Claim to Fame: CEO and Founder, Midas Music & Entertainment. Co-Founder, Calle Con Urban Music & Fashion Festival and Hydro Music Festival.
Nick Hernandez knew what was coming; he only had to look at the natural talent of Filipinos to foresee today’s golden age of urban music. As the CEO and founder of Midas Music & Entertainment, and the co-founder of Calle Con Music & Fashion Festival and Hydro Festival, his resume speaks for itself. But his belief in Pinoy talent is something else altogether.
A true champion of the local urban scene, Nick Hernandez understands that all that was lacking was the right avenue to showcase Filipino stories—naturally told through music, of course.
What’s been the biggest shock to you with how urban music has grown in the Philippines?
I am honestly not shocked by the growth of hiphop in the Philippines. I saw this second coming of the Golden Age of hiphop 15 years ago. We are kinda late from our western counterparts, but fortunately, social media has helped make it faster for us to gain and share the knowledge and culture to everyone. Nakahabol na tayo.
We’ve had the talent ever since naman, wala lang tayo platform before since majority of the decision makers 15-20 years ago didn’t grow up listening to hip-hop music. Today, the decision makers like me grew up listening to Francis M, Mastaplann, Sun Valley Crew, Legit Misfitz, Kulay, 7Shots of Wisdom, Andrew E. etc, so it’s easier for me or my generation to support and invest in Filipino hip-hop. Kumbaga pa’no maco-consume ng tao if walang magbebenta and maglalapit sa tao?
With this, I would like give flowers to all creators like Flipmusic Artists, Fliptop emcees (specially Anygma and his team), Philippine Allstars, Turbulence, Mike Swift, Wave891FM kasi sila yung 10-15 years ago nakikipaglaban for hip-hop kahit na super konti ng naniniwala.
That is why I am not shocked that hip-hop is this big because the roots were planted with quality creators, HARVEST SEASON na ngayon.
What defines the music culture in the Philippines, and what makes it unique from other countries?
The Pinoy culture itself, the mixture of different influences that we got from different races, from the Spanish, Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Malays, and now even Koreans. We got a little bit of everything from different cultures and we added our own Filipino flavor to it. That Pinoy flavor shows not only through our music but with our arts, fashion, and lifestyle.
Why do you think Filipinos have such an interest in urban music?
Music in general is an avenue for you to express and relate with your emotions. Filipinos naturally love to sing; that’s why we invented karaoke nga diba. We create and consume music as a way to express our current emotional state. When we are sad or broken, most of us even want to listen to sad or cathartic love songs more, hence the “hugot” genre will never fade away. Also, when we are happy we listen to happy songs or “novelty songs” from the Sexbomb dancers, Bayani Agbayani, Kuya Wil, etc. One major reason also why we are big TikTok users is kasi masaya yung usual content sa TikTok.
Music is a huge part sa lifestyle ng Pinoy. We tend to relate the current state of our emotions to what we listen to, parang dapat may soundtrack lagi yung buhay mo anytime of the day. We celebrate or mourn most of the time through music.
With hip-hop, it gets more specific; you can actually define someone’s personality when you find out who they listen to. That’s why I want to give mad respect to Gloc-9, Loonie, Flow G, Shanti Dope, Al James, and Skusta Clee—their lyrics and their storytelling crossed over almost all social classes and genres. Hindi lang sila hip-hop, URBAN POP na sila.
A conyo kid from Alabang and a regular tambay from Etivac can bop at the same time sa PSG ni Al James, and for me that’s something to celebrate. You forget everything, because music is music. Music brings together people in all socio classes and Pinoys identify themselves with what they listen to.
How do you think urban music helps define the Filipino identity outside of just music?
Music actually is storytelling. The artist is the narrator and they give the listener a first hand POV of what they’re feeling or has experienced. Pwedeng hindi niya kwento yun personally but the artist is still the one telling and letting you in on the story.
Every rapper or artist has a story to tell, and for a couple of minutes, you let the audience get a glimpse of the artist’s world. For example, if you listen to Omar Baliw, he lets you in the mind of a rapper-turned-businessman, how a local clothing brand owner should think and hustle. So even if you are not part of that scene or community, you get to know more about it and get inspired by what he does.
If you could have known how big the urban music community would get, how would you have prepared for it differently?
Right now, CONTENT IS KING. Content creators in general are the ones moving and shaking the whole culture.
I would have ventured earlier and been consistent on content creation, music video production, and music distribution. Equipped myself with the right technical knowledge, right equipment, and right people around me to execute my vision.
Fill in the blanks for us: Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by ____ and kept alive by ___.
Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by music and fashion and kept alive by the creativity and diversity of the new generation.
Another one: It’s about time that Complex arrived in the Philippines because ____.
We need a platform to showcase and share our culture, especially in music and fashion to the rest of the world. As cliche as it sounds, “from local to global,” and Complex can bridge that gap.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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