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Claim to fame: The Father of FlipTop
Alaric Yuson, AKA Anygma, changed the rap scene forever when he founded FlipTop in 2010, jumpstarting a culture of witty lyricism, brutal clapbacks, and a community filled with passionate modern-day poets, many of who have ingrained themselves into popular culture.
FlipTop has been parodied, criticized, and honored through the years, but one thing is constant: it is as resilient as the spirit of its emcees.
What’s been the biggest shock to you in terms of how FlipTop has grown in the Philippines?
Siguro yung minsan mababa parin tingin samin.. [laughs]
What do you think makes this culture unique?
What makes battle rap distinctly Filipino is siyempre yung humor ng Pinoy andun. Represented lahat ng iba’t ibang regions sa battle rap. Sobrang represented din yung pinanggalingan ng bawat emcee. Mga kwento, mga bokabularyo nila, mga values, lahat yun kasama.
Is that why you think Filipinos have an interest in battle rap? Because it’s a good representation for many?
Sana, sana. Maraming ibang factors but for the most part, sana nga nakikita at naiintindihan [ng mga Filipinos] yung bitbit na kwento ng bawat emcee pag umakyat sila sa stage.
How do rap battles help define Filipino identity, outside of that community?
Across the board yung effect niya. Marami sa mga emcees, dati hindi pinapansin, ngayon naging household name na sa buong bansa. Hirap na makalabas na hindi sila kukulitin ng tao.
May effect rin yung additional confidence. Yung analytic and troubleshooting approach sa battle rounds nila, minsan na-aapply din sa mga iba’t ibang bagay. And gusto kong isipin na nakakatulong [ang rap battles] sa livelihood ng mga emcees, socioeconomic-wise.
If you had known how big FlipTop would be, what would you have done differently a few years ago?
Hindi kasi ako ganon mag-isip na parang “sana ginawa ko ‘to, sana ginawa ko ‘yan.” Pero, I guess in general: go harder lang. Pagbutihin pa lalo.
Pero kung may kailangan akong baguhin sa buhay ko, more on moral mistakes kaysa sa passion or business decisions. By moral, I mean yung sa personal mistakes ko na nakaapekto ng tao, from small to big things.
Pero di ako yung nag-rregret talaga or at least, I’ve learned to live with regret, ika nga ni Jay-Z.
Fill in the blanks for us: Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by ___ and kept alive by ____.
Uh, ano ba? Di ko alam! [laughs] Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by kakulitan and kept alive by… pagiging makulit parin. [laughs]
Here's another: It’s about time Complex arrived in the Philippines because ____.
It’s about time Complex arrived in the Philippines because pakomplikado ng pakomplikado yung bansa natin kaya bagay na bagay. [laughs]
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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