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WAIIAN Breaks Down His Album ‘WEYAAT?’

WEYAAT, Waiian
James Francisco

When Waiian first got featured for our second Complex Council, what struck us was his huge emphasis on authenticity. While his Kartell’em persona utilizes hard bars to compliment the group’s intimidating vibe, individually, the 26-year-old is noticeably more laid back, using a more lo-fi approach for themes about life, mental spaces, and “genuine rap shit”.

Waiian’s new album, “WEYAAT?”, is the latest glimpse into the headspace of one of Filipino rap’s most promising artists. The 9-track project captures the anxiety of pursuing music with a ticking deadline, the eventual rise to fame, and the desire for honest connections amidst a growing fanbase. While lyricism has always been Waiian’s biggest strength, “WEYAAT?” sees an exploration of a more varied sound, a nod to his growing confidence, and arguably, artistic peak.

Waiian breaks down his latest album with Complex Philippines while talking about inspirations and rapping about things close to his heart.

Your post on Instagram says “WEYAAT?” is an “update on my current life, a window to my mental space.” So first off, how are you?

I'm filled with gratitude for this incredible album. Navigating the delicate balance between music and life often resembles an intricate dance, and the effort has proven worthwhile with “WEYAAT?”. 

The anticipation of my upcoming vacation and camping escapades with my homies adds another layer to the mix. Soon, it's back to work, with renewed energy and a fresh perspective, ready to tackle the next chapter with a charged-up battery.

You also mentioned that this album is dedicated to the people who supported your pursuit of music in 2017. Can you give us more context?

From my very first verse, my family has consistently supported my musical endeavors. Growing up in a family of artists, I've been fortunate enough to grace art galleries and exhibits since my infancy.

My mom granted me a year to explore this musical journey, with a simple ultimatum: succeed or shift gears. It took more than a year, had to get a job, kept pushing the music but I poured my all into it, arriving at this moment today.

Special mention to my classmates, the keepers of realness, who taught me the art of taking no shit. Also to the skate crew, my steadfast companions in day and night skate escapades.

Shoutout to my LIAB homies — Ruiijikun, SHNTI, Yorko, Calix, and the Kashira production team, U-pistol, Calix, and Tatz Maven. They didn't merely contribute to my project; they evolved into solid homies who played a pivotal role in shaping my journey.

Last but certainly not least, a heartfelt salute to my girlfriend Misha, who consistently lends a helping hand with my work and cheers me on through every obstacle. She's not just a girlfriend; she's the GOAT.

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On your last Complex feature, you placed a huge deal on authenticity. Do you feel you’ve achieved this on “WEYAAT?” or were there things left off the album?

Absolutely. I understand that nobody quite does it the way I do in the “local scene.” Every idea for my songs stems from my lived experiences. I choose to rap about my real-life struggles and triumphs rather than crafting lyrics about possessions I don't own or a life I haven't lived.

What’s the story behind the album cover?

This masterpiece was painted by my uncle, Thomas Daquioag. This painting serves as a tribute to the final photo I captured in B-Side Makati. 

Since 2013, I frequented that place 1-3 times a week after my city-wide skate sessions. It was my mecca, witnessing artists, rappers, writers, and skaters of diverse backgrounds coming together to celebrate life. It was truly awesome. Although nothing can replicate that experience, the spirit of those memorable times lives on in everyone who reveled in the magic of B-Side.

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“WEYAAT?” album cover

Can you give us a breakdown of “WEYAAT”?


“UP” is a soul-soothing track that serves as a constant reminder to listeners to hold onto hope and persevere, even in the face of life's challenges and setbacks. While negative emotions are a natural part of the process,  I refuse to let them exploit my vulnerabilities. Instead, I remain focused on making a positive impact by spreading love.


“ALLONE” is a play on words that can mean “All One” and “Alone”.  It’s an exploration of the persistent loneliness of those seemingly surrounded by the buzz of social media, crowds, and adoration. The track asks listeners not to fret, emphasizing that loneliness is a universal experience.


“>MONEY” is short for “Better Than Money.” One doesn’t need wealth to find happiness in life. It's a contrast to the typical rap scene filled with flashy displays of gang life and glamour, which I think can be a bit silly. The most valuable things in life aren't always shiny or expensive.


In “PABLO,” I opened up about my life and career. These are honest thoughts about the people I’ve kept and have lost, dealing with fame, and handling criticism. The song, which has hammering verses and a catchy jazz bar feel, is crafted by the skilled producers: Tatz Maven and Ruiijikun.


“COPING INTERLUDE” is a live recording from our after-party on the day we finished the “WEYAAT?” album. Calix kicks things off, venting about the annoyance of sad folks and suggesting they get productive by picking up a book. In the candid atmosphere of post-celebration, one of my friends, fueled by a bit of alcohol, opens up about coping with loneliness by sliding into DMs.


“NASTY” is a fun, carefree song that encourages everyone to embrace their free spirit because it's like magic. The key message is that believing in yourself and going for what you want can make it happen. 


“FROZEN” is a window to what I feel is a melancholic story about my family and how I perceive my personal growth. 


“SMILE” is about choosing to persevere through life’s hardships. It is a reminder to anyone going through problems that mistakes are essential to growth. They’re not a dead end.


“WEYAAT?” is slang for “WAIIAN, where you at?”. It’s my way of saying “Hey, here's what's up with me” to the world after taking a three-year break from music to invest in personal relationships and life in general. Even though I love working on the album. I find comfort in concentrating on what really counts. It echoes the constant theme of self-reflection.

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