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by Lionel Emil Javier |

Can you remember the music you’ve listened to for the past 5 days? I’d wager that a part of that listening list of yours contain some new artists, or maybe even rising stars from their respective genres. Heck, maybe some of you listen to Death Grips and actually like it! (Check them out. If you know, you know.) If you do, I’ve got nothing but mad respect for your music taste, but can we take a moment to just look at how the scene is doing right now?

Since mankind first discovered that they can make sequential sounds that produce different effects and have welcomed to call it “music”, it is evident that as living beings, we have been evolving. After a time, we have been expanding our means with regard to making music because it is beautiful to hear. It is basically second nature to us to listen to it, especially to the ones who created its overall music composition.

But people have realized that they can resort to music to say something important.

People make music for a cause to express themselves and tell their message. In my opinion, music serves as a loudspeaker for some of the oppressed. It is utilized as a tool for change and a gateway for revolutions. When people would turn a deaf ear to the oppressed, it became clear to me that no man is deaf to music. Music serves as a voice, and musicians like The Beatles, Elvis, Wu Tang, Eminem, Public Enemy, KISS, and Queen, among many others, have supplied strong emphasis on their song lyrics.

Today, we live in an era where every song possibly means something to a certain someone, whether the artist intended it to mean something or not. As listeners, the message not only impacts us, but we also have our own interpretation of it, and it contributes to the variety of opinions it pools on.

This is the awesome part.

Music operates on many different genres and we can’t enumerate each one in detail for the sake of brevity. One of the most well-known genres are pop, hip-hop, jazz, rock, folk, and indie. Not to mention that the genres mentioned are booming in their own respective paces; I think my 12-year-old self would say that music is so divided.

And this is where I’m building it all up: have you ever stopped and wondered, how could something so diverse unite the people as one? 

I’m sure that all of you have heard the phrase “One in music.” Hearing it for the first time, its definition would’ve sounded a lot like confusing bouts. After all, people have different tastes or preferences in music, and they are willing to stand up to other people that try to go against their favorite genres, songs, and bands. Maybe you’ve seen that meme that compared homage-worthy bands to rising acts, calling the latter’s music trash just because – that example can support my claim.

And I hear your sentiments about it. In fact, I have a stand: I think that people are trying to divide what’s meant to be one. It’s not about who’s better than who. It’s not even about how much “clout points” – influence, power, fame, money, style – an artist or a track has. Music’s about being a thing that everyone can agree on; something that brings everyone together. You could even say that it’s a bridge for each other, whether to communicate or to help.

Around 2010, a lot of civilians were severely affected by a strong earthquake that shattered Haiti, Chile. The said country asked for assistance from the other countries around the world, and musicians of different nations answered their plea. Conditions were harsh, but the Haitian people weren’t losing hope.

A supergroup of highly reputable musicians was then formed to address the matter and “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” was created. The lineup included Josh Groban, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Yelawolf, and the late Michael Jackson, among many others.

This song raised awareness and encouraged the people to help out in any way possible. I saw how music played a role in having everyone become united. I was a young 10-year-old then, and I felt the drive to help. The vision was clear.

They want to help, and because of them, I want to help, too.

This is how powerful music is. This is what I would want everyone to know. The possibilities are limitless, and the wonders and diversity of it is still amazing… and it’s a great window of self-expression, too.

In Post Malone’s new album “Beerbongs & Bentleys”, we see how he writes ballads for the people and the events unfolding in his life. Another new album that was recently released is J. Cole’s “KOD” and we see how he spins the theme off really well with bangers that is in line with the story it’s trying to paint.

These people are expressing themselves while telling a narrative through catchy beats and melody, and people like what they put out. In fact, they have their own cult following, and their fan bases show no sign of slowing down in terms of numbers. I believe because of expression, the artists lay themselves bare for people to see and hear their messages; and people often gravitate towards what’s authentic.

What if we looked at the current scene with this kind of perspective?

The local music scene is making its presence felt and screaming louder than ever before. With the messages it gives from their origins and upbringing, artists around the country are giving it their all to show what they have to this community, hoping that people will listen to them.

People are actively participating and supporting their movement; and we all know that it won’t stop here. Everyone is out to create more – even the ones before the current ones. The bars of Francis M and Gloc-9 built OPM’s Hip-hop culture as we know it with their timeless stories and truths. Today, we have artists like Al James and Shanti Dope giving the concept of love a spin in their music.

Hip-hop’s not the only one who’s coming up with new stuff, as the Indie scene is causing a ruckus with the music of Ben&Ben, Coeli, fern., Clara Benin, Reese Lansangan, and a LOT of new artists popping up on our radar. (Do I even need to mention IV of Spades?)

However we like our music, let’s try to listen beyond the records of what they’re trying to say. Maybe they can help you get through a tough time. Maybe it will make you see a truth you’ve been oblivious of. Maybe it’ll even spark something in you that will trigger a call to action. Whatever that may be, listening might help you see the ties in which you think is divided in the world of music. Music unites and does not divide.

Written by: Miguel Mosuela

Illustrations & Art by: Brian Villanueva