The New Sound of Pinoy Hip Hop and R&B
Ear candy you will want to put on loop all week
What can we learn by listening to local artists today?
One is that in the afternoon, there’s not much James Reid wants to do except you. Nadine Lustre meanwhile, as the peanut butter to James Reid’s jelly, implores you to “st4y up” with her and think of all the things that you could be. Another takeaway is that there are some very familiar names still in the game: a Barretto here, a Valenciano there. They’re members of well-known artista clans who have seemingly made Philippine entertainment a family affair. These artistas often have a triple threat career carved out for them by their management. You will try your luck at a noontime concert performance. You will lend your vocals to the Christmas station ID. If all that goes well, you will eventually release a single. (Don’t worry, may auto-tune naman eh.)
We aren’t here to undercut the God-given talents of those currently in show business. But therein lies the point: it is a business fixated on putting on a show. And that’s the driving force from start to finish. As far as the local music scene is concerned, it seems this “business as usual” format just isn’t working anymore. It’s a format that’s way past its expiration date. Artists here aren’t unaware; they know it’s a stale system being pedaled to the masses as something new and exciting. But they themselves know it: there has got to be something more than ballads, covers of soap opera theme songs and teeny bopper anthems.
For one, Jadine, the aforementioned quintessential love team is clearly done with the cookie-cutter, vanilla love team image. While they’ve drawn flack for going off-book, they’ve also gained a lot of respect for pursuing a more sincere take on something the two are very passionate about: music.
See, sincere is good. Sincere, at this point, is different. Sincere does a better job at utilizing inspiration than a manufactured brand motivated to imitate for the sake of raking in big bucks. James Reid isn’t trying to be the Justin Bieber of the Philippines; the guy really just has an affinity for Hip Hop and R&B…as so many others do actually. Jess Connelly isn’t putting on a front trying her hand at the genre. Neither are crwn, Karencitta, NINNO, down to Claudia Barretto who made sure she veered away from the mainstream sell-what-sells template. Her unique sound is even up to par with international artists.
Once exclusive to a small pool of artists (the likes of Kyla, Nina, South Border and Gloc-9), the further exploration of Hip Hop and R&B in the late 2000’s has paved the way for an entire swarm of fresh local talent that not only came alive, but found a way to thrive.
See? Sincere works. Managing to stay sincere and authentic is a legitimate measure of success. Sincere makes it all worth the listen.
Art Sid Ramos