Gloc-9, born Aristotle Pollisco, releases another album that is performing well on local countdown charts and record stores. His latest offering, Mga Kwento Ng Makata, is his first under new label Universal Records.
One of the stand-out offerings is "Sirena," which has topped music video countdowns as well. In a recent bloggers' gathering, Gloc-9 reveals details about "Sirena" and his thoughts on rap in the music industry.
"Sirena" tackles the life of a gay individual through the lens of the gay person himself. Gloc-9 says that there was a push from Raimund Marasigan to make such a song. He relates that when the two of them were backstage at a Yeng Constantino concert, Raymond said to him, "Pare, ang daming songs na about gay people pero wala pa rin gumagawa ng first person na point of view. Sabi niya, gawa ka, pare," recalls Gloc-9.
Immediately on his way home, Gloc-9 penned the lyrics and chorus of "Sirena." He points out, "kapag gumagawa ako ng song alam ko na rin sino kakanta. At that time si Ebe [Dancel] talaga ang naririnig ko. I'm very happy na si Ebe kumanta ng song ko."
When asked if there was a specific instance or incident that prompted the controversial "Sirena" song, he states that he is a firm believer in what international rapper Jay-Z mentioned in a documentary: "You do not force music and siguro whatever struggle there is... ang struggle ko is to make the song na may conscious effort na di ako maka-offend sa gay community."
"Nung sinusulat ko siya, every line na ginagawa ko, I treat it as a blessing, kasi 'di ko pa tapos yung line, alam ko na yung susunod."
His inspiration and encouragement to write that well and that quickly, Gloc-9 owes to how his parents brought him up and where he grew up.
Particularly for "Sirena," he says his neighborhood helped him to be very tolerant and appreciative of gays. While growing up in Binangonan, Rizal, Gloc-9 encountered a lot of gays.
"Pag umaga, makikita ko siya dumadaan sa bahay namin, mini-skirt, full make up and all, para pumasok sa parlor, at umuwi hating-gabi na, for the main reason na siya lang ang nag-tratrabaho para sa pamilya niya," recalls the rapper.
He believes that this is such a huge burden that it didn't matter if one is gay or straight, "para akuin mo yung responsibilidad na itaguyod ang pamilya mo, karespeto-respeto naman para sa akin."
The long-standing struggle of gays for acceptance by their families is illustrated in opening scene of Sirena's music video wherein the gay lead is dunked by his father in a drum and asked repeatedly if he is a boy or a girl. Gloc-9 explains, "Si Joey de Leon 'ata yun, nilublub sa drum, 'Lalake ka ba o babae? 'Babae po,' 'Ah ganoon, ah, lublub uli, ay sirena,' doon galing."
Aside from his neighborhood experience while growing up, Gloc-9 is aware of the presence and portrayal of gays in the media. Boy Abunda is featured in the video along with other prominent gay writers, artists and personalities. Gloc-9 tells us what Boy told him, "kung may makikita ka man na inappropriate na ugali or action ng ating kapatid na bading, makikita mo rin yan sa mga lalake at babae, di dapat manghusga."
To lighten the mood, Gloc-9 admits that "nahimas-himas na rin hita ko sa parlor, pero hanggang doon pa lang naman," which elicited laughter from the crowd.
"Sirena" has hit over 3 million views on YouTube and Gloc-9 explains its popularity, "kung ang bottomline ng kanta mo ay respect and compassion, walang barrier." He shares an anecdote of singing at macho-bar Cowboy Grill after midnight, "sabihin ko next song ko, huwag kayo magreklamo, ako ang songwriter, 'Sirena.' Tapos, natutuwa ako kinakanta nila, yung mga macho men: 'Drum na may tubig ang sinisisid / Naglalakihang mga braso sa akin dumidikdik.'
"Lalaking-lalaki, kinakanta nila ang song. I'm very happy na open-minded ang maraming kababayan natin."
Mga Kwento ng Makata also features Gloc-9's collaborations with other artists aside from Ebe Dancel and they are Jay Durias, Bamboo, Billy Crawford, Chito Miranda, and more.
Gloc-9 is known for his ability to connect with the audience, write meaningful lyrics in his rap songs and bringing rap to a more mainstream consciousness.
Of rap in the music industry, he says, "being a rapper dito sa Pilipinas, mahirap talaga." He explains that he had to switch labels and management several times, and that he "realized that it is hard to market a rapper if that is all people see you as."
He says he is "very thankful I got to collobarate with other artists, nakatulong talaga sa akin para malagpasan ang stigma." On top of that, he is thankful that people treat him as a real artist, and that "sana dumating ang time na maging kapareho ang treatment o ng eksena ng mga kapatid kong rapper."
MKNM (Mga Kwento ng Makata) Tracklist:
1. Balak ni Syke
2. Apatnapungbara feat. Ian Tayao
3. Silup feat. Denise Barbacena
4. Alalay ng hari feat. Allan Mitchell Silonga
5. Sirena feat. Ebe Dancel
6. Hindi mo nadinig feat. Jay Durias
7. Sino (interlude)
8. Salarin feat. Bamboo Manalac
9. Inday feat. Cathy Go
10. Bakit hindi feat. Billy Crawford
11. Malakas (interlude)
12. Pison feat. Chito Miranda
13. Thankful feat. Maychelle Baay of Moonstar88 & Bambu
14. Hari ng Tondo feat. Denise Barbacena
15. Kung tama Siya feat. Jaq Dionisio of Kissjane