Cutting across generational gaps, Def Jam Recordings' Philippine division unites 129 artists for multi-mixtape project, REKOGNIZE
The name Def Jam Recordings should be no stranger to fans of hip-hop. The iconic label, founded in 1994, is renowned globally for its roster of artists. From Slick Rick, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy to Jay Z, Kanye West and the late DMX, Def Jam represents the greats and legends of hip-hop. For many aspiring artists, this record label is the dream.
This dream inched ever closer for up-and-coming Filipino talents when Def Jam landed on Philippine shores in 2020. Def Jam Philippines has been keeping a relatively low profile since its launch, but the summer of 2021 brought with it a new beginning, ushering in the dawn of what may become an iconic feat in Pinoy hip-hop history.
A multi-mixtape collaboration, REKOGNIZE All-Stars is rooted in unity and Filipino pride. The year-long project brings together icons and young bloods from the genre. 129 artists, 14 producers and four EPs slated for release throughout 2021.
“Our jobs have never been more meaningful,” shares Enzo Valdez, the Managing Director of MCA Music. He and A&R Senior Manager of Def Jam Philippines, Allan Mitchell “Daddy A” Silonga, have been working with the rest of the Def Jam team to bridge the old school, new school and mid-school of hip-hop. During a press conference in April, they candidly admitted the idea of a unifying project that could cut through generations could be too ambitious. But here they are, four tracks and one EP in.
The first REKOGNIZE EP dropped in April 2021. Entitled Nite N’ Day, it features four lead singles: Beautiful Day, Atin Ang Gabi, Solitaryo and Pusuan Mo.
With one foot in the door, the plans for REKOGNIZE are moving full speed ahead. “One of our big goals is to tour the artists around Southeast Asia,” says Valdez. “As you can see, the unity we’re trying to [create] in the Philippines, we’ll bring it to Southeast Asia.”
IV of Spades founder Daddy A chimes in with plans to mount a live music festival. “If the situation is still the same, we’re gonna make it online. A Grammy Awards-type of show, not the usual thing,” he shares. “We’ll make it special.”
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver