Shanti Dope and Flow G Are Checking up on Everyone in 'Kamusta?'
We’re in desperate need of a little emotional decompressing, motivation, and support. Whether that comes from friends, family, neighbors, or anyone who cares to ask “kamusta?” doesn’t really matter; the question is still valuable no matter who’s asking.
For rap superstars Shanti Dope and Flow G, the question is more than just a simple gesture of reaching out; it’s a way to let people in need know that somebody out there cares.
“Kamusta?” is the latest collaborative effort produced by Sean Patrick Ramos also known as Shanti Dope, hailing from Cavite, and Archie Dela Cruz also known as Flow G, hailing from Muntinlupa. The music video, which was directed by Jeremy Lim of BLCKMRKT Studios, has both artists sporting white jackets, white blings, and white snapbacks up on the rooftop as they send out prayers and wellness to whoever’s listening.
“Kasi parang siyang social awareness din siya para sa mga pinagdadaanan” Shanti says. For the Cavite-bred rapper, collaborating with Flow G–who has been receiving acclaim from generations of rappers globally–on the song was a case of sharing a concept with the right rapper at the right time.
“Gusto kong magparamdam na tao pa rin ako dito,” Shanti says. Both rappers have achieved fame and fortune since they started their careers, and both have even gained the notice of master rappers like Gloc-9. The duo also shared their realizations after an emotional two-year lockdown, especially as artists who make ends meet by performing live.
“Ang bilis din ng mga nangyayari,” Flow-G says. “Kaya nagstart kami as a group, ang dami na kasing nangyari na feeling ko na ‘snap’ yung nangyari. Kaya yung narealize ko na lahat to mabilis lang din ‘to, kaya yung sakin hanggat nandyan susulitin mo. Do it lang ng do it, baka bukas wala na ako, ang gusto ko lang nasulit ko to.”
Asked what keeps Flow-G going in the heavy emotional journey of the pandemic, he points to the crowd, almost unhesitantly, and to his wife-to-be, Angelica Yap, sitting right at the upper balcony of the theater press conference. There were collective echoes of exhilaration and excitement as both of their weddings are fast approaching.
Besides commenting on what they feel about the current pandemic and what it’s done to their mental health, Shanti and Flow-G said they are focusing on their collaboration, and making sure that not only is the message of the song received by listeners, but that the song itself is of top quality.
“Parang nung narinig ko yung verse niya, na-inspire ako agad,” Shanti said. “Parang may side ako di ako pwede bumalagbag dito, kasama ko master ko eh. Matagal kong ginawa yung verse ko eh nagpatulong ako kay [Flow G] anong magandang pointers na sabihin hanggang sa nagawa siya. Matagal kong ginawa eh, sa kanya mas mabilis yun ginawa niyang verse pero may ganung pakiramdam din na kalangan solid din neto.”
For Flow-G, collaboration was just a walk in the park. The song’s message was something he wanted to tackle for the longest time, but said his skills in melody-making was improved and inspired by Post Malone and other international rappers who have knack for making every track effective and reach as many people as possible,
“Wala naman na-set na standards talaga,” he says, “Yung projects talaga sa kanila nanggaling tapos ako ang task ko kasi naging opening ng kanta dun ako natutukoy, na pano nagiging panimula yung part ko.”
Both rap stars also took notice of other rappers in the hip-hop scene who have tackled similar themes, particularly mental health or the emotional threshold one has to keep in order to maintain balance. Citing examples like Lexus, from the rap group Owfuck, and Bataan-based rapper JRLDM, Shanti made it clear that even if there’s a hint of awareness in the track, they make sure that they make it a style of their own by the end of the day.
“Makagawa kami ng version namin,” Ramos said. “Hindi tunog pilit, na alam mong natural, ‘Ah oo sila yan.’ Kumbaga di kami nag-adjust, sobrang solid na gumawa ng ganon na social awareness, kahit ang angas pakinggan tapos may visuals pa na kasama.”
Watch the latest music video of Shanti Dope and Flow G’s “Kamusta?” here: