If your Spotify Wrapped was full of international hip-hop acts, give a listen to Filipino hip-hop artists, cause you’re seriously missing out. Exciting things are happening in the local hip-hop scene. Once a niche genre, Pinoy hip-hop is growing rapidly; since 2018, streams of Pinoy hip-hop artists on Spotify have grown nearly three times. You might’ve already heard some of these artists’ songs through social media, but it’s about time you did a deep dive into their other music. Here are some Filipino hip-hop acts that definitely deserve your attention.
Peaceful Gemini has an old school, funky sound that’s perfect for your chill-out sessions. One of the featured artists on Spotify RADAR (Spotify’s global emerging artist program), she’ll reel you in with her lo-fi beats and keep you listening with her poetic lyrics.
“The environment I am in has had such a huge impact on my creative process. When I moved to Malate in Manila from Las Piñas, that’s where I explored the local underground hip-hop scene and started my career as a rapper. Some of the beats I’ve created were inspired by the sound of the streets I used to pass by every day.” she says.
You’ve probably already parts of ALLMO$T’s song “Dalaga”, as it’s the soundtrack of the viral #DalagangFilipinaChallenge that made Mimiyuuuh famous. Made up of members Clien Alcazar, Russell dela Fuente, Jomuel “Jom” Casem, and Angelo Luigi “Crakky” Timog, ALLMO$T is an Olongapo-based hip-hop group known for their senti lyrics and swag. If you’re a hopeless romantic with a penchant for hip-hop beats, definitely give them a listen.
Manila- and New Jersey-based artist Nik Makino started honing his rap skills since 2011, but it wasn’t until 2019 when he finally started making waves in the OPM scene with back-to-back hits “Neneng B” and “Lexi”. Though he’s made a name for himself with explicit song themes, his recent EP Aye Mami is a melody-driven release that shows his more vulnerable, romantic side. Makino also has a popular daily vlog “Kino Life”, with content that revolves around his life in both Manila and New Jersey.
Award-winning artist Karen Ann “Karencitta” Cabrera made a name for herself back in 2017, after the music video for her electronic-dance-pop Sinulog anthem “Cebuana” raked in over a million views within 24 hours. Full of spunk and attitude, Karencitta’s will make you feel almost just as badass and unapologetic as she is.
VVS Collective is made up of King Promdi, Gabrang, Tommy the Sauce, and Max Dylan. The crew behind the viral hit “Walwal” gets its name from the grading clarity scale for diamonds, where VVS stands for “very very slight inclusions” — that’s basically as close to perfection as a gem can get, with no visible flaws. This perfection is exactly what VVS Collective aims to achieve. Centered on trap, wavy, mumble rap, and modern rap, VVS Collective’s sound will have you hooked right from the get-go.
The artist behind the viral hit “Catriona” (which has over 38 million streams on Spotify), Jun Matthew “Matthaios” Brecio discovered his passion music at the age of 15. Now a 21-year-old ludology student at the De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde, Matthaios has already founded a record label (Offended by Passion).
“I am inspired by my everyday life, when I create lyrics, I’m telling the stories that I experience with my friends. I want my songs to be relatable to people,” he says. “Pinoy rap has become such a hit because of the talents and dedication of amazing hip-hop artists, from the OGs to the new school—and to be called one of them is such an achievement.”
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Daryl Borja Ruiz, or Skusta Clee, may be one of the most controversial figures in local hip-hop, but no one can deny that he’s one of the most prolific hip-hop artists in the country. A pioneer of the Pinoy trap genre, he has almost a billion combined streams on digital platforms. The singer-rapper is also a member of Ex Battalion and PDL.
After their single “Ivana” blew up on the internet (the song currently has over 22 million streams on Spotify), Soulstice hasn’t slowed down, releasing one single after another. Made up of members M Script, Rowmee G, and Seth, the hip-hop trio’s recently released their debut album Short Story, an 11-track Pinoy hip-hop record that — as its title implies — actually tells a love story, starting with courtship and ending in a painful breakup. Cool, eh?
Want more? Discover other Filipino hip-hop artists by listening to Kalye Hip-Hop, Spotify’s flagship playlist that features the very best of Pinoy hip-hop.