Here’s some footage I shot of the Native Guns reunion at the 20th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) last September. When it was announced that they’d be the headliners, I was happy to hear it, but also not as hyped as I thought I would be. I’ve seen them a bunch of times since ‘05 and have a lot of their songs memorized, so I figured it wouldn’t be anything new, but boy, was I wrong.
Once the intro started playing, it brought me back to when I was first exposed to their music, which was also when I started getting more politicized. Prior to them, the only other Filipino I knew about in hip hop was apl.de.ap from Black Eyed Peas, and he never really dove too deep. With Native Guns, they dropped so much knowledge about Fil-Am issues (like identity), our people’s history, and the country’s colonial relationship with the United States — it was mind blowing.
As an MC, who also happens to be Filipino, they had a major impact on my music and inspired me to document my own self-discovery via hip hop. Their music really started me on the path of toward a cultural (re)awakening that still continues to this day, which is why I always say that they’ve been the most influential hip hop group for me…hands down.
Filed under: Music | Tags: 1995, bambu, kiwi, native guns, o-dub, soul sides, stray bullets mixtape vol. 2
Recently, O-Dub interviewed me for one of his Sidebar Podcasts and put my remix of “1995” in the intro. I just realized that it’s been almost 5 years since we put out that mixtape. As fate would have it, this was the last project we put out before everyone went their separate ways as musicians.
This is the first and probably last time I’ll ever do a “jacking for beats” DJ remix for anything. I am really proud of how it turned out and hope folks recognize the amount of work it took to do something like this using only turntables, records, and Pro Tools.
DOWNLOAD: Native Guns – “1995” (DJ Phatrick Remix)
From Stray Bullets Mixtape Vol. 2 (Barrel Men, 2007)
Filed under: Music | Tags: bambu, et, handcuffs, Johannes Mehserle, kiwi, mass movement, native guns, no justice remix, oscar grant
In his words:
Today Oscar Grant’s murderer Johannes Mehserle was given an insulting and unjust verdict of “involuntary manslaughter.” The court system confirmed that an officer can shoot an unarmed man cold-blooded in the back, with hundreds of witnesses watching, and get away with a slap on the wrist.
Echoing the words of the Los Angeles Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant:
We reject the continued official cover-up of the murder of Oscar Grant with a jury exclusive of African Americans, yet including several jurors with police as immediate family, hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime, by a judge notorious for covering police crimes and with slanted rules of evidence.
This remix is dedicated to all the people just like Oscar Grant who never see justice in this inherently unjust system. Today is another reminder that the whole system is corrupt and needs to be changed. The struggle is long, we have to stay strong.
Filed under: Music | Tags: 6fingers, bambu, hand cuffs, kiwi, native guns, oscar grant
So I’m late to my own party…
I’m guessing most of yall have downloaded this already since it got blasted earlier today, but here’s the full 12-inch that includes the unedited version, the clean version, and the acapella.
For immediate release
July 7, 2010
Bay Area/Los Angeles, CA
Hours away from the verdict of the historic Oscar Grant trial, rappers Kiwi and Bambu (along with DJ Phatrick) have reunited as Native Guns to release their latest song, “Handcuffs” (produced by Six Fingers).
“With so much emotion and uncertainty around the outcome of this case, we felt a sense of urgency to come back together and do this track” states Kiwi, a former Oakland resident. Bambu adds, “We both experienced the L.A riots in 1992 firsthand, and we wanted to remind people of the lessons learned from back then, so we can keep them in mind as we move forward with this current situation.”
Kiwi breaks the song down further: “The message is threefold: to validate the community’s anger around the blatant murder of this young man, to spark a discussion and deeper analysis of what police are there to do beyond just enforcing the law, and to get folks to think strategically about how they want to react to this verdict, whatever it ends up being.”
This is the group’s first song together in nearly 4 years. Their critically-acclaimed debut album, “Barrel Men” (2005), followed by the “Stray Bullets Vol 2” Mixtape (2006) received rave reviews and built them a loyal following that carries over to this day. Their material continues to be used in both college classrooms and community youth workshops alike.
Filed under: Video | Tags: ...paper cuts..., ain't no future 2009, bambu, kiwi, prometheus brown, quit, slow down
February 27, 2010
Bambu’s PAPER CUTS EP Release Concert
“Slow Down” + Prometheus Brown Phone Call
“Ain’t No Future 2009” + “Quit”
“Initiation” w/ Kiwi
Filed under: Music | Tags: bambu, beatrock music, blood of my heart, bwan, denizen kane, kiwi, mister rey, nomi, pele, power struggle, remittances
OOOWEEEE!!! This shit is fire.
New song from the homie fresh for the Valentine’s weekend.
DOWNLOAD: Power Struggle – “Blood Of My Heart”
From Remittances (Beatrock Music, March 2010)
POWER STRUGGLE is rapper Nomi accompanied by producers Mister REY and Fatgums. The new album Remittances, slated for a March 2010 release on Beatrock Music, is a proletarian’s path to enlightenment. With help from fellow Beatrock Musicians Bambu and BWAN, as well as emcees Kiwi, Pele, Denizen Kane, and others, Power Struggle tells the stories of immigrants, workers, criminals, lovers, and revolutionaries.
For more information please visit beatrockmusic.com.
Cover art by Mark Canto.
DOWNLOAD: KIWI – “TO NO ONE IN PARTICULAR”
and so i let it all go / let the words flow
pour a little water and watch this thing grow
grow in the direction we feel the sun glow
hit the plateau / then go for some mo’
whether fast or slow / whether life or death
at the end of this story there won’t be regret
gotta go beyond just getting my feet wet
dry myself off and ask em’ what’s next
this whole time just playing it safe
stuck there cause i’m too scared of making mistakes
but i cannot escape / and i’m feeling the stress
and what i really wanna say stays locked in my chest
and my solution is to turn and run
and i hella wanna cry but the tears won’t come
feel so numb / no longer young
cigarette smoke doing stuff to my lungs
document my pain / with a stain / on my skin
yet another lonely night getting flaked on again
so i pick up the pen / time to get it in
gotta clear my mind / with the rhyme / medicine
a temporary remedy to deal with the hurt
a seed that i’m planting to find my self-worth
tryin to build something you got to do work
folks in my community tossing mad dirt
i used to brush it off / but now we’re getting lost
and people tripping when i tell em that we gotta talk
oh well i guess i gotta keep moving
so do what you do i’ll do what i’m doing
to no one in particular everyone in general
my promise to you all to keep it self-critical
from my mind body and soul from my head to toe
i’m gonna end it like it started… gotta let it go
For more info, log onto www.illafonte.com