What exactly made Death Threat’s second album “Wanted” such a classic? Let’s talk about it.
1996 was truly historic for local hip-hop. Lighthearted, commercially-viable tracks have dominated the airwaves for years, and it was time to hear something new. Two groups revolutionized the game during that time: Ghetto Doggs and Death Threat. We already talked about Ghetto Doggs’ iconic first album. You can check it out here. Today, we’re going to look back at Death Threat’s second LP “Wanted” and how monumental it is.
Death Threat dropped their self-titled debut record in 1993. Originally, there were only two members: Beware and Genezide. It gained universal acclaim for its gritty production and socially-conscious lyrics. The track “Gusto Kong Bumaet” instantly became entrenched in Philippine pop culture. Three years later, Death Threat made their return with a new album and a bigger lineup. Joining the group are emcees Hi-Jakkk and O-Dogg (rest in peace) and DJ Radikal MK.
“Wanted” still has the conscious rap feel of the previous record, but what made it different is its grimier and more sinister tone. This is where the group took us to the grim reality of life in the streets with tracks like “Salot ng Lipunan” and “Bad Boy”. In “Who’z Next”, the crew decided to strike back at their rival rappers and the infamous L.A. 105.9 rock station, where DJs often called out hip-hop artists and fans. It’s often considered one of the first Pinoy diss tracks ever written. “Ms. Mary” had a love song vibe, but when listeners found out what it was really about, they were shocked. It was a topic that many were still unfamiliar with back then, especially in hip-hop.
The album took an even darker tone with “Ilibing ng Buhay”, arguably the most popular track in the album. It’s about how the group will dispose of the conyos or the sosyals, basically the society’s elite. The lyrics are graphic and unapologetic all throughout, and the beat provides a horror movie vibe to the song. Without a doubt, “Ilibing ng Buhay” gave us a glimpse of Pinoy horrorcore. “Kickin’ Lyrics II” is the epitome of hardcore rap. The instrumental is hard-hitting and the bars are angry and confrontational. Despite its mostly ruthless content, “Wanted” also has glimmers of hope with joints like “Inay” and “Heaven O’ Hell”. “Inay” sees Death Threat showing their love and appreciation to their mothers while in “Heaven O’ Hell”, they expressed regret over their past actions.
Unfortunately, the full album is not yet uploaded on streaming platforms. So if you’re a new listener, you can try your luck with physical copies by sending a private message to the group’s Facebook page. If you already own a cassette or CD, don’t ever lose it. You have in possession a timeless masterpiece. Without “Wanted”, there’s a big chance we won’t see the rise of a heavier and darker brand of hip-hop in the Philippines. Death Threat went through several lineup changes after this, but they never stopped making music. They’re still active today and according to OG Beware, a new album is on the way. Salute to these gangsta rap legends!