Think of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur’s rift. Of the East Coast vs West Coast feud that led to tragic murders from both sides.
Think, too, of the unsavory reputation that hip-hop has accumulated through the decades (no thanks in part to SOME of the artists), that it is all violence, all sex, all anacondas and girls with big asses and dark nipples.
People have forgotten that for every rapper waxing about big butts and large cocks, of Andrew E. and his juvenile sexual innuendoes, there are poets like the aforementioned Tupac, a visionary with a rhyme who dreams of a world where things are made right, where racism and hate crimes cease to exist, where violence of one brother against another is history. Think of the Francis M and his nationalism, of Gloc 9 and his social awareness, of Eminem and his sheer poetry.
Think, too, of how hip-hop as a counter-culture, an act of the defiance by the African-Americans, by the other people of color who lived in the Bronx, of their act of flipping the bird against the system, against poverty, against the prevailing conditions that helped shaped the angry, cynical, often downright violent voices of early hip-hop.
Mark (“Call me Kram”) Barroba muses about this as he goes introspective in an interview with DNX Lifestyle, discussing why he made a collaboration with PulBac Records’ Johpong Pongyan, and Bacolod Souljaz’s Jered Guacena.
The collaboration? A song called Mitsa.
“It’s a song about the care for our environment,” Kram says.
Articulate, intelligent with an acute awareness for social issues, Kram said the song Mitsa, Hiligaynon for “torch”, is a song about the environment.
“This was triggered during a series of floodings that engulfed Talisay and certain parts of the province. And based on what I have researched, all of these is brought out by a combination of things – illegal loggings, illegal quarries, kaingins,” he says, adding, “of course we had helped worsen the situation by throwing our garbage around.”
The recent spate of tree-cutting has also exacerbated an already
Mitsa, Kram says as he explains the title, refers guiding light, of enlightenment, a wake-up call, the we should do something about our world – or else suffer the consequences.
Kram tapped Johpong for the project, as Johpong himself confirms.
“I was thinking of making a similar song,” Johpong tells DNX, “so I said yes when he approached me.”
Rounding them up is Jered Guacena of Bacolod Souljas.
And one became three.
All three contributed evenly to the song: Kram, for the melody and main beat, and the first verse; Johpong for the succeeding verses; and Jered for the outro.
This kind of collaboration, incidentally, is something that Kram wants for all of the artists in Negros Occidental. After all, Mitsa has shown that it can be done – Kram from Pontevedra, Johpong from Pulupandan, and Jered from Bacolod.
“It is not just my dream but anyone’s,” Kram said, adding, “besides, what should bind us all but our love for music?”