Inter-Asia Popular Music Studies Group - Southeast Asia (IASPM-SEA) 2019 Annual Conference (Traditional x Popular)

January 11-13, 2019

Ruang Think City

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PRESENTATIONS by the EPAPC SCHOLARS

WHEN UNDERGROUND EMBRACES MAINSTREAM: BLURRING DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN THE SUBCULTURAL AND THE POPULAR IN THE PHILIPPINE BATTLE RAP SCENE

Lara T. Mendoza, Ateneo de Manila University

In this paper, I focus on the assertion of one of the most popular and commercially successful rappers in Philippine hip-hop today, Abra: “There is no underground; everything is mainstream.” Raymond Abracosa gained recognition in hip-hop via battle rap. Idolising Eminem, he gained a huge following with his explosive, polarising style in FlipTop, music video hits (“Gayuma” or aphrodisiac) and indie movie roles (as Hendrix in “Respeto”). Last June 2018, Abra was awarded the prestigious Gawad Urian award for Best Actor. This paper shows how Abra embraces the underground scene of hip-hop rap and appropriates the art form of a subculture that eschews his passionate involvement in it. Ironically, the keys to his commercial success hoove to Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the carnivalesque, which Abra embodies by his steely resolve and abrasive rapping style to be accepted by the gatekeepers of an underground culture of the poor, oppressed, and underprivileged. Bourgeois background notwithstanding, this paper shows how Abra personifies the renegotation of what it means to be part of a resistance underground while banking on mainstream platforms for success and showing how ostensibly binary, anti-thetical notions are resolved and reinvented into a new, explosive reality.

EMPLOYING THE WORKS OF NATIONAL ARTISTS FOR MUSIC TO POPULAR CULTURE

Ma. Christina P. Cayabyab, University of the Philippines

The National Artist for Music award has since been given to Filipino musicians who uplift the Filipino identity through their exceptional craft and creativity. In 2015, the opening ceremony of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines commemorated some of the composer recipients of this award by using their original works as accompaniment for the production numbers. This paper seeks to examine how the cultural value of such prized works was used as a backdrop for a performance spectacle presented over popular media. The sacred artistic quality of these works was shared, rather than diminished, in this attempt to contextually analyze an art form within a commercial format. This juxtaposition enabled a modern sense of national identity, music and performance pride, and a wider awareness of the sound of the country’s local art music.

Ethnographies of Philippine Auditory Popular Cultures

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