The Master Rapper is gone.
Francis Magalona A.K.A Francis M, FrancisM, or Kiko, one of the country's pillars in the Philippine rap music industry, succumed to leukemia yesterday noon. He was diagnosed of having the illness in August 8 last year.
I couldn't believe what I was reading on the internet news feeds. My initial reaction was that it could have been a false alarm. Maybe a third-hand information gone mishandled or something. He couldn't be dead! Seven months after diagnosis? Not too soon! I just couldn't accept that possibility.
But then I saw the news on TV. It was confirmed. Kiko has left. I was like gazing in the TV monitor with a blank stare. He was only 44.
Not a typical rapper
What set Francis M apart from other Filipino rappers was that he wrote really good songs - nationalistic, positive, influencial, highly sensible. While most rappers crooned about the usual love and sex, Kiko sang mostly about social issues and love for country. Nobody came close to him in his niche. His music was one of a kind from the lyrics, to the sound, to the entire package.
He catapulted underground Pinoy rap into mainstream and even succeeded in merging hiphop, funk and rock.
Rap Is FrancisM (1992)
Meron Akong Ano! (I have something!) (1993)
The Best of FrancisM,was released (2002)
Citations and Awards
Featured in international hip hop publications All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop (2003) and The Source (May 2004)
Pioneer Hall of Fame Award at the 1st Annual Philippine Hip-Hop Music Awards (2005) Generations Award at the MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards (2006)
I have always adored the man ever since I was in high school. Our dance group performed in his Mga Kababayan (from the album Yo!) in one of the school's biggest events. When I worked as a DJ from 1994-2001, I would squeeze into my playlist any of his songs appropriate for my variety of programs especially in my "Hoy, Pinoy!"
I memorized the lyrics of his hits songs Girl Be Mine, Man From Manila, Mga Kababayan, Kaleidoscope World, 3 Stars and A Sun, Gotta Let 'Cha Know, Cold Summer Nights, Mga Praning, among others.
So long, Fracis M. You'll forever be remembered as the King of Pinoy Rap. Your music lives on.