These are the tracks that caught the attention of fans upon FlipTop’s rise in popularity.
Just after around four months since its inception, FlipTop became a pop culture phenomenon in the Philippines. It introduced local hip-hop to a much wider audience and up to now, it continues to gain more and more supporters. Aside from the rap battles, the fanbase also showed a deeper appreciation for the music of the emcees.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane as we check out the tracks from FlipTop rappers that became popular during the first year of the league. It’s great to see that most of the artists on this list are still making moves in 2023. If we missed something, let us know in the comments section!
10. Skarm - Amidst the Night
Skarm left listeners in awe in 2010 with “Amidst the Night”. The track is a showcase of not only the English Conference emcee’s sharp vocabulary, but also his crazy metaphors, complex rhyming techniques, and polished flow. It’s a proclamation of underground rap’s rise, and obviously, the message was heard clearly by the public. Skarm made the beat as well, which is influenced by that gritty 90s boom bap sound.
9. NothingElse – Kawawang Bata
NothingElse is one of the earliest examples of unorthodox battling styles in FlipTop. However, he was already representing leftfield hip-hop years before the league started. His track “Kawawang Bata” came out in early 2009 and gained a small but loyal following. A year later, after his debut on FlipTop, the song quickly reached over 10,000 plays on YouTube. He described the various struggles kids experience in real life using creative symbolism and provocative lines.
8. People’s Future - On the Grind
People’s Future comprises emcees JedLi, Gap, and Verb, all of whom have stepped foot on the FlipTop stage. The music video for their single “On the Grind” dropped in mid 2010, and it gained a large following for its laidback vibe and catchy rhymes. While Gap didn’t have an impressive debut in the league, he was still able to silence his haters with this one. The visuals, which show the busy streets of Manila, also received a positive reaction.
7. Plazma - Rise of the Impaler
During this time, we already saw glimpses of horrorcore in Pinoy hip-hop with tunes such as “Ilibing ng Buhay”, “Piawsi”, and “Wang Bu”, but arguably, it was Plazma who first introduced the subgenre to the Philippines as a whole. His track “Rise of the Impaler” features his trademark dark imagery and vicious punchlines. Apart from hip-hop heads and battle rap fans, it also caught the attention of metal enthusiasts because of the various band references throughout the song.
6. Heavenly Host - Ang Sandatahang Lakas
Heavenly Host is a trio consisting of battle emcees Apoc and Dhictah and fellow lyricist Malachi. Their song “Ang Sandatahang Lakas” immediately received thousands of hits on YouTube upon upload. The track is the perfect introduction to the group. It’s a display of hardcore lyricism and raw energy with an aggressive boom bap sound. Just like Gap, Apoc didn’t really have a great start in FlipTop but “Ang Sandatahang Lakas” earned the respect of his critics thanks to his ruthless verse.
5. Zaito - Tamang Landas
Zaito made the fans burst into laughter in his first few battles in FlipTop but he showed a different side of him in his single “Tamang Landas”. Here, Zaito recounts his various trials and tribulations in life and how he was able to overcome them all. It’s a heartfelt song that served as an inspiration to many listeners. Apart from the positive message, the fans also admired Zaito’s songwriting, particularly his vivid imagery and simple yet touching lines.
4. Batas - Mga Putang Ina Nyo
Batas officially became the bad guy of FlipTop during the early days and he was proud of it! Even in his music, Batas was merciless and unapologetic. As time went by, more and more viewers started to appreciate the art form behind not only his style of battling but also his music. His track “Mga Putang Ina Nyo” is him saying he doesn’t care about the hate comments at all and he’ll keep it hardcore. Naysayers claim it’s just profanity-laced nonsense, but “Mga Putang Ina Nyo” actually contains tons of impressive metaphors and witty lines.
3. Dello - Minsan Parang Tanga Lang
Dello is one of the first FlipTop emcees to get a huge following not only because of his battles but also because of his songs. “Minsan Parang Tanga Lang” instantly blew up after he made an impact in the league with his matches against Batas and Target. Fans enjoyed the track’s battle rap-oriented concept as well as Dello’s clever punchlines, inventive humor, and remarkable rhyme schemes. “Sana Di Na Lang” was indeed his bigger hit, but no one can deny that “Minsan Parang Tanga Lang” was the starting point of his journey into superstardom.
2. Target - Game Over
When viewers heard Target’s intro song in his battle with Dello, they immediately wanted to hear the rest of it. “Game Over” is a diss track aimed at one of Target’s old rivals in the underground hip-hop scene. It swiftly became a hit thanks to the hard-hitting bars and delivery and the catchy hook. It may not have the heavy metaphors and rhyme schemes like the other tracks here, but Target’s confrontational style made up for it.
1. Loonie - F With This G
Like with “Game Over”, “F With This G” was immediately a hit when fans heard it as an intro song in the battle video from the inaugural Ahon event. “F With This G” surprised listeners at that time because most of them only knew Loonie for his Tagalog lyrics. Here, Loonie proved that he’s equally astonishing in the English language. He once again wowed listeners with his clever wordplays and metaphors and of course, his intricate multisyllabic rhyme schemes. It’s a braggadocio anthem that cemented Capital L’s status as the “king of rhymes”.
Obviously, a lot more artists and songs became huge in the following years. The beauty of FlipTop’s popularity is that it also provided exposure to the works of non-battle emcees. 2010 will surely be remembered as the rebirth of Philippine hip-hop. To the new fans, it’s never too late! Make sure you add these gems to your playlists.