Bay Area rappers’ music reflects struggles, growing up Pinoy

SAN FRANCISCO —  For Richard Olayvar and Reynaldo Timosa Novicio Jr., better known as Ro3lay and Mister Rey, hip-hop is more than a genre.

Hip-hop is an unapologetic, raw form of communication expressed in their album, “Nativ3 Immigrant.”

“I just think hip-hop is so important especially now, because society is asking it to speak on more issues and people feel more obligated, I think, within the culture to be more vocal about their oppression,” said Ro3lay.

Olayvar combines his lyrical story-telling abilities with Novicio’s music to create the album.

And with both calling San Francisco “home,” these artists say their music is a reflection of the struggle Filipinos face, all while being proud to be from the Bay Area.

“For us existing and telling our story that’s our form of resistance,” said producer Mister Rey. “And not forgetting too that we have to be accountable with the way we say things.”

For Olayvar and Novicio, music has always been a powerful tool in organizing against forces opposing the Filipino community in San Francisco, such as gentrification and anti-immigrant policies.

“We intertwine activism within that because it’s the duality. Where we’re at. The setting that we’re in. It’s critical times. Nina Simone, and I quote this so much, she says, ‘What are the artists doing if they’re not reflecting the times?’ So naturally I think we’re just trying to do that.”

The “Nativ3 Immigrant” album can be found for free on Spotify.


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