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.

beatrockmusic:

Bwan’s Living Room LP now available for free download:

DIRECT DOWNLOAD FROM MEDIAFIRE: http://www.mediafire.com/?39i3tssh9sbpjcd
PREVIEW/DOWNLOAD FROM BANDCAMP: http://beatrockmusic.bandcamp.com/album/living-room

Track Listing:
 
1) Roots (produced by Emile)
2) Infinite (produced by Fatgums)
3) Don’t Have Much $ (produced by Artek)
4) The Spark (produced by Mister REY)
5) Grindstone (produced by Fatgums)
6) Lyricists feat. Akil (produced by Fatgums)
7) Pressure feat. Sahku
8) Hurt People Hurt People (produced by MTK)
9) Brown feat. Patience & Ruby Ibarra (produced by 6Fingers)
10) Flesh & Bone (produced by Mister REY)
11) Bust Back feat. Bambu & Irie Eyez (produced by Rythmatical)
12) Dreamers (produced by Esta)
13) Bonus Track: Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (produced by Mister REY)

etmm:

Romeo notetaking for The Committee album (Taken with instagram)



Ay yo…that be me. I do take lots of notes, but I think I might actually be on Facebook in this picture. lol.

etmm:

Romeo notetaking for The Committee album (Taken with instagram)

Ay yo…that be me. I do take lots of notes, but I think I might actually be on Facebook in this picture. lol.

The Committee performing “Coming of Age” at FPAC 20.

This is one of my favorite songs of ours because it’s a reflection of how we’ve grown over the years and our different outlook from when we first got together in college. I’m not saying that we’ve lost our politically militant spirit, but we’re older now and have grown folk responsibilities to take care of. I think all of us want to have families of our own someday, but we also don’t want to be broke and living check to check. Isn’t that part of the “struggle” that we’re fighting for in the first place?

On a lighter note, I like how our practices are a lot more structured than they were in the past. Before, we used to show up hella late, bullshit for an hour and then kind of wing it. Now, we try to arrive promptly at the scheduled time and call if we’re running late. We figure out how long we’re practicing for and do a good job of checking each other throughout the night, “Time check:________, let’s get back on it.” With as busy as we are with other things, we can’t afford to waste time. Trust me, we still have a lot of fun, but we’re just more on point this time around.

HOOK
This is coming of age, we breaking outta the cage
New goals, new sights, as we turning the page
This is coming of age, I’m still clenchin’ my fist
An understand of the system that the struggle exists

This is coming of age, just a brand new perspective
The story of my journey so my people feel connected
This is coming of age on the wheels of life
Happy endings, new beginnings, I’ma be alright…

HOOK

5th Born
A working class root to a middle class youth
Saw mom and pops struggle as real class proof
That the system is built to keep shifting the wealth
Cause the more money they made the more it was hell
Pops broke the bank just to pay my tuition
Got his boy through college and accomplished his mission
Now I stand tall with a 4 year degree
But my salary is low I’m still fighting to be free
When they evaluate me they look at credit and gross
But what I net ain’t shit I’m turning less into most
To find a balance is a challenge cause I love the finer things
I want a paid off crib and buy my girl a diamond ring
So the system does matter when I’m climbing the ladder
And I promise to give back when my pockets are fatter
Outside my 9 to 5 I’m dedicated to change
You know the deal, keep it real, we all playing the same game

HOOK

C-Los
With age comes wisdom and much reflection
It’s inevitable that change of one’s perspective
Will happen in fact it’s impactin’ my actions
I just got engaged and family’s my passion
But a house with a picket fence
Is on that next level above payin’ the rent
So I navigate a system that I know is corrupt
In my attempt to climb a ladder that can lead to more bucks
At the same time slowly curbin’ down what I owe
I can see the end of the tunnel just past my student loan
I appreciate the bumpy road, from debt to credit
It taught me what’s important for that I am indebted
Real talk the simple things are great
Clothes on my back, roof over head, and food on plate
Stronger focus of mind I apply every day
Hard work and dedication there to pave the way

HOOK

ET
23 was the age that I graduated school
Gettin’ hella faded having fun breaking rules
Up in the clouds, life so out of balance
Immature in my mind, discipline was a challenge
Took a couple years and a couple mistakes
To make me realize I can’t live that way
Moved to Santa Cruz for school, near the Bay
New people, new perspective, if you can relate
Deeper dedication for national democracy
Study MLM for a sharper ideology
Steeped in theory, stepped up my practice
Self-criticism to change up my actions
Now my future isn’t only my own
Simple living, meet my needs as I think of the whole
Collective, because my future goals are connected
To advance the revolution in the victory direction

HOOK

ReVision
From the ivory towers to the 9 to 5 grind
From a 40 oz. bottle to a fine red wine
Not a kid anymore, got a new state of mind
Gettin’ grown, at a new place in life
Not just living for today, I’m thinking ahead
401(k), finding ways to get rid of debt
It took years to build up my good credit
Tryna save money, no unnecessary spending
Attending weddings, now my friends having kids
Got me thinking that I might be finally ready for it
Dividing my time with Music and the Movement
Integrating art with a message, a perfect union
Tryna find a balance, fighting contradictions
Winning little battles cuz it’s a game of inches
The one guarantee in life is change
I’m not a slave to the past, I’m breaking free from the chains

HOOK


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Here’s a clip of me and the rest of The Committee performing “Beautiful Thing” (also viewable in HD) at the 20th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) earlier this month.

Since FPAC has given us so much love over the years, it was only fitting that we made our official announcement that we’re finally going to put out an album next year. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook to stay updated on all the latest news. We’ll be posting new videos and possibly some behind the scenes stuff too.

"Love, Peace & Hip Hop…it’s a Beautiful Thing"


VERSE ONE
ReVision
The resilient spirit of the people in the struggle
Or watching Jeopardy and answering the Daily Double
A dope DJ playing all the jams
The tiny footprints of a child in the sand
Beautiful like the moment of the first kiss
Floating in the clouds, knowing the wait was worth it
Make your plans, follow through
That’s what you do, make your dreams come true

C-Los
Beautiful like alternative outlets for news
That challenge prevailing wisdoms of truth
Beautiful like fight night with Pacquiao in the ring
And hearing 50 Pilipinos in the house scream
Beautiful like creativity in practice
Witnessing first hand another person’s passion
Beautiful like 5pm on Friday
And driving home with no traffic on the highway

5th Born
It’s Beautiful like art with a message
Talking to your elders, a history lesson
It’s Beautiful like when the present meets the past
Inspired young minds ahead of the class
It’s Beautiful like a community collective
Artists in the streets out there painting new perspectives
It’s Beautiful like watching passionate dancers
Shouting in a rally screaming for answers

HOOK

VERSE TWO
ReVision
Beautiful like the Love between my parents
The flame still burning 38 years of marriage
Extra cash, when it’s tax season
The buzz in the air right before a long weekend
Beautiful after all of this time
The Committee: still together, developing rhymes
Spending hours digging in crates
The sound of an old record as it rotates

C-Los
Beautiful like the pure joy of my nephew
Having enough money when the rent is due
Reading a book that challenges my view
Or just relaxing on a Sunday afternoon
Beautiful like visiting my family
And close friends that are all up in the Bay
Beautiful like hearing Ribbon in the Sky being played
Or better yet, Stevie Wonder live on stage

5th Born
Beautiful like the sights of the city
That you rep everyday on your 59/50
Beautiful like a clean pair of kicks
That you match with your shirt that you threw in the mix
Beautiful like when she smiles your way
Hand in hand, I’m yo man, yes is what you gotta say
Beautiful like LA with no traffic
And I never get lost cause I always google map it…

HOOK