the “Master Rapper”, Francis Magalona. It was released in 1992 under Octoarts Records. In my own point of view, this is his best album and the best Pinoy Rap album ever created. All of the tracks in this album were classics from the drug addiction subject of “Mga Praning” to the political approach of “Halalan”. The production was superb and also had the support of some of the biggest names in Pinoy Hip-hop like DJ. Master of Disaster (M.O.D.) who produced this album and would later join Mastaplann and the break/street dancing crew, Spindicate Posse. This is one of those albums that you would want to listen again and again. If I was the editor of The Source Magazine, I give this album five mics but right now in pinoyrap.com, this deserves the “RED” blaster.
A review of the tracks
There were a total of ten tracks in Rap is Francism. Eight are rap tracks and two are melodic soul. The tracks are both rapped in English and Tagalog. Here’s my info and opinion on the tracks,
- “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” (Us Pinoys): This track is a rap version of Heber Bartolome’s hit track. Francis M. raps about being proud to be a Filipino in heart, mind and soul despite all the negative statements and criticisms that people say.
- “Halalan” (Election): This track deals with life and situations during an election in The Philippines. The Philippines is a republic country in Asia with a democratic form of government similar to that in the United States. People can vote for their chosen candidate whether he/she is running for president, vice-president, senator, congressman, etc. Situations can be peaceful or can be tense during election period and sometimes violence can occur whether they may be with ordinary civilian or with rival political groups. These are some of the subject matters that Francis M. raps about in this track. Also note that Francis’ raps about positive hopes during election and the winning candidate. Last, an interesting part in this track is the chorus which has an “Ati-Atihan” fiesta feel.
- “Mga Praning” (The Addicts): Drug addiction has been one of the major problems that affects the Filipino society. The most widely used drug in The Philippines besides marijuana is crystal methamphetamine or known in the streets as shabu. In this track, Francis M. rapped about the drug and it’s negative effects on the human body. He also rapped a fictional story about seven common individuals and how their lives were negatively affected by the use of crystal methamphetamine. The track had a tense feeling to it with hard and lively beats, fast delivery and flow of the lyrics and a serious subject matter. But the track also has a catchy chorus and little bit of sampling by the group, Public Enemy. “Mga Praning” is the perfect example of a Pinoy Rap classic.
- “Hangga’t Yakap” (Until I hug): I like how this track was listed, right after “Mga Praning”. This track gives a laid-back, melodic feel after listening to “Mga Praning’s” intese delivery. This is actually a soul track with some rap parts in it. The beat makes you relax and the rhythmic flow was smooth. Here, Francis M. sings and raps about his feeling to a certain woman.
- “Wack”: This is an English freestyle like track but it’s one of Francis M’s best. In “Wack”, Francis Magalona prooves why he is called “The Master Rapper” or “The King Of Pinoy Rap.” Here, he shows his lyrical skills and flow to the max. The track starts with a powerful phrase, “Once again I’m about to anahilate! Creating chaos, as I assasinate.” Now, would you want to be an MC after listening to this? This track is also sort of like an introduction to another powerful track.
- “Man from Manila”: This track is a perfect example of Francis M.’s lyrical flow in both English and Tagalog. Here, he represents Manila, rapped about his life and wants to tell the world of his and the Filipino’s pride of city and country. The beat had a guitar feel and featured the first DMC Philippines mixing champion, DJ. Master of Disaster (M.O.D). This is also truly a classic track.
- “Biktima ng Karahasan”: Another serious subject matter. Manila is arguebly the most dangerous city in Asia if not, the world. Crime happens everywhere and anyone can be a victim. Francis M. raps about these issues through different stories of individuals who end up as victims. Both lyrics and beat are intense with a little bit of guitar feel. In the background music, you can hear something like a machine gun feel to it which backs up Francis’s intense lyrics.
- “Touch”: Another smooth and laid-back soul track which takes a break from the serious subject matter of the previous track. One thing I like about this track is the beats that even has a violin playing in the background. This track is all about Francis M’s expression of love.
- “Our House”: A rap version of the hit song “Our House” sung by the British group Madness. Honestly I like this version better than the original. The track was fast-paced especially the alive beat and fast lyrical delivery.
- “Yo! To Yahweh”: The final track to this album. What a way to end the album with Francis M. give props to God. In this track, he raps about his dedication to Jesus, and how his life was changed from his turbulent past.
“Once again I’m about to annihilate! / Creating chaos as I assasinate.”Francis M – Wack
“It makes you cry because you can’t beat me / because I’m the epitome of the ARC/ H-I-P-E-L-A-G-O so F-I-L-I-P-I-N-O.”Francis M – Wack
“Mindanao, Visayas at Luzon / I’m ready to defend three stars and a sun.”Francis M – Man From Manila
All in all, Rap Is Francism is the best album ever created in pinoy rap music. The tracks in this album are truly classics. This is one album worth buying and keeping. The album is the ultimate pinoy rap masterpiece and will still keep it’s importance for generations to come!
- Excellent production, tracks and layout
- Serious lyrics and subject matter
- Powerful lyrical delivery
- Classic tracks
- Strong message of culture and nationalism
- Repeated verse notably in “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy”
Favorite track: “Mga Praning”
Least favorite track: “Touch”
Overall Review: 5/5 !