The hullabaloo that is Amatz


Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

A case of overreaction?

Just recently, word has gone out that Shanti Dope — he who problematizes about dark nipples — and his song has gotten recognition after another rap song — Amatz — was commissioned by Marvel for their episode The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

A point of pride for the Pinoy artist, no doubt.

Which seems like a vindication of sorts of for the artist, real name Sean Patrick Ramos, who just in 2019 had gotten in hot water after said song got the attention of the PDEA for reportedly promoting marijuana use.

The problematic lyrics:

“Lakas ng amats ko
(Sabi nila, sabi nila)
Sobrang natural
Walang halong kemikal”.

‘Tis not the first time that a song has raised hackles of self-appointed guadians of morality.

Remember when Senator Tito Sotto called for the banning of the popular Eraserheads song Alapaap for, you get it, promoting the use of illegal drugs.

A case of deja vu?

People’s fascination for hidden meanings in songs is nothing new.

From fundamentalists deciphering “Satanic” messages in rock songs (insert eye roll here) to urban legends of backmasking in innocuous recordings, we tend to read too much into pop culture pieces — from the lyrics of Spolarium (sorry peeps — it is not about the Pepsi Paloma rape case) to the meaning of K.I.S.S.).

All is well. We need a diversion from time to time.

What is problematic is when authorities themselves focus on “hidden messages” and lose sight on the bigger picture.

We become the nation of the petty, concerned about the idea of the nothing while the real problem festers and rots and eats away at our very system.


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