Music Reviews

Gloc-9 – Sari-Sari Story (Album Review)

Gloc-9 has just released his new solo album. Here are our thoughts on “Sari-Sari Story”.

Dante Romero
July 02, 2024

On the 21st of June 2024, legendary emcee Gloc-9 released his new album under Universal Records. He held a listening party the day before at the Tower of Doom studio in Quezon City. It’s his twelfth solo LP in a career spanning over two decades. After over 20 years, does Gloc-9 still have the power to move listeners with his music? Here is our in-depth review of “Sari-Sari Story”. 

Gloc-9 remains a master when it comes to song concepts. “Sari-Sari Story” features a variety of topics, all of which are sure to catch your attention. “Panulat Mo” is the perfect opener for the album. In this song, Gloc shows his love for writing by rapping from the perspective of his pen. He then discusses his rap career in “Gatas at Asukal”. Gloc started with some hard-hitting braggadocio lines before talking about his humble beginnings. It will surely inspire aspiring emcees to keep doing their thing. The title says it all for “Utang Clan”. It paints a vivid picture of people who refuse to pay their debts while having the nerve to go on a spending spree. We certainly know a few individuals who are like this.

Many think that fame is all about relaxing and living the good life, but “Puyat” creatively details the exhausting part of being on the road. Despite lacking sleep, Gloc-9 continues to push through because of his love for the art. “Sagip” tells the story of a thief who botched a robbery. We won’t give any spoilers here. You have to wait until the end to find out the clever twist. “Tinda ni Linda” is the album’s carrier single, and sees Gloc-9 in horrorcore mode. It started as a typical love song but concluded in the most macabre way.  Like “Sagip”, it’s better for you to find out the disturbing twist for yourself. In “Tatlong Taon”, Gloc takes on the role of a balikbayan box and talks about its content and the family of the sender. It’s about the struggles of an OFW, particularly the fact that they live far away from their loved ones. The song’s conclusion may be shocking and sad, but it’s a reality. 

“Alimpungatan” is about unrequited love and while it’s not a novel concept, Gloc added layers to it that made it a much more surreal listening experience. “Yakap” begins as your standard song about good friends only to have a shocking conclusion. Here, Gloc-9 talks candidly about depression, urging listeners to take it seriously. “Idol” is the tenth and final track in the record, and sees Gloc-9 teaming up with fellow emcees G-Clown, Hero, and Ramdiss. Gloc-9 sang the chorus while the three guests provided the verses. It tackles the dark side of fandom and while some might compare it to Eminem’s “Stan”, “Idol” is different thanks to the excellent exhibition of rap flows from everyone involved.

The album is a testament to Gloc-9’s flawless storytelling skills. Once the first song plays, you’re instantly hooked and can’t wait to hear more. The lyrics are often deep but Gloc-9 made sure it’s easy to digest for the listener. Another aspect of “Sari-Sari Story” that deserves praise is its courage to tackle very dark topics. Gloc-9 wants to send a message, and it doesn’t matter if it disturbs a few along the way. Sometimes, we need to hear about the less-appealing side of life in order to understand the world more. It has been Gloc-9’s approach since he started rapping and we’re glad he stuck by it.  

Raymund Marasigan is the man behind all of the beats in “Sari-Sari Story”. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s most well-known as the drummer of Eraserheads, guitarist and vocalist of Sandwich, and beatsmith of Squid 9. Gloc-9 is the latest on his list of iconic collaborations in OPM. He has done a few hip-hop projects before and you can see his evolution here. The music is generally hip-hop (a mix of traditional and new school) but Raymund brilliantly incorporated elements of jazz, pop, and some rock. This experimental approach worked really well throughout, effectively matching the vibe of every subject matter. Whether it’s upbeat, melancholic, or grimy, Raymund proved through his beats that he can hang with the country’s top producers.

To answer the question in the introduction, yes, after all these years, Gloc-9 is still one of the best emcees in Pinoy hip-hop. He displayed in “Sari-Sari Story” his impeccable ability to craft thought-provoking tales while keeping his trademark flow intact. Production-wise, Raymund Marasigan showcased his musical diversity in his beats, adding more impact to the songs. The album is another solid addition to the rapper’s already impressive discography. “Sari-Sari Story” is now available on all streaming platforms. You can also check out the lyric videos on Universal Records’ YouTube channel.