Detailed, Poetic, Reflective… <untitled>
Last August 15, 2020, an EP of rap songs was officially released in Soundcloud by the newest rapping “creeps” in town masked behind the name Kalsada Kamarilya Kolektib, or KKK, in short.
Given I am here to be sensitive enough to deem this thing highly important, if not to pretend as a professional critique to omit nothing, it appears appropriate for me to anchor this review to that striking, yet historically common, acronym. KKK.
From this point on my conjecture ushers me to questions: What is this KKK really about? Is this indicative of an artistic mobilization? Or is this a musical gang showing off an intriguing flag name but disappoints for its mere decorative purpose?
“Kamarilya Krip$” is the first track that rightly sets in motion the erratic makeup of the whole EP. This specific song is a collective effort of b_Asura, krzE!, AHA$, RAUL and KINNO. So to speak, nothing of much difference could I observe from this track in its place in the wide range of musical orchestration already out for our ears.
As its title provides, this song serves as a gang anthem where the “creeps” share their similar interests and violent capacities. (It is in the remaining songs that we can hear variance between the rappers.)
“Kamarilya Krip$” is thickly layered with hardly any segments of alternating high and low backdrop; this song is like a collage, composed of fragments of overlapping different rap genres. Sounds as if it has used up all the music genres it could, it exhausts the listeners’ hearing sense in reality. I shall say that this track approximates to Psychedelic Boy’z Batang Pasaway in the way of a comic strain in effect that persists along with the horrifying backdrop throughout the song.
In Batang Pasaway, it’s the combinatory of lyrics and performance that forms the comedic addition in the flesh of the song while in Kamarilya Krip$, it is barely audible, but it is perceptible nonetheless.
The high pitched b_Asura supports this odd observation in a little but firm way. In the next songs, b_Asura will prove this stance credible. Coming back, this distinguishable, though deniable too, aspect doesn’t only tend toward weakening the message of brutality; it also does reverse the roles of the artists and me being the audience.
To present this reversal of roles in a non-purely imaginative manner, just in time RAUL’s “Dayo” follows. This second track is a fitting flow of personal tale through the demands of quick transitions of audio effects on the background. “Dayo”, as a noun, means “foreigner”, someone who is new in a place and hasn’t lived there much enough to finally outgrow his designation. Having said that, the rapping “dayo” alerts me in his verbal use of the noun (“iba’t ibang planeta dinadayo”).
A significant hint emerges that these Krip$ are new residents in Kalsada Kamarilya. In fact, Kalsada Kamarilya is an informal Tagalog translation of the existing Camarilla Streets in Cubao, Quezon City.
Integrating street or city names in a rap group’s identity is not a new case to point out. The history of rap culture informs us this particular tradition as a way of honouring a rapper’s or rap clique’s physical origination, as well as protecting their locality. We have Binangonan Hustla, rappers from Etivac (Cavite), Lagro Bastard Crew (LBC), you name it.
If I am right with my inference, this creeps (krip$) are still a whole foreign clan in Camarilla Street to have that name claimed in their rap identity. If I listen back to the first track, I still presume that it is a song to lead us to the wretched minds of the creeps yet I still see from the window of my mind that it is as if a number of creeps start rapping aggressively out in Kalsada Kamarilya, throwing lyrical punches in the air, yelling their declaration of the area to no particular one, but to everyone who lives there.
Out of nowhere, these angry people are the ones to come out and at us in a mode of defence. Isn’t that a confirmation to the comic undertone I mentioned? But thanks to the electric guitar being the instrumental outro as it saves successfully the notoriety of the song’s spirit.
As a whole
As I said earlier, the first track plays as a brilliant preview of what we could expect from the whole EP. The teaser track, on the other hand, which is the first interlude, covers up the large portion of the EP, although it should be acknowledged in its commercial employment.
Different provocations, supporting ingredients are already delivered. But that doesn’t mean nothing more is there to listen to and understand. Take as an example my favourite, the third track, “Fcking Lui”. Before we even get to the first interlude – which this provides a short rest to my pair of ears by calmly laying out the EP’s keywords: “fuck,” “smoke,” “weed,” “fly” – this third track already disconnects us from the autobiographic perspective of the first two songs, which then we are turned to look at Lui through b_Asura, krzE! and RAUL’s work of biography about him.
“Fcking Lui” is not a posthumous praise, neither is it a lovely friendship letter. A continuation of a type of music that makes me bop, with all the noise and cuss words here and there, the way Lui is affirmed entails a personal relationship between him and the rappers. Not only that, he appears not just another crew member. He must be someone on a higher dose of savagery, being supplied by the crew. My creativity yields to an extent where I discover a link in surprise. This is what a little research and freedom does to a person. Camarilla, actually, is a name for a small group, with bad intention, influencing a king or a political figure behind people’s back. If Lui is that king king, I am indeed listening to a Camarilla, not a Guerilla I hoped for.
Of same low and dark vibe, “G$D” and the second interlude next to the first interlude returns me to a length of lyrics. Though it is not written, I believe that the second interlude is sung by krzE! A similar level of haze is maintained in both songs, with krzE!’s steady tone, a pungent intoxication effectively exudes. In G$D, the rapper invites, in the second interlude, he rejects. Both narratives entrust to me the vulnerable state of the narrator. This monotonous component in the EP is not as refreshing I would want to declare here. For all I know, after the all replays, sobriety is what’s missing here.
Obscenity? It’s spread across all tracks. Though the fifth track’s title: “Suck On My D*ck” may immediately put us in anticipation for sexual stimulation, its content is rather explicit in no special way anymore today. The language is not deeply dived into for stronger sexual outcome. In a way, this song can be offensive, but I recognise it in an ordinary social arrangement where a male weasel’s life is incomplete without a complimentary female to swagger with. With complimentary female, I mean a smarter woman.
This review has gone far enough that it feels like it has gotten unfastened from the initial conjecture. The significance of going through all interpretations at hand, with all the tracks and interludes, is for the review to arrive at an ending with the right amount of endeavour. For now, with the last track of b_Asura and krzE!, “Boujees”, I can say the effort is being paid off, or so I thought.
“Boujees” is the slang of the word “bourgeois”. In the last track we hear a phenomenological account of a young rich man, mocking in his mimicry of an old man coughing in the song intro. Taunting is this track’s overlaying lyricism up until the end where a specified demographic, the poor, is being targeted with profanity for reasons the collaborating rappers don’t disclose. The character goes to a place, to waste money, in everything the poor “cannot afford”. This young rich man is unbelievable if he lives somewhere in Camarilla, where we can find a community of poor people between large houses, apartments and cars. But it’s possible, you say. I agree, to only a minimum extent of agreement there is.
Always thanks to b_Asura and his high pitched voice, beyond simple comedy, his vocal disposition attenuates the superficial scandal of this track. It rather reveals a caricature head and a face of satire. Indeed, this track is a covert exposition of the owner of the shoes the rap artists are wearing this time.
In all art executed by all people from, if you may, wherever in the social hierarchy, we expect empathy as a passage through any social divisions. We are looking forward that on the other side we meet other people on the same ground. But what if we happen to meet them on the same physical ground? And they aren’t on the other side but are walking with us, only with pair of branded footwear? We become angry.
Albeit the lack of sobriety and, also, the emotion of melancholy in being strangers, the whole track becomes visible now in the light of, so to speak, the street lights in Camarilla. The dominant expression of anger, a justified anger, all over the place mildly fades in this realisation.
Becoming crucial is the existential challenge to root deeply in the new residence, only after then could the new Kolektib in town makes real sense of Kalsada Kamarilya. This proposition doesn’t depreciate the artistry. Opposite to that implication, my review has aided me to the present.
The conjecture I have is shaped by the thought of the original KKK of Philippine history. Maybe that’s so much of a thought, maybe I am wrong. Without the necessity to delve into the past, the KKK served to our table is an existing collective artistry, which should not be abbreviated in a parasitic vision.
This collective of rappers remains mysterious; guesses are still to be replaced with proofs. So let’s not shut our windows to them, instead we invite them over a dinner. The approach, misguided by a prospect that these creeps are a band of musical Vendettas is disappointed at the point, exactly in the last track, when the rap creeps put off other people’s shoes instead of masks, and then we see no criminals but new neighbours.
Check the entire EP out by clicking here, now go and see for yourselves if KKK is the next collective to look out for.