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Everyone was #shooketh when Childish Gambino dropped a musical bomb two weeks ago in the form of his latest single, “This is America.” Hindi enough ang #shook, bes. I mean, even Keyboard Cat did not see the record views coming. (Rest in peace, kitty.) While we see how the song and the symbol-packed music video reflects America’s pressing issues with race and gun violence, hindi tayo nakatira doon. (Duh.) And we have our own struggles here in the good ole’ RP. Here are some songs that talk about the challenges within our shores.

1. Tatsulok,” by Bamboo

Hindi pula’t dilaw tunay na magkalaban

Ang kulay at tatak ay di syang dahilan

Hangga’t marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan

At ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman

Romeo Dongeto, who wrote the song, was inspired by Marius Pontmercy (yung #woke jowa ni Cosette sa Les Miserables, bes). Here, the angry man is singing about how social inequality leads to a lot of other injustices, and how it isn’t about picking a political side. How can the majority at the base of the pyramid prosper, and not just the apex?

2. Upuan,” by Gloc 9

Kayo po na naka upo,

Subukan nyo namang tumayo,

At baka matanaw, at baka matanaw na nyo

Ang tunay na kalagayan ko

Rap royalty Gloc-9 called out the people in power who enjoy the privilege of their position too much without seeing the plight of others. Ika ni Spidey, bes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Instead, those who crave the seat spend all their energy fighting each other Game of Thrones style. Very wrong kayo diyan.

3.Gatilyo,” by BLKD

Tayo’y minamanhid sa sakit ng ating mga kapatid

Lunod na lunod sa mga tsismis at balitang

Luhod na luhod sa iilang pinapanigan

Lugod na lugod silang nagbabait-baitan

Pagka’t maledukado, maledukado tayo

DJ Umph served as the beat producer and arranger of this BLKD album, which shares its name as the lead single. While he grew up in California, his parents were activists in Martial Law. That’s why he is no stranger to the topics covered in Gatilyo, which means “trigger.” And #triggered nga kami bes sa lyrics ng single, which points to how we are being conditioned to ignore other people’s challenges.

4. King Inang Bayan,” by ABRA feat. Reese Lansangan

Ayoko na kasing isipin

Na ako’y isang aliping sagigilid

Sa sarili kong lupain binibitin

Ang karapatan ko maging tatlong bituin at isang araw na nagniningning

Yan ang hiling

This 4-minute piece feels like it contains 300 years’ worth of pain—laced with a truckload of expletives. Drugs, corruption, laziness, traffic, Abra (with guest vocalist Lansangan) ticks off one by one, seemingly inciting some sort of revolution. But, like always, kuda is never enough bes, and he’s asking for all of us to get off our butts and make real change happen.   

5. Walang Natira,” by Gloc 9

Subukan mong isipin kung gaano kabigat

Magbuhat ng maleta halos hindi mo na maangat

Ihahabilin ang anak para ‘to sa kanila

Lalayo upang mag-alaga ng anak ng iba

Gloc 9’s second track in this list is a pretty straightforward comment on the plight of the OFW, which includes but is not limited to: exorbitant fees, ending up as a dead body in balikbayan box, and kids growing up without their parents. (*Cue Vilma and Claudine in Anak.) While these overseas pinoys are sending money to the country, nagiging Best in Brain Drain na ang ‘Pinas as a result.

6. Tayo’y Mga Pinoy,” by Ely Buendia, Rico Blanco, Raimund Marasigan, Barbie Almalbis

Dito sa Silangan ako isinilang

Kung saan nagmumula ang sikat ng araw

Ako ay may sariling kulay: kayumanggi

Ngunit hindi ko maipakita tunay na sarili

The Heber Bartolome track, which was also remade in the 90s by Francis Magalona, is a painting a picture of a society that is rife with insecurity. And it’s telling you to develop a bit of pride because being Filipino means something. This power cast version is giving the same message. Discussions on cultural appropriation and glutathione overuse aside, bes, it wants you to know that the color of your skin or the shape of your nose is nothing to be ashamed off. You are Pinoy, and that matters.



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