Young rapper Abra is an established hip hop act but before he was able to introduce his own brand of music to his fans, he himself was also a fanatic of a particular genre. Interestingly, it’s not rap or hiphop.
Twenty-four-year-old Raymond Abracasa, better known as Abra, got his start in the music business as a heavyweight in the rap battling (fliptop) arena and as a member of Pinoy hip hop group, Lyrically Deranged Poets (LDP). Apart from the numerous accolades he has received since his debut as a solo artist in 2012, Abra is also famous for his compelling lyrical style coupled with witty antics.
But where did he get that style and what influenced him to tackle socially relevant issues in his music?
“I was a rock fan growing up,” the rapper told The Standard, ”Before Eminem and Kendrick Lamar came into picture, I was listening to Parokya Ni Edgar and Eraserheads. And there’s this particular song from Parokya that inspired me to rap.”
Abra was referring to the 2005 rock novelty “Bagsakan” culled from the band’s Halina sa Parokya album. He credits the late Francis M and Gloc-9, who lent their talent in the song as featured artists, for inspiring him to follow in their footsteps.
“When I heard the song, I told myself, ‘Uy iba ‘to,’ and from then on I started liking the genre,” he revealed.
The young rap artist feels blessed that he’s in total control in terms of writing and creating his own music. It made him stay true to his advocacy of discussing political and social pains.
“I don’t compromise my music. I am so blessed that I can freely express myself and nobody tells me what not to say or what not to wear,” the rapper explained.
And his ingenuity as an artist has a favorable outcome, it obviously bears fruits, some are already ripe for his picking. For instance, the music video for his song “Gayuma” (Love Potion) has already reached more than 32 million views on YouTube, the highest number generated by any local artist to date.
His impressive achievement, being a relatively new player in the music business, is a solid statement that Abra is one of the driving forces that keep local music afloat. It is enough for him to receive numerous awards and for him to earn the respect of his colleagues in the business.
Abra will be one of the highlights of MTV Music Evolution music concert in May 17. Handpicked by MTV, alongside Gloc-9, to represent Philippine hip hop in the grand event, Abra feels surreal as he will be sharing the staged with the most revered names in the world of hip hop.
Philippines on the international music map
There’s an outdoor musical happening in May that will put the Philippines on the international music map. It will also solidify the country’s position as one of the top entertainment destinations in the region.
In a media launch last week, Mark Whitehead, executive vice president and managing director, Viacom International Media Networks Asia, officially announced that the country is hosting MTV Music Evolution. It is the grand gathering of hip hop artists and aficionados across the globe. Its first edition will be held on May 17 at the historic Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park in Manila.
Grammy Award-winning hip hop act, Naughty by Nature, the Philippines’ most celebrated rapper, Gloc-9, and Philippines’ hottest hip hop act, Abra are going to be part of the first wave of artists to grace the MTV stage.
The official from MTV Asia elaborated that MTV Music Evolution “is a live music concert that brings to life the evolution of a music genre and enables young people to experience and discover how music styles and sounds have evolved over the years. It will showcase iconic and contemporary hip hop acts from both international and local music scenes on a single stage, while featuring the best of Philippine music and culture to international youth audiences. “
The grand event is expected to reach an international audience of more than three-quarters of a billion households in over 160 countries as the show will be recorded live for global telecast under the MTV World Stage global series.
“The Philippines has such a strong music influence and has become a popular entertainment destination. With a successful history of partnership with Tourism Boards around the world, we are naturally thrilled to be collaborating with the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippine to bring MTV Music Evolution to our fans in the Philippines and around Asia,” said Whitehead.