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P-Lo on Reconnecting with His Roots and Working With New Filipino Artists

As P-Lo’s West Coast and hip-hop upbringings continue to sprout, he reunites with his Filipino roots and looks to promote locally-bred excellence.
James Francisco

P-Lo’s sound echoes beyond Pinole, CA’s historical architectural haven, traveling 7,005 miles east to his motherland of the Philippines. While his extensive, and rather shining, resume precedes him— working with the industry’s biggest stars, such as Kehlani, Chris Brown, and G-Eazy— he projects a tune brimming with West Coast flare and early 00s hip-hop influences that age like fine wine with the everchanging music scene.

Born into a first-generation Filipino-American family, his parents didn’t immediately accept his “unorthodox” route, but with this step into uncertainty, a fruitful path began to unfold. He believes that enough faith and dedication to one’s craft will result in hundreds of doors just waiting to be opened.

While the industry continues to uncover this diamond in the rough, P-Lo’s effects remain vast, whether on the microphone or behind the scenes. He takes his Bay Area narrative and injects his influence on the local scene, showcasing the endless lengths that perseverance can bring.

Instagram: @kuya_beats

Where did this musical influence come from and what/who gave you that “push” to continue pursuing it today?

My older brother, Oliver (Kuya Beats), definitely. Being a little brother, I always wanted to do what he did. He really inspired pretty much everything in my life.

I’m sure making a name for yourself as a Filipino-American overseas was never an easy task. Was there a “turning point” or moment in your career that made you realize that you wanted to dedicate your life to this?

I think it was when I finished playing basketball in junior college, I was at a turning point in what I wanted to do in my life. I knew I wanted to pursue music, so I decided to commit and figure out how to make a living creating music.

Raised in a Filipino-American household, how important are your upbringings to who you are today? Do you have family members in the Philippines/how often do you return to the country?

I think growing up in an immigrant household you're brought up with a certain understanding that people sacrificed a lot to bring you here, so you don't take anything for granted. With that understanding, it bred a different kind of work ethic into the craft.

I actually have a lot of family in Makati. This last trip was my fifth time returning to the Philippines, but I’m trying to come back a lot more often. 

Do you have any favorite musicians you’ve worked with in the past?

I just got to link with Lil Jon, one of my favorite producers, and that was a dream come true for me to work with such a legend and inspiration for my sound. He even showed me what sound the bassline was from Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle.” which is one of my favorite songs of all time, so that was cool.

Instagram: @p_lo

Going back to your recent discography, working with Saweetie on a collaborative track, what was the compositional process like? Were there any points of synergy given your Filipino roots?

Saweetie and I are from the same area, so we naturally clicked. Working with her was cool, because she knows what she likes, and as a producer that's key when creating the sound.

From social media posts to your campaigns, your Filipino blood runs deep. Do you have plans on returning to the country permanently or breaking ground in the local scene?

Yeah, definitely. I’d want to make it out there (Philippines) a lot more to visit yearly and build up with the local scene. Personally, O $IDE MAFIA, Hev Abi, and Al James are some of the dope artists I've come across and would certainly want to create with.

Instagram: @p_lo

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