I’ve been listening to a lot of Pinoy gangsta rap over the past few days, and I must say I’m very impressed.
There’s a certain musical quality to a poem; the reason why it is often recited, sang, or performed is that the written verse cannot be separated from its sound, the aural nature of it. When you gather a bunch of poets together to debate and discourse on the “beauty of poetry” – pretenses of poesis and the decentering of the poetic subject (whatever that means) aside – you’ll probably come into an agreement that a good chunk of poetry is about sound. There really is no difference, at least to me, between poetry readings in swanky cafés and bistros that contrive the whole concept of the “artful,” and freestyle rapping in inner-city sari-sari storefronts that do descend into violence.
Give a starving artist a quill, he’ll write the great Filipino novel. Give him anger, and you got the great Filipino rapper.