Music has been an avenue for people to showcase their talents and express their thoughts, feeling or emotions through the lyrics they create, sing and produce. However, music is also used to deliver messages that the artists want the listeners to understand. This is where Hip hop, a genre of music becomes a powerful medium because of its impact towards the listeners, and society itself.
The music industry gives artists numerous opportunities that results in fame and fortune, but this is not easy for everyone. Despite music being one of the hardest areas to succeed in, many still choose to purse their dream and passion in this industry. But the question is, what keeps them pushing forward?
Martin Lewis P. Melecio or mostly known as “Krayetnik” is a 31-year-old artist born and raised in Baguio City whose roots come from Kankana-ey and Ibaloi making him a full-blooded Igorot. Kray’s love for music started when he was three years old, he started listening to music on the radio and sang along. When they had cable TV for the first time, he started watching MTV or Music Television, a TV show that airs music videos which are guided by Video Jockey’s or VJs. His cousins from the States also influenced him by bringing him tapes containing hip hop music to listen to thus, started his interest in Hip hop music.
Kray’s parents saw his potential in singing. In fact, during Kray’s elementary years, his parents directed him to join the choir and also take part in plays in school. During his high school years, Kray had his first encounter with mainstream artists, luckily, he had the chance to jam with Arnel Pineda before he was famous, at a birthday party. It was at this time Kray started to explore music by purchasing CDs for him to listen to.
What transpired during Kray’s college years? According to Kray, he loved Psychology, but after his first year in college, he thought to himself, “What am I going to do?”, “I need to rap” Kray said. Scrolling through Friendster, Kray stumbled upon One Mic, a local group in Baguio City that produced Hip hop music. He then messaged One Mic’s page and got the group’s approval to join and according to Kray, “I went in, I never looked back”.
With Kray’s urge to make more music, he met with Lloyd Villegas, a member of One Mic. From beats produced from scratch and lyrics taking a week to compose, Kray was able to release “Me and My Turf”, produced by Pikaso. “Me and My Turf” landed on the top 100 songs of K-Lite and it is the only local music that was able to reach the top 100 up to this day. One song from One Mic was sent to Manila for a collaboration with Sly Kane. But his time with One Mic was not pure success as there were times that they had to do gigs in Manila for free that made them spend their own money for their expenses. Despite this, “We weren’t in it for money, we were in it for connection and experience” Kray said. According to Kray, his years with One Mic was where he had hands-on recording and where he devoted his time and effort.
From 2007, Kray was able to do collaborations with Pino G, Paul Royale, Toney Chrome, Just Hush of Maduming Kwarto, JSkeelz, Mike Kosa of the MOB (187 Mobstaz), Mista Blaze and Sly Kane (Blaze and Kane). Some of the music he composed are Come here and listen ft. JSkeelz and Mike Kosa, Unli Cherry (Maduming Kwarto Mix) ft. Pino G and Paul Royale and Baguio to Tondo ft. JRuss and Just Hush.
Unfortunately, One Mic had to go their separate ways as most of the members had other responsibilities and pursued their own career. Only two of One Mic’s members still continue to pursue careers as music artists within the Hip hop culture and Kray is one of the two. In spite of this, “One Mic as a rap group is gone but One Mic as a brotherhood is still there” Kray said.
What made him stay? Kray’s family are not all-out supportive when it comes to his present career, “They had high hopes for me” Kray said. According to Kray, his family pushes him to become a Lawyer so that he could be the one to continue his grandfather’s legacy. The thought of being a Lawyer crosses his mind but “I can only look at it but not be in it” Kray said. According to Kray, music serves as his identity, like he was born to do music. His passion and love for music serves as his drive to keep pursuing his goal as an artist and that is to “Cement my name in the community, my heritage in the game” Kray said.
Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley, Nipsey Hussle, and Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses are the famous personalities that Kray looks up to because besides their music, Kray saw how they dealt with their life and times and each of them had struggles that Kray could relate to because he himself had struggles that he had to deal with as well.
What is Kray up to now? Kray is still pursuing his career as a music artist. He is currently an emcee and is doing work under press relations. Why did Kray stay in the area of Hip hop? He sees the role of Hip hop as an important part of the society as it changes perspectives and makes people relate especially those who are disregarded or downplayed. “Hip hop is a movement and not music alone” Kray said.
As most people especially the younger generation begin to enter the world of Hip hop, what’s Kray’s advice? “Affirm first for yourself if you really want it” Kray said, as some only see the happy side of the industry and only care about the product. But if they really have the intent to continue this path, “Find yourself through it, I will not stop you because there are some things you have to see for yourself” Kray said. “What do you do if you are frustrated? Find another way” Kray said. Kray is in a stumbling block as of this moment in his life but instead of giving up, he found other ways which lead him to where he is right now. “Hip hop is not only for rapping, it’s diverse” Kray said.
Kray does not see himself stopping when it comes to pursuing his career in the music industry. Even if he may venture in another path, “I will make time to make music” Kray said.
Through Triadic Events and Promotions, Kray hopes that he would be able to put up his brand in a way that he’s supposed to be put out, help him with his goals and objectives, and help him help artists under his watch progress in their own craft.
Like Kray, let’s keep the flame of Hip hop alive.
Kray would like to acknowledge One Mic Fam, Maduming Kwarto, Playa Recordz, 187 Mobstaz, Tuesday Troop, Team Rekta sa Kalye, and TMP productions.