Pinoy rappers BLKD and CALIX on fighting misinformation through hip-hop

SAN FRANCISCO — Young Filipinos gather to witness these flip-top rap battles.

And for rapper BLKD — who generates millions of views when he battles — it is a way to showcase his talents.

“Battle rap became really popular when it was launched in the Philippines by flip-top battling. Somehow it got popular to even non-hip-hop heads. And it’s been going on for years now.”

“It’s already part of the culture, actually. It’s a cultural phenomenon, as they say.”

BLKD and fellow rapper CALIX credit hip-hop for allowing them to spread awareness of the human rights violations of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines.

While hip-hop has influenced many since its origins in New York, people of different races and environments can be seen as culture vultures.

“If you are going to accuse of ‘vulturing’ maybe we need to ask predatory entities, like big record labels that are going into communities to get the whackest rappers and put it up there to sing three lines of some famous brand over and over again. Right? I guess, we need to ask the question again. Who is really stealing the culture from the people that is used by the people?”

While influenced by the hip hop icons Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G, BLKD and CALIX say their own musical styles are a reflection of their realities.

BLKD and CALIX are part of a collective called Sandata, which aims to use art and data against the misinformation of the drug war.

There are more performances scheduled for new york for the last leg of their US trip.

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