The Philippines mourns the death of Pinoy ‘Master Rapper’ Francis Magalona aka Francis M. who passed away at age 44 on March 6, 2009.
The country’s president issued the ‘Presidential Medal of Merit’ for his display of patriotism and love of country through his songs. But it is a bit disheartening to see that he was only issued this after his death.
I won’t pretend and say he’s my idol or I’m his biggest fan. What I am is a fan of his earlier works (I personally feel Freeman and Happy Battle are his best) and always a fan of his creativity. His song Jolog (also from Freeman) was the first Tagalog song I ever sang with my high school band — we won 2nd place for it. I remember memorizing and pronouncing the lyrics perfectly while not knowing what half the words meant — because I’m only half-Filipino and my Tagalog is terrible in case you didn’t know.
I only saw him once at his gig back in ’95 at Club Dredd (the original one along EDSA) to promote his Freeman album. I was right up front the stage and I remember it bein’ one helluva show. Aside from Freeman tracks, he performed Rage Against The Machine’s Bombtrack and Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. He ends the gig by getting off the stage after the last song and walking out the club while his band (Hardware Syndrome) kept playing ’til he was gone. People didn’t know if it was over or not coz there were no thank-yous, good-byes or anything… he just left. It was one of the coolest things I ever witnessed! THAT’S how I’ll remember Francis M. – as a bad-ass performer!
I’ll end this with snapshots of my Freeman lyric sheet and postcard both autographed by the Man from Manila himself. Am I showing it off? Yes. How’d I get it? I snail-mailed his Fan Mail address. How’d I find it? I never lost it and never stopped showing it off whenever I’d have the chance.
His genius and creativity will be missed (coz Lord knows we don’t see much of that nowadays). He’s with the likes of Elvis and Lennon now so may he rest in peace.