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It’s a Morobeats family affair

“We can't all go to a party bringing the same food.”

LiFTED | Sean D | 16 May 2024

If you pay attention to Asian Hip Hop, you cannot have escaped IG reels of street warrior MCs spitting hard bars over chunky Boom Bap beats coming straight outta the Philippines recently. The crew behind this assault on the senses is none other than Morobeats, the self-proclaimed Boom Bap Kings of Asia. Started by OG Filipino producer DJ Medmessiah, the crew hails from Luzon and the Kings roll deep. But what about the Queens? One of the most compelling freestyles in their striking collection is by 24-year-old Miss A, who also happens to be DJ Medmessiah’s daughter. Her bars on ‘On and On’ with H20Klann have been on heavy rotation ever since we first heard it back in January. Now, her 21-year-old sister Fateeha has joined in on the fun, and she’s making her name rhyming on her father’s 90s-style Golden Era bangers. The best part of their story is that they are not only aware of the roots of Hip Hop, but they are also repping their minority Mindanaoan culture – a Muslim minority in the largely Catholic Philippines.

And they’re getting it right.

Hip Hop has always been about African American music culture absorbing new sounds and styles – everything from Rock to Spoken Word to Bollywood – to create new versions of itself. Hip Hop by definition is free-form and all-encompassing, as long as you can make it funky! So, let’s add some Mindanaoan Filipino adobo seasoning to the mix. So far, the results are glorious. LiFTED got a chance to sit down with Miss A and Fateeha, while DJ Medmessiah mixed and mastered the interview.

What’s good everybody? It’s so great to get you on LiFTED!

Thanks for having us!

DJ Medmessiah, how long have you been in the beatmaking and producing game? What made you think of starting Morobeats, and what does it mean?

I have been producing beats on and off for 31 years as far as I can remember. As far as molding artists, I started around 1995 in Mindanao and Manila. I had been dreaming of creating a label that I could call my own and have a distinct name that would represent my race and personality. I decided to create Moro artist lounge exclusively for Moro emcees at first but it was not enough for my vision or goals that I have globally. Plus, the first name was a bit corny, too. So I changed it to Morobeats and decided to open it for every race, religion, and walk of life. That way Morobeats can be a bridge to all the different tribes of people. The name Morobeats means Strength, Unconquered, and a baby’s first resistance to gravity is the Moro reflex. And of course, I am Moro from my Dad and Half Moroccan from my mom’s side.

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Miss A, your bars on ‘On and On’ are so confident and hard, and yet you also exude feminine energy. Is H20Klann part of the Morobeats family? Is English your preferred Rap language?

Thank you! Yes, H20Klann is another group part of Morobeats. English is my preferred Rap language but I challenge my flexibility with Tagalog Rap, too, so I have my people understand me and also cross internationally with English at the same time.

Fateeha, you’re the baby of the family I guess. Did you guys grow up wanting to jump on your father’s beats, or was it like he was trying to get you to rhyme for him?

We didn’t have to try so hard to get included. It all came naturally.

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Thank you so much! Yes, we had our traditional patterns called inaul worn through the Vogue dinner. Most of the cultural promotion abroad is more from the Moros. Like our food, music, textiles, and our traditions because Westerners deem them to be exotic. I don’t think our culture necessarily fits into the rest of the Philippines. I’d like to think our Moro heritage stands out and can proudly say that it’s greatly contributed to our country’s culture.

Fateeha: How important is it for you to rep your Muslim roots in your music? What was it like being from a minority community growing up?

Let me tell you, I represent the Moro youth.

DJ Medmessiah, your beats remind us of some of the best Golden Era producers from the 90s. Who are your all-time favorite beatmakers?

International I love Lord Finesse, Dr. Dre, Organized Noize, RZA, Daz Dillinger, Q-Tip, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean, Warren G, J Dilla, The old Kanye West, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, and many more. Locally I like Boom Dayupay, Johnny Krush, Artstrong, DJ Sonny, and Dash Calzado.

Miss A, when you’re writing, how important is storytelling versus rhyming words together in an abstract way? Both can be very effective ways of rapping.

Storytelling and rhyming are vital keys to making an impact on our listeners. But also, I can’t forget the intention and message I want to deliver for these two things to come together and unfold organically. You just have to let it flow the moment you hear the beat everything else will come to you and you’ll instantly know what to say and how to say it without force. I wish some MCs would learn the art of poetry, words, books, and dictionaries. It’s like upgrading your software; the more you attain knowledge the more you get to execute your message through storytelling and rhyming seamlessly.

Fateeha: Which Filipino rappers do you like the most, and why?

Shameless plug: Morobeats

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DJ Medmessiah, can you talk about the current Philippines Hip Hop scene? With Trap and even faster styles like Jersey Club dominating the charts around the world, what made you stick to the classic Boom Bap sound?

Current music is evolving into a rotation of many genres and leaning toward more Pop sounds. I’m very happy that everyone can explore and emulate their artistic expression in their own way. The charts and algorithms speak a different language compared to what Morobeats speak and we totally respect that. But we can't all go to a party bringing the same food.

All of you: Can you each tell our readers what 2024 looks like for the Morobeats family?

DJ Medmessiah: As for Morobeats and DJ Medmessiah I will stick to what I know and love, especially with the way we make music. We have thousands of songs that are waiting for the right time to be released and we are very thankful for all the support locally and abroad.

Miss A: More opportunities, milestones, traveling, and most importantly, music!

Fateeha: Success.