Richard "Ro3lay" Olayvar is a Filipino American rapper and artist born and raised in San Francisco. He recently dropped "Native Immigrant," a collaborative album with Mister REY that explores the duality of his experience as a Filipino American. In this episode, we dive deep into his album, talking about the motivations and meanings behind each track. He talks about the struggles of an artist in "Simula," the effect of savory but unhealthy Filipino foods in "Kawali," the intersectional experience of being a Filipino American in "Native Immigrant," the changing state of San Francisco in "Playaz," and a bunch more. Take a listen and soak up some reflections about poetry, rap, music, and hip hop. Ro3lay also shares about his family's history, specifically his mother, who also writes poetry and raised him in a very creative household. Overall, Ro3lay is a seasoned artist and performer. He has a few more upcoming projects to keep an eye out for, so listen and get connected!
Dre "Dre?Who" Cuevas is a Bay Area Filipino American music producer, DJ, event organizer, and all-around creative. He runs Homeroom Radio, interviewing local artists and creatives, and has also released two production EPs—LETTERS and Love Without a Limit. He's performed at numerous venues over the years and has recently begun organizing his own events and parties. In this episode, he shares a little bit about his production process as we listen to tracks from his most recent project. He also opens up about his growth as a producer and his experience of expressing emotions through his music. Dre opens up and is honest about his struggles as a student, especially in regards to moving to Southern California, away from his family and community. He found solace through music and has intentionally created his tracks to evoke certain emotions and feelings when listening. We talk a lot about personal growth, love, relationships, and creativity throughout this oped. Take a listen!
Kris "BerjaBeatz" Berja is an up-and-coming producer based out of San Francisco, California. Born and raised in The City, Kris is currently pursuing the craft of music production—consistently releasing beats and collaborating with local artists. We open this episode with a beat he threw together IN 15 MINUTES—dude can work fast. We also have a few more freestyle sessions throughout our talk, with Kris walking through his process of producing beats, from finding a melody that he likes to building the percussion of the song. This one is a fun and bouncy episode!
Aristel "Aristyles" De La Cruz is a Filipino American rapper, producer, poet, and teacher. Born and raised in San Francisco, he developed a love for hip hop through community exposure and cyphers, leading him to release multiple projects and collaborate with various local musicians, like Mister REY. As an alumnus of Balboa High School, he eventually returned there to teach an ethnic studies class through Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP). This experience solidified his desire to pursue a career in education. Graduating from San Francisco State University—like 80% of the other guests on this podcast—he worked in various local schools, before establishing himself at South San Francisco High School. Over the years, he's taught Ethnic Studies at this campus, eventually transitioning into his current focus of teaching English Language Development (ELD) to multiple grades.
Kim Davalos is an accomplished Filipina American educator, community artist, and counselor. Born and raised in Stockton, California, she moved quickly through academia, finishing her undergrad at San Diego State University and her Masters in Counseling at San Francisco State University—all by the age of 21. At the same time, she worked on her craft as a poet—participating in open mics and winning a slam competition during her undergrad—eventually taking on photography as well. She's currently working as a counselor at Skyline College. She teaches for CIPHER, the first West Coast hip hop learning community in the country. Using hip hop as a platform to engage students and promote academic success, she's now taking on the position of lead Coordinator for Rock the School Bells—a conference that uses hip hop and arts to engage and empower youth to excel in higher education.
Patrick Racela is a Filipino musician and community organizer based out of San Francisco. Originally from Pittsburgh, California, Pat shares his transition from student to organizer throughout his years at San Francisco State University. He became politicized though the League of Filipino Students (LFS) at SFSU and was also a member of the historic Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE). Currently, he works as a coordinator for Kabataan at the Filipino Community Center—a high school youth program—while also organizing for Kabataan Alliance, a national coalition of various youth and student organizations across the United States. In this episode, Pat shares a few raps and poems inspired by his life experiences and political education. We also talk about his various community exposure trips throughout the Philippines with Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network and his continuing advocacy work for Filipino issues and concerns.
Rey Timosa Novicio Jr. is a Pinoy musician, producer, community mentor, and mental health advocate. He goes by the stage name of Mister REY and has released both instrumental and solo albums. He also recently produced the whole Native Immigrant album of Ro3lay. Born and raised in Makati, Philippines, he immigrated to the US when he was 12 and moved into the Mission District of San Francisco. He participated in multiple youth programs such as Youth Speaks and has now transitioned into the role of facilitator. He has coordinated afterschool programs in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood—some specifically targeting at-risk 1st generation Filipino American you who were on probation. He has used music to support and youth and provide spaces for expression and growth. Currently, he’s the Program Coordinator for Filipino Mental Health Initiative, an organization based out of the Bayanihan Resource Center, which aims to provide community services and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Kevyn Lorenza just came back from his first trip in the Philipines! He was able to visit different communities in Luzon and Mindanao, with the specific goal of learning about the education system and the struggles of the various sectors in the country. He went with Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, based out of Daly City, and this episode has a few reflections on the trip, specifically about the struggles of the Aeta and Lumad communities. Our local hosts in the Philippines were PSET and Salupongan International. We talk about the shifting educational system with K-12, the problems in indigenous communities, and the exposure to martial law in Mindanao.
Rodney Manalo is a Filipino American musician who goes by the stage name of Mr. No Name. He was born in Daly City and continues to create and perform his music in local shows and events—this guy can rip a freestyle! He's also in the Year Up program, currently interning at a tech company, while still consistently working on his craft. He has long-term visions to work as an illustrator and character designer, while still maintaining his love for music. He shares his experience growing up in the Bay Area, his personal struggles with drugs and family, while also diving into the positive influence music has played in his life. There’s good reflections and advice on music in this episode—tangible skills to work on such as rhyming and cadence—in addition to personal reflections on depression and self-harm ideations. This one is worth listening to, especially for the amount of freestyles Rod dropped during the episode.
Kevyn Lorenzana is a 22-year-old Filipino American emcee, poet, musician, organizer, barber, and community organizer. He’s headed to the Philippines this summer on a community exposure trip to visit rural schools. Once he comes back in the fall, he will be pursuing a degree in Asian American Studies at UCLA. In this return episode, he shares an original song written for Roderick Daus-Magbual’s Filipina/o American Community Issues class and drops a few freestyle bars. We talk about his history of being an SF-born FilAm and his journey through realizing his identity—thanks to the help of Skyline College and ethnic studies. Kevyn is dedicated to serving his community and shares his long-term vision to be a teacher, especially for incarcerated youth. He shares experiences of being mugged at gunpoint as an 8th grader and the effects of the prison system within his own family, but also shares an understanding perspective in regards to larger systems of influence such as poverty and colonial mentality. Take a listen, be inspired, and join us on this journey.