WAIIAN adds extra sauce to Filipino rap

WAIIAN adds extra sauce to Filipino rap

AFTER a three-year break from making music, Filipino rapper WAIIAN has reintroduced himself to the world with his latest album WEYAAT? (short for “WAIIAN, where you at?”), which finally hit streaming platforms on Dec. 1.

“Right now the hip-hop and rap scene is really expanding and everyone’s making better music and pushing the boundaries. You can’t just sit around and look cool now because everyone’s working really hard,” WAIIAN said in an interview with BusinessWorld at the album’s launch party.

“You can’t rely on how iconic your old shit is. You have to take it to the next level,” he added.

With nine tracks, his third studio album is thematically diverse but distinctly shaped by a keen sense of self-awareness. The groovy but sonically eclectic record features collaborations with Kashira, a music production company founded by critically acclaimed producers and musicians U-Pistol, Tatz Maven, and Calix.

WAIIAN cites a gut feeling for his knack for good collaborations and new ideas for music.

“My sort of metronome is just this feeling. Before, I had worked with people I didn’t know personally so the end result wasn’t as genuine. Now, it matters to me to work with people I vibe with,” he said.

The focus track of his album, “Pablo” — which is his real name — also reflects a jazzy, more laidback side of him. In its newly released accompanying music video, the simplicity of life takes center stage as director Joshua Cecario follows WAIIAN/Pablo finding happiness in little things.

This includes spending time in his studio and going on a motorcycle ride.

“I’m chill about all of it, but I’m proud of my growth. I think I have more precision in writing verses. They’re shorter but I can pack more meaning in them,” he said.

Written by WAIIAN himself and produced by Tatz Maven, “Pablo” solidifies his reputation as one of the most exciting young bloods in Philippine hip-hop. Instead of “spending 32 bars rapping incessantly on a topic” (as he says he used to do), he’s able to make one verse mean many things.

“My verses are way more compact now,” he said.

Now that the album and the focus track’s music video are out, 26-year-old WAIIAN is setting his sights on cultivating the rap and hip-hop scene.

“Artists from my label LIAB Studios, Yorko and U-Pistol, are coming up with an album next year so I’ll be busy helping them. I’ll put my own music aside for a bit,” he said.

WEYAAT? is available on all streaming platforms nationwide. — Brontë H. Lacsamana