How exactly did the Loob @ Labas album revolutionize the scene? Let us tell you how.
Released in the mid-2000s under Warner Music Philippines and Vibestation Entertainment, “Rekognize: Loob @ Labas” is a compilation LP that forever changed Philippine hip-hop. It has 16 tracks featuring some of the most well-known solo artists and groups in the scene at the time. Compilation albums were already common then, but “Rekognize” managed to be one of the standouts. So what exactly made this record so iconic?
First, “Rekognize” came out at the height of a major divide in local hip-hop. The scene had a very “cliquish” vibe, which often led to rap beefs and unnecessary competition. “Rekognize” managed to unite various artists from different camps to work on a project that would bring the music to a much wider audience. The result was a beautiful mix of styles and sounds that left the listeners wanting more.
The album didn’t just feature pure hip-hop tracks. There are also songs with R&B influences such as “Freak 2nite” by Misteazas, “Bakit Ganyan” by D-Coy (RIP) and Amor, “U Lied to Me” by Kristyles and Blu, “Before U” by Sure Shots and “Yesterdaze Leftover” by Artstrong. Fans of posse tracks were treated to two different yet equally epic bangers in “Loob @ Labas” and “Magnificent 7”. The former focuses on the preservation of hip-hop in the Philippines while the latter is a showcase of lyricism.
Concept-wise, “Sa Mundo Ng Mga Walang Kapiling” is nothing new, but Syke’s powerful words and delivery made it an instant classic. Pamilia Dimagiba’s “Paradise Found” is a testament to the group’s raw lyrical style and boom bap production. “Hotter Than Hell” by BB Clan proved that Ali and Simon are still untouchable when it comes to ill rhyme schemes and metaphors. In “Utak, Lapis At Papel”, Madd Poets, with their witty lines and undeniable chemistry, reminded everyone that as long as you keep it real, you will survive in this game. Chinese Mafia, using their unique blend of hardcore and comedic rap, proclaimed that their back to wreak havoc in “Return of the Comeback". Sun Valley Crew’s “It’s All You”, Legit Misfitz’s “Yo Miss”, and 7 Shots’ “Keepin It Hot” showed everyone, especially the doubters, why they deserve all their mainstream success.
“Rekognize” should also be recognized (no pun intended) for its diverse selection of beats. It has instrumentals for the hardcore heads, the golden age fans, and like what we said earlier, the R&B enthusiasts. Production-wise, the album never dragged even for a bit, and that’s thanks to the overall versatility. It’s safe to say that this record set the standard for making beats and inspired a new generation of producers.
Physical copies of “Rekognize: Loob @ Labas” may be out of print now, but no one can deny the impact it made in OPM. Most of the artists here are still making music today, which just shows how dedicated they are to their craft. If you haven’t heard the album, don’t worry because it’s available on all streaming platforms. Make sure you also check out these Rekognize Allstar performances at ASAP, Martin Late @ Nite, and the album launch at Music Museum: