Def Jam Philippines, a division of Universal Music Group (Philippines), announces the launch of the latest #RekognizeChooseDay, the first compilation of its kind in 22 years. The five songs comprising this series are now being released every week this March in all major streaming services.
“The Rekognize project brings together old school, mid school, and new school MCs,” says Daddy A, the label’s A&R manager, “and it is intended to unite [various] rap styles from lyrical to trap drill style, boom bop, mumble, gangstah rap and many more.” The goal of the project, he adds, is to build a united hip-hop community. He notes that the process of recording this project involved both home recordings and, eventually studio recording sessions, where everyone involved followed strict COVID protocols in place at that time. It is, therefore, also a demonstration of the community’s resilience in the face of a major world crisis.
Daddy A says that this compilation reflects the growth of the hip-hop movement in this country in the years since the release of the first Rekognize album in 2000. “Hip-hop is so strong right now, it is so diverse and the culture and community is very rich,” he says, adding that various businesses behind the culture are booming as well, including merchandising and apparel. Also, with COVID restrictions easing up, he says that live shows are making a comeback.
The five tracks of the #RekognizeChooseDay project are based upon five affirmations by the community that tie the record together.
We Choose Our Own Journey – “Lakbay”
“Lakbay” is a collaboration between ThirdFlo, Toney Chrome, SCYE, MSTRYO, Steven Peregrina, Daddy A, and Dash. It was produced by Markbeats of RAWSTARR and mastered by Dhutz Tanedo. The song is about the artist’s journey and its struggles, with a strong note of hope, optimism, and the assurance of divine guidance in this journey. It brings together a classic hip-hop style with a trap and chill R&B feel.
The underlying vocal motif in the song, Daddy A notes, is his voice mimicking a soprano operatic style, pleasurable in the ears and give also a haunting feels in the song.
We Choose Women – “Testify”
“Testify (Pusong Pilipinas),” a celebration of womanhood, brings together some of Filipino hip-hop’s best female talents, including Vets Kaycee of TURF, Soulstress Singer Jazze Manuel, BEBE RIZ is a Christian female rapper, born in the Philippines and currently residing in New Zealand, and fresh talents such as Womens Illest Morena of Phunky Juan, Entertainment, A Burgs & Fateeha of Morobeats, Zae and Tiffany Lhei, Daddy A was responsible for the song’s melody and lyrics of the hook. The track is Produced by MC Dash and Mixed and Mastered by Bim Yance.
This particular single drops just in time for International Women’s Month, which is wrapped around the March 8 observance of International Women’s Day. It brings together various testimonies of womanhood as expressed by these hip-hop performers.
We Choose Unity Through Diversity – “Diversity”
“Diversity” involves the various stylings of ZAKI, KJAH, MEDMESSIAH, BANONG BAGSEK, MISTA, RUDIC, and KONFLICK to produce what is described as a “hip-hop banger.” The concept for this EP came from DJ Med Messiah, who even spits out some bars in his native Tausug language.
As the song’s title suggests, it is a celebration of hip-hop’s stylistic diversity. Here, artists representing various parts of the country come together to produce a genuine expression of what Philippine hip-hop means today.
We Choose to be Different – “Epic”
In “Epic,” Pino G. as a producer and Artist, Southeast Cartel (from Canada), Kristyleswho lives in the US now, and 7 shots of wisdom (Nathan and Harry) collaborate on a track which the producers describe as smooth, soothing, and suitable for vibing while cruising. It was produced by Pino G., mixed by Don Sy, with additional mixing and mastering by GFAB.
The song speaks about struggling and surviving as artists. It describes how each of the artists want to represent themselves and how they move toward the future with nothing standing in their way.
We Choose to Respect and Honor – “Fade to Black”
The final track, “Fade to Black,” is a tribute to two departed musical heroes in this country and the Southeast Asian region, Jamir Garcia (of the band Slapshock) and Dcoy. The current song is built upon an original by Moots of Malaysia, featuring Jamir, which appeared on his 2013 debut album. Daddy A of Def Jam Philippines worked with David Tee of Def Jam to push its release to DefJam Philippines and be Part of the Rekognize Tuesdays. brought together an all-star line-up of talents in multiple genres to make this tribute happen. Bringing together hip-hop and hard rock, the track is a powerful ending to this latest iteration of the Rekognize project.
Featured in this song are Malaysia’s Hip-Hop pioneer, Joe Flizzow, POP SHUVIT, Emmett of Butterfingers and Wing Meng of Love Me Butch. It also includes contributions from legendary Thai Hip-Hop artist Daboyway and Dandee. Rounding out the lineup are Ian Tayao (Queso), Reg Rubio (Greyhoundz), Chi Evora, Ean Lansing (both of Slapshock), and the two departed artists, Dcoy and Jamir Garcia. The song features lyrics in Malay, Tagalog, and English, a true multi-national celebration of two people dedicated to their art in their lifetimes.
What’s next for Rekognize?
Daddy A told us that this new project and it is just the start of Rekognize’s upcoming projects under Def Jam, including singles, EPs, and a possible album or two. He also says that, with the emerging “new normal,” they are planning to put together live sessions and possibly in-person shows sometime soon. With this comeback record from Rekognize, the Philippine hip-hop scene faces the future with hope, optimism, and a craft and artistry unparalleled in its history.