If you are a child of the 80s and early 90s I’m sure you know who and what I’m talking about. The Master Rapper, The King of Pinoy Rap, FrancisM! Back in the day (I’m not that old, by the way), when you say rap here in the Philippines, the only thing that comes to mind is FrancisM. He steered the genre from the shadows behind the big red curtains, from limelight or underground to mainstream. After that, the rest of Filipino rap and culture was history.
I wasn’t really a hardcore rap fan in particular that time. I was still in grade school when I first heard his music. I just liked the songs, the beat, the rhyme, and eventually as I got older, the meaningful messages behind it. You just have to sing it over and over, and even imitate him. We embraced it, along with Voltes V, Bioman and the like. I remember there was a time when we always sang “Mga Kababayan Ko”and Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” in our school bus on the way home. You are an outcast if you don’t know the lyrics, it’s like you are “not in”. Then those who know it will just sing and rap it to your face and before you can speak they’ll just say “Ah wala wala wala!” He was part of the culture and even influence the way we grew up. Every kid wants to have baggy pants, vest and a flat top hairdo. Before the ever popular lingering “Grant Hill drinks Sprite? Grant Hill drinks Sprite” commercial, There was “Ito ang gusto ko, RTO Royal Tru Orange! Ito ang gusto ko!”
For the youngsters here is the FrancisM of our time. Ah! To the carefree days of our boyhood and the visions of our youth, as our hymn says. This is from his 90s Royal Tru Orange commercial. I selected this since you don’t get to see this that much unlike the other music videos.
MC Hammer and Vanila Ice may be taking over the US, but here it was all The Man from Manila. As I have notice, there are some artists here, cater for specific type of demographic only. They target and maintain a certain fan base, while FrancisM covered it all. “Kung ang iba ay pang mayaman, pang mahirap o salat, si FransicM naman ay para sa lahat.” Yeah! A little rap of my own about his music Haha! I learned a thing or two after all those years.
What makes The Master Rapper standout? For me, it wasn’t only his skill and talent but also the way he thinks outside the box. He is not afraid to do experiments on his craft that helps extend the field for his audience and fans. He involves love for his homeland. He collaborates, creates new things and pushes it to the next level. He provides awareness and consciousness through his music, a modern day nationalist. He has this distinctive charisma. He evolves. This is why lot of artists follow and look up to his style and ideals. This is what makes him unique and impeccable.
Here are couple of rap/poem and message some friends of mine presented in a spur of the moment when I talked about the article to them.
”Yong kamatayan yumanig sa pinas
nung ka’y buhay pa alang isyung pinalagpas
dinaan sa sulat laman ng saloobin
isinalin sa kanta upang lalong mapansin
lahat ng singer ika’y pinupuri
…sa mga rapper laman ng pagmumuni
mga kanta mo’y tumatak sa laman
pagkamakabayan sa bayan ni Juan
wherever you are now we know you’re having fun
legacy you’ve left, Three Stars and a Sun!”
“Respeto sa isang dakilang yumao” – Priceley Usbal
“He’s a living proof for what can happen to a Filipino when he decided to stand strong, some of us swim, some of us drowned in sorrow but Kiko lived to die for the mother land and died to live again tomorrow.” – Mark “Sarmi” Sarmiento
Francis Magalona, a man, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend… He is a Filipino, a poet, an artist, a patriot, a nationalist, a legend… For me and for all those kids who grew up reciting and chanting his songs and admired his works? An inspiration…
A proud Filipino… With the way he loved our country a part of him, I believe, is the Philippines itself.
Sir Francis wherever you are, we thank you… Thank you for making a difference, for making a mark in our history… Thank you for being part of our generation. Thank you for the making our childhood memories colorful… Thank you for your art, your music…
To a legend, icon, and inspiration. To our fellow Bedan. The Master Rapper! FrancisM! I’m raising the flag to you sir… A salute… Tribute… Red… White… Blue… 3 Stars and a Sun… Your song echoes and stays in our hearts… Roars out of our lungs… Your legacy lives on… Every color, every hue, we will represent it for you… Requiescat in pace…
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