Born Wakin Burdado is one of the most respected rappers in The Philippines. A member of the group Madd Poets, D-Coy was one of Dongalo Wreckords' first rap artists. Later on, he joined Chill's Electric Chair Entertainment and is now part of Madd World Entertainment. D-Coy is also known for his serious and creative lyrics.
From the ghettos of Makati City, Manila comes D-Coy, the rapper extraordinaire and record producer that has a def knack for spewing speedy rhymes in Tagalog, and is proud as heck about it.
With a panache for fusing beat-conscious rhymes with a wide, sonic canvas ranging from smooth and sexy rhythm and blues to freaked out rap-rock through his collaboration with popular Filipino rap-rock beasts Slapshock, D-Coy has proven that he is more than willing to give almost anything a go just as long as it’s freaky and cool.
A true innovator in the Filipino urban music scene.
'Who's that guy?'
THE WHOLE thing began as a dare. One slow night at the 2bU! office, Maui, Jason and I decided to listen to a stack of albums still pending for review. We were silenced by the sound of two people moaning and then a guy whispering, "Sandali lang, kukuha lang ako ng condom." We froze for a few seconds—then we all scrambled for the CD cover. "What song is that? Who is that guy?" We asked each other. The "song" was actually an interlude before a ditty called "Safe Sex" and the guy was a rapper who calls himself D-coy.
D-coy who? I was about to find out. Maui, in jest said, "Sige nga, interview him," probably thinking I'd wave off the idea. I would trade my last pack of Tim Tams for a chance to see a replay of Maui's expression when I said nonchalantly, "Sure." Barely two weeks later, I find myself face-to-face with him. I am surprised to find that the guy who appeared almost sinister on his album cover actually seems harmless in person. He is short, possibly even shorter than me.
He makes Fubu (the brand he endorses) in Rockwell his playground. He hams it up for the camera, gamely posing as Mang Betoy snaps away. Later, we go over to Windows for the interview. Over sisig, D-coy leads me into the world of hip-hop – his passion, his life.
Nikusheen On in real life, 24-year-old D-coy has been in the industry for eight years. He tried different aliases, including "Bounce", but none of them really caught on. People just wouldn't stop calling him Cocoy. "I changed it to D-coy to have a more hip-hop touch."
Before embracing the hip-hop culture, D-coy was a simple kid from Sucat. "Hindi ako masyado lumalabas ng bahay. I came from a conservative neighborhood." But getting into music changed that. "I started as a dancer. Then I began writing songs. I met Andrew E. in 1995 and started working with him. That has changed my lifestyle. I was simple before. Now I'm more busy and I have less time to spend with the family." For D-coy, and for the others who share his passion, hip-hop is more than just music. It's a way of life.
Evidently, he feels strongly about the subject. "It's not a fad. It doesn't mean that because you're wearing baggy pants, hip-hop ka na. It's a culture. People say Filipinos have no right to get into hip-hop because they're not black. But we are adapting the music and the culture, hindi ‘yung pagiging black nila."
He disdains misconceptions about his music. "When people think about hip-hop, naiisip violence or gangs, which I believe is wrong. When I rap, I give situations, then I give solutions to these situations. I might not be as popular as other people but I want people to remember my songs—that in some way they helped, that in some way they were able to make a difference."
He also talks about the dilemma of the struggling rappers. "It's difficult. How to reach out to the public and have people appreciate you and your music without sacrificing your artistry. Ang hirap. Number one, because of piracy. And number two, because it's hip-hop. Hindi lahat ng recording companies naniniwala sa hip-hop. Radio stations don't want to play hip-hop."
He gets even more frustrated with the emergence of commercial hip-hop artists. "We've been doing this for how many years now, trying to show people what hip-hop is all about, tapos biglang may lalabas na nagpapa-cute-cute lang. It's hard."
D-coy is outspoken about his feelings. "There are a lot of hypocrites—people who are using you, people who take advantage of you. But you have to do it because you survive. I've had spats with friends because of money, fame and popularity, but that's not what I'm after. I'm doing this because of my love for the art." His album's name spawns from these sentiments.
"Plastic Age" is D-coy's first solo project. His group, Madd Poets, has been active in the hip-hop scene for a while now. Impressively, the album, which is full of catchy Taglish songs, also includes collaborations with talented Filipino artists – Jamir Garcia of Slapshock, Boom and Rhada of Kulay, Kyla, Chill and Radioactive Sago's Lourd De Veyra.
"I collaborated with them to show people that you can bring hip-hop to a higher level. Before I collaborated with them, I worked for Vibestation. That's how I met them. I'm so thankful they had faith in me."
Among the artists that he collaborated with, Lourd and Jamir are his favorites. "I love poetry so much. First time ko siya naka-jam, whoa, nagulat ako. People think Jamir is hardcore because he's from Slapshock but he knows so much about music."
His top picks in the album are "Crazy World" and "Sana."
In the future he wishes to collaborate with Joey Ayala, Francis M ("I opened for his show recently") and "this guy who plays the violin. I want to make a song that will have an orchestra playing."
D-coy fancies himself to be an evangelist of sorts. "I want Pinoys to be able to relate to the album. I want hip-hop to reach out to Filipinos. Like with my song ‘Safe Sex,' I want to prove that we can be entertaining kahit hindi bastos. That people can learn from us. All my songs are positive."
When asked to sum up the message of his album in one statement, he said, "Think positive. Nothing is impossible." An ironic statement from someone named after the lure of danger.
Despite all the difficulties, D-coy remains steadfast in his love for his work. He says the best thing about it is "freedom of expression. It's a way of expressing myself. This is my outlet. And the fact that I get to entertain people. Although some people don't understand, I try to make them. And that I get to travel and tour."
And the worst? "Not being appreciated and the negative comments."
D-coy takes everything in stride and believes that he was really meant to make music. "I think this is what I know. This is what I can do." While he doesn't intend to rap forever, he knows music will always be a part of his life. "Maybe by that time I'll have my own company or record label. I want to produce albums."
His ultimate dreams reflect his deepest passion. "I want the hip-hop scene to be recognized. I'd like to have my own record label...." He drifted off. Lest we think that he is after personal glory, he continues, ". . . to help other artists."
He claims to work well under pressure. "We have to get used to doing songs on the spot. My energy is high when I'm in the studio. Pressure works for me."
When he is not busy promoting his album and writing more songs, he reverts to his simple lifestyle. "I hardly go out of the house. I watch TV, write poetry, cook and read hip-hop magazines."
D-coy relaxes by listening to jazz, reggae and mellow R&B tunes. "I get drained when I write songs so after that, I listen to mellow music."
When asked what makes him different, without missing a beat, he says, "I'm so humble." I wait to see if it was an attempt at humor. Nope. It wasn't.
D-coy has words of inspiration for aspiring rappers. "Tiis lang. Wait for your time to shine. Darating ‘yung time na lahat ng paghihirap mo babalik sa 'yo."
Sort of like what's happening to him now.
The little interlude that became the reason for this interview hardly says anything about the man behind the music. And this interview merely scratches the surface of a whole movement of passionate souls still waiting to be heard.
We have a lot to learn