Filipino-Canadian rapper holds his own awards ceremony for the first time

The Filipino-Canadian rap artist will celebrate at the first awards ceremony to be held this weekend.

The first FilCan Music Rap Awards is a virtual event that will be held on June 12th on Philippine Independence Day.

“There are a lot of very, very enthusiastic and dedicated Filipino-Canadian rappers or artists, but they have never received any recognition,” said Raymond Garcia, one of the event organizers, who is also a member of the Southeast Cartel rap group.

“We realized,’Hey, no one will recognize us. We should do it ourselves.'”

The virtual show is provided by the Toronto-based online art magazine VIBEANT and the FilCan Music Association (a community of Filipino-Canadian DJs, dancers, artists, and fans). It will award six categories of awards for music produced in 2020. There are 16 finalists, and the winners are voted by the public.

Watch | Here are the nominees for the FilCan Music Rap Awards:

The event aims to bring together Filipino-Canadian rappers from coast to coast to celebrate each other’s achievements, find inspiration and jointly raise the mainstream image of their creative work.

Calgary rap artist Ryan de Guzman (Ryan de Guzman), also known as Rubix (Rubix) said: “It is now we Filipinos who unite and gather our strength together to create a platform for ourselves. The time has come.

Rapper Rubix, also known as Ryan de Guzman, has been composing music in Calgary for more than a decade. (Submitted by Rubix)

“Filipinos are the most artistic and musically gifted people in the world, and we deserve it. We deserve this platform. We should celebrate this way,” said Rubix, a pre-recorded performance of his song Untitled Will be played during the event.

Calgary rapper Twizzie Ramos is nominated for the album finals of the year. He said that his recognition by his Filipino-Canadian hip-hop artists made him humble and full of energy.

“I am honored to be nominated for this award because this is a community that helped me get to where I am now. No matter where I go, I will take it with me,” he said.

Community and competition

Raymond Garcia estimates that there are approximately 60 to 80 active Filipino-Canadian rap artists today.

In the past few years, he has organized events and parties for Filipino rappers in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, and he has seen an increase in the number of rappers participating.

However, although hip-hop culture is very popular in Filipino circles, with famous DJs, dancers and graffiti artists, Garcia said that rappers in the community have not received the same attention.

One reason he put forward is that rap sometimes has negative connotations and is related to the life of a “gangster”. He said that the second reason is that many artists are more concerned about competition than cooperation.

Raymond Garcia, also known by Raygee in the hip-hop world, is one of the organizers of the event. (Raymond Garcia)

“Barrel Crab” mentality

Garcia started writing rap music in the Greater Toronto Area 15 years ago. At that time, he said that there was strong competition within the rap community, and it was divided by region.

Garcia said the Filipino-Canadian rapper from Mississauga did not want to have any relationship with his counterparts from Toronto, Scarborough or North York, and vice versa.

Although he likes the competitive aspect, he realizes that it is harming the collective interests of the rap community.

Garcia described it as crab Or the “crab” mentality in Filipino culture.

He said: “When you put crabs in the bucket, they don’t help each other out of the bucket, but pull each other down when they try to escape.”

“Like when you see another Filipino doing something, many people tend to see the negative side rather than trying to support them or trying to see the benefits from it.”

According to Garcia, this limits the ability of the Philippine music community to develop.

“It’s just reached a point where it won’t go anywhere. It won’t develop because everyone is too competitive, and we haven’t joined together to really create something that can help all of us.”

But he has recently seen a shift and said that the community is beginning to change as a new generation of budding artists is recognizing the value of supporting their competition.

“Like the fact they noticed, it’s too humble. I just want to represent myself as much as possible,” Ramos said. (Submitted by Twizzie Ramos)

Ramos said that he is very happy to see his fellow artists come together for a common goal.

“FilCans are gathering together, just respecting each other, helping each other, and building each other to the next level.”

Nevertheless, other challenges remain.

Beyond the Gangster Rap

“No one really thinks of Filipinos as rappers. We are very talented singers. We are always in the band. Of course, people appreciate it. But the rap world is very underground and has a lot of negative political opinions about it. “Garcia said.

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that rap is just gang rap,” he said. “But in this case, it is not. Rap ??is an art form. It is a culture.”

This is a culture that is changing.

“Even if you didn’t like rap music ten or twenty years ago, many of the content now is very exciting. Many are inspiring,” Garcia said.

He pointed out that the production and influence of rap music in the Philippines is expanding due to social media, new music streaming platforms, and more accessible recording and editing software.

“It’s actually expanding because there are so many different artists who can create music. And many of them are trying to make music that is true to them.”

Raphael Tigno said that these awards are also a good affirmation of the artist’s determination and flexibility to create music during the pandemic. (Submitted by Rafael Tinho)

Go global

“The goal of promoting the FilCan movement is to make it eventually go global,” said Raphael Tigno, founder and creative director of VIBEANT.

The FilCan Music Rap Award has begun to gain international recognition.

This event attracted the attention of FlipTop CEO Anygma, FlipTop claims to be the largest professional running rap competition in the Philippines. It also appeared on Heavy Rotation, a podcast based in San Diego that focuses on Filipino hip-hop and R&B music around the world.

Rubix says this is just the beginning.

“I hope this will continue to grow, grow, and grow, not only for Filipinos, but for all music lovers, really.”

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