Liham at Lihim: Gloc-9 Tackles Real Life Stories

After the phenomenal hit album “MKNM” with the single “Sirena,” Gloc-9 now introduces “Magda” in his newest record Liham at Lihim. Will the rap and hiphop icon outdone himself in this latest release? That’s what we need to find out!

Liham at Lihim

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Gloc-9 plays with other possible ways of telling timely stories, but never really talked about. He tackles real life stories: a prostitute interpreted from the point of view of the person who loved her, a person who has an estimated life expectancy and dying, the lives of Pinoy populace in general, about reaching goals, respecting others and recognizing your roots, struggle against power, a call for clean election, campaign against bullies, hooliganism, the rap artist’s experiences and mother’s unconditional love, among others.

Liham at Liham is 7 months in the making and was produced by Jonathan Ong. “May pagka-word play, lalo sa panahon ngayon na puro text at email na lang, parang wala ng gumagamit ng snail mail. Ang emosyon ng tao ay mararamdaman sa kung gaano kadiin inilagay ang tinta sa papel, ang emosyon ng mensahe na gustong iparating at ang emosyon ang taong babasa ay napaka-symbolic,” answers Gloc-9 why it’s billed as Liham at Lihim. “At dahil naniniwala din ako na ang bawat tao kahit ano man ang kinahinatnan o sitwasyon sa buhay ay palaging may story behind them. Talagang dapat na hindi tayo naghuhusga o kaya naman dapat ay laging umunawa,” points out Gloc-9 about the album’s main concept.

With this album, Gloc-9 collaborates with OPM’s leading artists including Rico Blanco in “Magda”, Regine Velasquez in “Takip Silim,” Marc Abaya in “Tsinelas sa Putikan,” Zia Quizon in “Katulad ng Iba,” Kamikazee, Biboy Garcia (Queso) & Manuel Legarda (Wolfgang) in “Kunwari,” Quest in “Siga,” Sly Kane in “Huminahon Ka,” Eunice Jorge of Gracenote in “KMT,” Gloc Nine in “Kwento Mo” and Denise Barbacena in “Hindi Sapat.” “Kung mapapansin po ninyo, wala akong collab na pilit na pilit dahil ako po ay taga-hanga ng bawat artist na katrabaho ko at marami pa po akong gustong makatrabaho,” comments the rapper. All songs were written by Gloc-9 and among the collaborations, “Rap Ka Nga” and “Itak Ni Andres” are performed solo.

Kilala mo ba si Magda?

“Magda,” the first single of Liham at Lihim and his first collaboration with OPM rock icon Rico Blanco. “Kahit konting panahon lang ang ilaan ng isang Rico Blanco sa kanta ko ay sobrang thankful na ako,” claims Gloc-9 as he recount how big his appreciation to Rico Blanco’s effort in Magda’s music creation.

Ernesto as the storyteller has found the girl he had lost in Magda. That he finds the latter as an adult woman, working nights on a stage, with only her shoes on, is all that we know about what Magda does. And while she might be the star of this song, it is Ernesto who speaks for and about her, and Magda’s silence is what fills the rest of the song.

The music video stars Jennylyn Mercado as Magda and Alex Medina as Ernesto, directed by Jay Pacena. “Noong sinusulat ko po yung song, meron po akong imahe ng babae na gusto kong mag-play ng character ni Magda. Naisip ko si Jennylyn, siya kase yung tipo ng habang tinititigan mo nang matagal ay lalo s’yang gumaganda. May certain pain sa mata nya kapag umaarte sya, sa tingin ko iyon pa talaga ang bumenta sa akin,” emphasizes Gloc-9 on why he prefered Jennylyn in the role. Checkout the dramatic and cinematic music video below and might as well vote for the song on MYX. You’ll notice his new look in the music video, it was mainly because of his battle against alopecia or we refer to as general hair loss. Video courtesy of UniversalRecPH.

“Magda” as they say is the modern version of Freddie Aguilar’s “Magdalena” with it’s new concept, spoken rhyming lyrics and a Fiesto Bandido sound because of its percussions. “Fan po ako ng kanta ni Sir Freddie Aguilar na Magdalena. Natatandaan ko pa noong bata ako naririnig ko s’ya palagi,” admits Gloc-9 his high respect to the legendary singer. It’s title was from the idea of his wife instead of using the same title as Magdalena. Protege Denise Barbacena voiced the letter part of the third verse which makes it more dramatic in execution.

Gloc-9 also shares his inspiration in writing Magda and part of it is the love for his only daughter. “Hindi ko lubos maisip na ang isang babaeng may tatay ay mapupunta sa trabahong ganito. Anong kailangang mangyari sa buhay ng isang babae na may magulang na nagmamahal at nag-aalaga para mapunta sa trabahong na napaka-unforgiving at sobrang masalimuot,” concedes Gloc-9. He believed that every completion of song is a blessing.

In his songs, his honesty and sincerity towards social issues were notable. “Sinusubukan ko pong ilagay ang sarili ko sa sitwasyon ng taong sinusulatan ko. Inilagay ko ang sarili ko sa kung anong pwedeng maramdaman ni Magda at ni Ernesto na nagmamahal kay Magda,” narrates Gloc-9.

“Ang ideal senaryo po para sa akin ay ang hindi isipin ang Sirena kapag gagawa po ako ng bagong kanta dahil para sa akin hindi po iyon ang tamang diskarte. Pero at the back of my head, alam ko po na medyo mabigat-bigat na kailangan sundan ang Sirena. Gaya ng sinabi ni Jett Pangan noong minsan nag-usap kami, ‘everytime you do an album at everytime na gusto mong higitan o pantayan iyong previous one dapat hindi ka ma-pressure dahil kung ang intentions mo sa paggawa ng craft mo ay based sa pagmamahal mo sa trabahong iyan ay bibigyan at bibigyan ka ng puwede mong isulat,’” demonstrates Gloc-9 as to how he is challenged in creating more better songs.

With his achievements and fulfillment as an artists, he is also thankful about his record label, “Ngayon lang ako nagkaron ng label na concern talaga sa trabahong ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” smiled Gloc-9.

Meeting the rapper

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The press launch was my first time meeting Gloc-9. It’s really an awesome experience though I didn’t have the chance to ask him a question. He is shy and straightforward at the same time. Beyond the innate talent in storytelling through his songs, what I most respect about him is his love for his fans. He talks to fans a lot in personally and social media. I saw his album in VIVA Records then when I worked there to arrange their archives. “He is one of those artists na hindi napapansin ang mga mungkahi’t salita. Ngayon ibang-iba na.”

Takipsilim, a bet for the next hit single

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The Magda music video was first presented to us before the question and answer portion. We primarily talked about Magda but he also shared his experiences in recording his collaboration with the Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez in the song Takipsilim. “Masayang-masaya ako na nakasulat ako ng kantang pwede kay Ms. Regine,” celebrates the rapper.

“Ang Takipsilim ay tungkol sa kung ano ang gagawin mo kung alam ninyong mawawala na kayo. Kapag mapapakinggan po ninyo ‘yung kanta, maririnig n’yo pong happy yung arrangement at ang melody ay bagay na bagay kay Ms. Regine. Hindi ko po ma-picture na i-instruct o i-coach si Ms. Regine on how to sing the song. We just gave her the song in advance, pinakinggan n’ya lang twice yung song at in 30 minutes tapos na,” exclaims Gloc-9 while showing his contentment towards the song. Regine Velasquez having a magnificent vocal prowess also added additional backup vocals in the said song which Gloc-9 is most gratified of. “Nalusaw ang garter ng aking brief after requesting her na sabayan ‘yung isang line sa verse na singing parts, last lines of the first 2 verses. Medyo nasira talaga ang ulo ko noong ginawa n’ya ‘yun,” describes Gloc-9.

I agree, it’s lyrical content sends me into the world of this person with life-threatening experience which gives me a bigger picture that we must learn on how to live life to the fullest. It’s melodic tune is only an icing on the cake. It’s pretty impressive to know that every tune we hear from his sound in totality were only recorded hums from his cellphone. “Wala akong alam na tugtuging instrumento pero thankful po ako sa aking cellphone recorder. Hina-hum ko po yung melody sa umpisa at inuubos ko po ang oras ko sa traffic sa pagha-hum ng mga melodies,” reveals Gloc-9 on how he usually determines a melodic phrase.

I wanted to know more about his collaboration with Marc Abaya, Eunice and the rock guys, among others but we have no chance. All other collaborations are to watchout for. Each songs is worthy of radio airplay. Another song he talked about is his song with his protege Denise Barbacena, “Matagal ko na gustong gumawa ng kanta para sa mga nanay para magpasalamat,” identifies Gloc-9 is this song dedicated for mothers which is entitled “Hindi Sapat.”

Liham at Lihim: A must-have album

I am too emotional about receiving letters and knowing secrets (especially if it’s exclusive). I am enlightened after listening to this album that I get to understand and dig the lyrics as I play the songs repeatedly. “Ito yung album na kahit saan mo sulok tignan ay may kabuluhan,” and his music was not just associated with rap and hip hop music but his music has a heart, significant and sensible. I’m looking forward to Gloc-9′s performance with all his hit songs in a bigger stage like Music Museum! Why not? His music and poetry are worthy to be heard. And may his songs continue to inspire us in the coming years to come.

Liham at Lihim is out in music stores nationwide or download it now via mymusicstore. More photos at the press launch HERE.

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