The final single from Spotify’s Kalye X campaign has arrived — and no title is more apt for the New Year than ‘Umaga’. From the minds of rap legend Gloc-9 and up-and-comers Hero and Ramdiss, ‘Umaga’ is an unapologetic message about embracing individuality, free from societal expectations. Talk about a solid headspace for 2024.
‘Umaga’ was first performed by the trio at the Globe Circuit Event Grounds as part of Kalye X – Spotify’s initiative to spotlight local hip-hop through interactions with artists and communities. The Manila leg was preceded by stops in Cebu and Davao, each more well-received than the last. Apart from the debut, the crowd also saw performances from Hev Abi and O Side Mafia.
Complex Philippines got to talk to Gloc-9, Hero, and Ramdiss about their new single, working with a legend, and collaborating with Spotify.
Hero and Ramdiss – Spotify PH
What’s the story behind ‘Umaga’?
Ramdiss: Ang kantang ito ay para sa lahat ng gaya ko na struggling artist, sa lahat ng klase ng sining, na ‘wag silang mawalan ng pag-asa sa ginagawa nila. Wag silang magsawang mahalin kung ano man ang gusto nilang abutin, dahil balang araw mamahalin din sila nito pabalik.
(This song is for those like me, a struggling artist, never to lose hope in what they are doing. Do not get tired of loving your craft because one day it will love you in return)
Gloc-9 It’s an early 2000 hip-hop vibe about chasing your dreams, working hard, and having fun at the same time. It will suit the rap styles of Hero and Ramdiss.
[To Hero and Ramdiss] What’s it like working with an icon like Gloc-9?
Gloc-9 – Spotify PH
Ramdiss: Isang malaking karangalan makasama ang nag-iisang Gloc-9 sa isang awitin. Lubos parin ako na nagpapasalamat dahil napakalaking bagay nito para sa akin.
(It’s a huge honor to collaborate with the one-and-only Gloc-9. I’m very grateful because this is a huge deal for me)
Hero: Ang makasama si Sir Gloc-9 sa kanta at makapakinig ng payo at kwento ng mga kanyang pinagdaanan sa rap ay isang kayamanan kong maituturing. Yaman sa talento, yaman sa respeto at yaman sa pagmamamahal sa ginagawa.
(Collaborating with Gloc-9 and hearing his advice and stories in his rap journey has made me wealthy. Wealthy in talent, respect, and love for my craft)
What was it like being tapped by Spotify for this campaign?
Umaga cover art – Spotify PH
Ramdiss: Nakakagulat at nakaka-proud na isa ako sa napili ng Spotify KALYE X para irepresenta ang Manila. Sobra po akong nagpapasalamat sa pagkakataong ito.
[I was surprised and proud to be chosen by Spotify KALYE X as one of the artists representing Manila. I’m so thankful for the opportunity.]
Hero: Napakasaya. Nakaka-proud na nakasama ako sa KALYE X at isa sa naging pambato ng Manila. Ang ma-display sa ilang billboard hanggang sa makarating sa New York Times Square ay sobrang nakakagalak. Isa rin sa nakakatuwa ay kung paano alagaan ng Spotify ang isang artist. Isang hindi malilimutang pagkakataon ang KALYE X.
[I was so happy. I’m so proud that I was part of KALYE X and represented Manila. To be displayed on a billboard in New York Times Square is such a joyful experience. I’m also happy with the way Spotify takes care of an artist. KALYE X is such an unforgettable experience.]
Gloc-9: We are very thankful for the opportunity that they gave us and hope that this is not the last.
What is a good takeaway you each had from one another?
Ramdiss: Yung dalawang salitang “walang hintuan.” Masyadong gasgas na salita pero kapag kay Sir Gloc nanggagaling damang dama mo ang tunay na ibig sabihin.
(Two words: “No stopping.” It’s an overused word, but when it comes from Gloc, you can feel its true meaning)
Hero: “Mas maiging mabagal na sigurado kaysa sa biglaan na mahirap ng ulitin.” Ang payo ni Sir Gloc-9 sa akin na palagi kong bitbit saan mang larangan.
(Better to be slow but sure than reckless but difficult to replicate. It’s an advice from Gloc-9 that I carry with me everywhere)
Gloc-9: Work hard, harder than others. Love your craft and never disrespect it.