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Death Threat

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Death Threat

The first ever album went gold and produced the hit "Gusto Kong Bumaet (Pero 'Di Ko Magawa)." Their second became even bigger, passing the double platinum mark and producing the hit single "Ilibing ng Buhay (Ang Mga Sosyal)" despite to support from radio and other promotional methods. Their third album also hit the platinummark on its own. Now, Death Threat, Sony's latest acquisition, releases BEWARE DEATH THREAT - THE RETURN.

Its carrier single is "Kumusta Na" which, according to Beware (Ron Salonga, the founder of DT) is the first rap music of its kind: the rap style and lyrics are still there but the accompanying music has more of a jazzy/R&B feel. He also radically changed his way of rapping, which only the real underground hip hop followers who've made DT the premiere underground rap group to contend with can understand. More than just shouting the lyrics and venting out his anger at society, DT's music now is more matured and adventurous.

Patterned after the likes of NWA, DT is the local pioneer of underground gansta music (1993). Since 1993, no other hip hop act other than DT has ever reached the platinum mark, not even MastaPlann. The new album features Beware with real musicians (and not just a beat box) help them create the music that they used in the album. Barely autobiographical in nature, this lyrics reflect a more mature view of life in general and his reactions to all his experiences... in other words, the reality as it happens around. Beware is also a producer (another ug rap group called II High) and is currently putting together his own label called HPR (Hallow Point Records). He aims to bring Philippine hip hop to another level... and hopes someday to develop a radio program solely devoted to hip hop and spreading their culture (which ideally includes all four elements: DJ-ing, MC-ing, breakdancing and graffiti... something all hip hoppers should know and understand).

Beware (Ron) used to lived in US, where he finished his high school. He has been involved with music since about '89. He recently went back to California and was the first ever Pinoy to break into the international rap scene when he joined forces with others (one white American MC, some black American Mcs) to put out the single "98 Playa Hate" (Arrogant Records). He got the rights to the song and is including it in his album BEWARE DEATH THREAT - THE RETURN. The album has 17 tracks, 14 songs in all... He collaborated with friends and families to produce the album.

He comes in with quite an impressive list of credentials, but nobody really knows who he is. He can walk down the street and you wouldn't think "now, here's a gangsta right here." Despite the slight hint of irritation that may actually escalate into something you may not be prepared for, he is rather easy to talk to. So much for stereotypes...

And what about those credentials? His group's first album turned gold, the second hit double platinum, and the third peaked at platinum with hardly any promotion. The insiders and wannabes of the local hip hop community didn't know what hit them.... these words just keep repeating in their heads: Gusto kong bumaet pero `di ko magawa....Ilibing ng buhay ang mga sosyal....

At the risk of doing the unthinkable - writing a silly pop article about a legit underground hip hop artist , which I promised him would never happen - this writer proceeds with caution. The goal is to spread the word. To warn the unsuspecting listeners. He's back. Beware.

Much like the States' NWA, Beware's (yes, that's his name) uncontested claim is that his group Death Threat pioneered the local underground gangsta music. Whatever happens below ground may not exactly be of any concern to the mainstream, but the popularity of Death Threat among what other people fondly call the "masa" is something that can't go unnoticed. Since 1993, no local hip hop act other than Death Threat has ever sold platinum, not even the erstwhile popular MastaPlann. Maybe you don't know them, but ask around and chances are, you may find, in the most interesting of places, one or two people who can sing those songs to you.

This year, after a self-imposed hiatus (and a stint in California where Beware hooked up with other MCs to record the single "98 Playa Hate," making him the only Pinoy MC to ever break into the international rap scene), Death Threat resurfaces with a new album called BEWARE DEATH THREAT - THE RETURN. It includes the carrier single "Kumusta Na," the first rap music of its kind where the rap lyrics and sensibilities are the same, but the music is set to a more jazzy/R&B tone, "Babae Ay Minamahal," "I Rule This Shit," and "98 Playa Hate," which he got the rights to release here. Even with a new album, the prospect of being above ground - on account of the promotional gimmick that would most likely follow - doesn't seem to faze him. He thinks his followers won't mind. In fact, he says they're all waiting for that to happen. The new album features Beware with real musicians (and not just a beat box) who helped him create the music that they used in the album. Barely autobiographical in nature, his lyrics reflect a more mature view of life in general and his reactions to all his experiences... in other words, the reality as it happens around.

Aside from being a founder of the Death Threat family (much like the Mo Thugs family in the States), which includes hip hop artists Gloc-9, Hijakkk, and Radical MK among others. Beware is also a producer (another underground rap group called II High) and is currently putting together his own label called HPR (Hollow Point Records). He aims to bring Philippine hip hop to another level... and hopes someday to develop a radio program solely devoted to hip hop and spreading their culture (which ideally includes all four elements: Dj-ing, MC-ing, breakdancing and graffiti...something hip hoppers should know and understand).

Beware's Return shows the maturity in his music. He considers it more adventurous, and more than just shouting his lyrics and venting out anger at society's ills. So don't feel threatened if you see more of him from now on. He may no longer be lurking behind the shadows but challenging your beliefs head-on. Beware... are you ready to save yourself?

 

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