The LiFTED 5: Celebrating Gloc-9’s 24 years in the Hip Hop game
The Filipino Hip Hop trailblazer looks back on his career
1997 was a seminar year. It was the year Princess Diana tragically passed away in a fatal car crash. It was the year Hong Kong returned to China. And it was the year Titanic made a splash in the global box office. It was also the year Aristotle Pollisco, a young Pinoy kid, first set foot into the Hip Hop game, which was a fairly new concept and genre back then. 24 winters later, many newcomers have tried to pursue and failed, yet Pollisco is left standing, except now we know him as Gloc-9, the Hip Hop pioneer and the long-standing giant of the Pinoy Hip Hop scene.
In his 24 years in the Hip Hop game, the lyrical blacksmith has forged classics over and over. With over 50 awards under this belt, notably the only of the few artists in the Philippine music scene who has won an award for every album he created, Gloc-9 recently even got handed the prestigious Sudi National Music Award by the National Commission of Culture and Art. Now entering the silver anniversary, Gloc-9 plans to keep doing what he does best - pushing Pinoy Hip Hop to the world and opening more gates for rappers of the next generation.
Now let’s hear it from Gloc-9.
What can you say about the Hip Hop music industry?
I think it’s at the point now that any music seems to be able to blow up because of the internet and technology. This is a big deal especially for beginners, who have a chance to release songs online and find an audience. There's always an audience, I think, and that's also what I've probably proved by being an independent artist and now during the pandemic. Twenty-two years ago, I was at a recording company and they released my songs. Now I am the only one releasing my songs on my YouTube channel. And I still feel connected to the friends who still support my work.
At what age did you realize that you enjoyed rapping?
I started in elementary school, and I love to rap. I grew up in Binangonan Rizal, and at my school in Morong, they already knew me as a rapper. Of course, I only memorized the raps of my idols at first, until I started trying to make my own rap.
What is your musical inspiration and how does that translate into your music?
I consider myself a storyteller. My personal story matters more than anything. My story, the life story of my neighbor, and the stories of the communities I belong to. So maybe a lot of people are related because the communities we come from are the same, so the stories are similar, and more people can relate.
I just love telling stories about what I see every day. My personal life, my friends, and everyone in my life. So yes, my daily life is basically my biggest inspiration.
Are there days when you cannot write or make music? If so, what do you do about those days?
If songwriting is a career, there can’t be a day when you can’t write a song. Because it’s equal to your life, you have to make a song so that there is food on the table. You have to perform to educate the children. So I can't wait for the days when I can write. I have to write songs. I have to rap because that’s my job.
Let’s dig deep into your prestigious career. Tell us about your album Mga Kwento ng Maka, which was arguably one of your most popular albums.
For sure! ‘Sirena’ is the lead single of Mga Kwento ng Makata, which was released in 2012. Sirena takes a stand on discrimination and homosexuality. I collabed with Ebe Dancel on this song. Raimund Marasigan suggested at a concert that we write a song together about a gay person from a first-person perspective. It was a challenge since the topic is sensitive but I really wanted to write a song that promotes respect. So maybe if the intention is sincere everything falls into place.