Rap lives on in Loonie
Jennifer Ong (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - He is not your average rapper. His messages ring in deep. And his honesty is — in his own words — brutal. Of all the things he is and will be known for, Loonie stands out as an artist on a serious mission — giving the Philippine rap scene a respectable future, one his late mentor, FrancisM, would approve of.

 As one of the few rappers who had the great pleasure and honor of collaborating with the late FrancisM, Loonie now starts a new chapter in his life, releasing a much-anticipated debut album that was three years in the making. And crazy as it may sound, this man has chosen to make it available to everyone for free.

The name Loonie stands for Lyrically One of the Nation’s Illest Emcees. He was pretty much a word whiz growing up, having had a father who encouraged book reading, spelling bees, crossword puzzles and scrabble. Loonie embraced them all and before he knew it, he could form verses. And when he did, he turned to rap.

While Alanis Morisette’s lyrics haunted his head, it was Naughty By Nature, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Coolio and Eminem that really got him into rap music. Of his own works, he says, “I don’t really force it. Maybe it’s because I write about everyday stuff and reality. Every song is penned with brutal honesty and almost all of them are inspired by actual events that happened in my life. So by listening to my album, you get to know me a little and I bet there are at least a million people out there who share the same stories that I tell.”

In Loonie’s debut album, there is indeed, a lot of raw honesty with diverse messages that gets into your head and even tugs your heart a bit. But among Loonie’s tracks, the most special are those dedicated to his idol, FrancisM.

FrancisM was more than an inspiration for Loonie. He was actually the reason that he got this far. As Loonie recalls, “We reached Eat, Bulaga!’s Rappublic of the Philippines grand finals but failed to bag the grand prize. So the first reaction I had when I read his text was half-excitement, half-doubt. I had to make sure the person texting me who identified himself as Michael Durango really works for FrancisM. So I started texting people, most of them Eat, Bulaga! staff till I got a hold of the floor director that time who was Xtian Encarnacion. He regretfully informed me that he didn’t know a Michael Durango but gave me a hint that FrancisM asked for our numbers from him a few days ago. So without hesitation, I asked for FrancisM’s number to confirm and have a good night’s sleep. It took me almost an hour to compose the first message that I was about to send to the Master Rapper. It was very polite, lots of “po’s” and “opo’s” and “sirs.” Surprisingly, he replied immediately and told me to stop texting that number and yes, he was the one who texted me inviting me for a collaboration and a spot in his Rappublic of the Philippines compilation album.”

After working hard on his debut album for three years, Loonie is finally releasing his debut album. Interestingly, however, he has chosen not to put a price tag on it. “By releasing my album digitally and for free, he says,” I’m hoping to get a subliminal message across to hip-hop fans all over the world as well as to record label executives who take our homegrown talents for granted without understanding the amount of hard work and discipline it takes to create an album.”

On-line, Loonie’s music is certainly expected to reach a broader audience. And with the kind of heart and soul that he’s put into it, it’s no secret that the album is bound to become an on-line hit. And as it does, Loonie knows one thing, “The future of the rap industry is NOW.”

(E-mail the author at ravin.facts@yahoo.com)

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