Francis Magalona

The challenge to writing a tribute or a eulogy to a celebrity is how to do it without riding on a bandwagon.  A celebrity’s death is always something made out of relevance, importance, immediacy, impulse, and urgency.  People change their status messages, people start blogging about how much of a fan they were of that recently departed celebrity.

It becomes even more of a challenge to write that tribute or that eulogy without wax.  Fluff it up where it’s necessary, make it cheesy where it counts, but to write that tribute knowing that you’re not the president or a card-carrying member of the Francis Magalona Fans’ Club.  I write this tribute as a passing excuse for a musician.  I write this post as a guy who, at one point in his life, listened to the music of Francis Magalona.

The philosopher Theodor Adorno once wrote that when you repeat a piece of music enough for it to be recognized, it becomes part of the pool of popular culture.  Francis Magalona brought with him things that, for a time, didn’t belong to the milieu of our music.  Francis M. brought with him rap at a time of ballads, MTV at a time of FM radio, and retained the clean-cut celebrity look and lifestyle as opposed to “gangsta.”  The repetition of the image and the music of Francis Magalona gave rise to that genre he was instrumental to: the Filipino iteration of rap and hip-hop.  For a fleeting episode in that series of fleeting episodes called music, Francis Magalona was Filipino rap.

When Francis Magalona died today, everyone listened to “Kaleidoscope World.”  Every color, every hue, memories of the legendary Francis M.  Never mind that epoché in music history where hip-hop was derided to the tune of “I Am The Man From Manila,” or to imitate Francis’ get-up was the height of “jologs,” or rap represented declassé.  Or that it was kind of difficult to drink Royal Tru Orange without having to have someone taunt you with verse from “Ito Ang Gusto Ko.”

As we grew up, every derision brought about by juvenile insecurities were shed, and you can still be “cool” if you sing “Mga Kababayan Ko” out loud at karaoke sessions.  Not because you’re the biggest fan of Francis Magalona, not because you’re a mark for his music, but because the music was there.  Francis Magalona was big enough a musician, an artist, and entertainer for you to know who he is, and what he stands for.

It is in recognizing and respecting that place of Francis Magalona where the mourning – and to a certain extent, the celebration – takes place.  Music, when committed into sound and harmony, has no other destination but repetition.  While Francis Magalona may no longer be here, we realize, recognize, and respect that place that he carved out for himself and the music he made.

We will all have our choices in music; our own preferences will determine what makes a song or an artist good, great, bad, terrible.  While I won’t have a pretense or a claim that I ever had a deep appreciation for the music of Francis Magalona, it is with recognition and respect that I give this pause to the man who made Pinoy rap possible; here, now, repeated.

47 thoughts on “Francis Magalona”

  1. i heard the news from a friend earlier today. i couldn’t believe it and i even said she was lying. because last time i checked, he seemed fine and all. and now he’s gone. i wasn’t very much a fan of him really. but i liked him nonetheless. great loss.

  2. My MAN! You are a true Filipino icon. The Master Rapper! or simply Francis M.

    Idol wherever you are i know you will always be the same with your patriotism in our country. You have thought us how to love our country and be proud of it by your words. you are our idol and our example for our kabataan.

    everybody can call you different name but you will always remain THE MAN FROM MANILA!!!


  3. Bro FrancisM!! Your music and patriotism will remain in our hearts!!!! May you rest in peace in the laurels and roses brought about by your love, for everybody, for every human being who loves music. We greatly honor you FrancisM! You’re one of a kind! You truly made us proud being a Filipino.You will always be remembered bro! Wherever you are, PEACE brother!

  4. truth be told, am not an avid fun of his. but, despite that, i am deeply saddened by the news. He sure did engraved his name in the history of Filipinos.

  5. Yo! francis M., my idol..may your soul be rest in peace..calling all Filipinos to pay tribute to our Master Rapper in tha Phillipine for being’re my idol friend..goodbye! master…

  6. i love Francis M, I remember when i met him in Heartbeat Disco way back 1990 with Richard Gomez, Willy Revillame & Monica Herrera. He was so good looking & i find him friendly. I met him again in laguna when we were going home from our trip to laguna.. that was summer time in 1990. He was i think on tour trip too, riding in a truck or i don’t know what was it.. it was a top down big car. Anyways, all i wanna say is that i feel so sad that he is gone now.
    We will miss him! I will pray for the repose of hi soul. We are thankful for all he brought to us Filipino people. You are an Idol!!! We will surely miss you! We love you so much! May you rest in peace.

  7. alam mo mr. francis m. ikw a ng inspirasyon ng lhat nming tga hanga dhil sayo na buksan ang pinto tungo s magandang kinabukasan. dahil sayong pag-panw kami ay nalulugkot wala kaming alam na mas gagaluing pa aayo kme buo ng aming pamilya ay nanawagan ng

  8. i am still saddened by death of francisM, perhaps i will always be, but i stand in awe and respect of him… his talent, his free mind, his courage in facing his illness. racked with pain or fatigue, he still thought about his country… that it, too, should be able to fight against the cancer of society that rizal talked about. there is not much hip people i know who admitted admiration for our national hero, perhaps afraid of being criticized rather unfairly but no less stridently by so-called progressive societies that in being a rizal enthusiast, a person goes against the revolutionary common man, bonifacio (not very well though out argument, if you ask me).

    francisM lived life fully, as many of his coworkers and fans have acknowledged. i am one of them in saying so, but let me also add that i deeply admire his ability to think and speak for himself, sometimes going against the grain of popularity, sometimes at the risk of being criticized as un-hip. perhaps it is because of his genuine talent and artistry that he continued to symbolize the youthful dynamism of pop music despite his fearlessly conservative family and spiritual values.

    francisM, i may never have the chance to say this again, and i regret that i never did say it out loud when you were here with us and you could have heard or read me, but i salute you. you are one of a kind… the kind that inspires people.

  9. hhmmm.. when i heard about it, I also remembered my mom who also died of cancer. I know what ‘s the feeling of being left alone… I remembered when I was in elementary I used to sing the song of “mga kababayan”. Memorize ko sya nung bata ako. To Francis, I know you’re happy with the creator. Pakaisabi na lng kumusta sa mama ko.. :-)… Hhhaaayyy nakakamiss songs and face mo.. Pero, you’re really the man! Thank you sayo and sa songs mo… U inspired a lot of people.

  10. Hi guys. It’s nice to know that we all recognize and respect Francis M.

    Jennifer: I’m not in Baguio (although I am from Baguio), and I think you can get the three-stars-and-a-sun shirts from the clothing shops anywhere, like SM City, Abanao Square, or Center Mall.

  11. xaassassssddddsgfdghrssasasaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasasasasasssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssccccccccccccccccccccccccccaaaaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddddfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffttttttrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrppppppppLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  12. I never got to know Francis that much, although I am his 3rd cousin. I was told by my Uncle that we are relatives and never had the time to become a close one. Now that he has continued his Journey to the next life. I am sure that he is there just watching over us. Life is a neverending story that goes on and on and on. What we make in life depends heavily on how we steer it, even on the other side.
    Peace out cuz, you will always be alive to each Filipino around the world.

    Esmer G

  13. lets give him a big applause because he do his best in the Philippines and also he brought back the Philippines into life because of his beautiful songs……..

    Thank you Francis we are proud of you i wonder you can read this………………………………

  14. To the family and friends,fans of the greatest filipino rap icon, I’m extending my deepest condolences. Francis M.’s legacy and fight to represent the Filipino culture will still lives on. It’s a great lost but his legacy will continue.

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