Francis M

The Best of Francis M.

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Philippine rap owes a debt of gratitude to local rapper Francis M., who, along with Andrew E., helped introduce rap music to the populace. After recording for local label OctoArts between 1990 and 1993, he recorded a number of albums for BMG Records Philippines between 1995 and 2000. One hopes 2002's Best of Francis M. doesn't signal the end of his career, for he is truly one of the Philippines' most talented musical artists, rap or otherwise. In contrast to Andrew E. and other rappers who rely on jokes and silly double entendre, Francis M. plays it straight and makes music that attains international standards. Francis M. is a versatile performer, and his music can have a hard-edged, rock/metal ambience, as heard in the blistering "Pintados" (no translation); "Baw-waw-waw" (bark of a dog); and "Kabataan Para sa Kinabukasan" (Youth for the Future), on which he also sings a pretty chorus. He can also impart a soulful, almost tender touch, as heard on "Girl Be Mine," "Friends," and "Kaleidoscope World." He is known for his patriotism, and the hard-edged, "3 Stars & a Sun," the title of which describes the field of the Philippine flag, bursts with patriotism; "1-800-Ninety Six" describes events in the year 1896, during which an important uprising against Spanish rule took place. The searing guitar work on both songs is incisive. The cadences of Francis M.'s raps are well-executed and often mesmerizing, and the accompanying instrumentation is always sterling and attitude-driven. It's a wonder his albums didn't reach an audience beyond Philippine shores, and one hopes his career isn't over.

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