"I am Lapu-Lapu,
the first rebellion
The bolo that chopped off
the head of Magellan"
It doesn't seem that long ago when Kiwi was hoo-riding open mics and hustling poorly recorded demo tapes all over Los Angeles. Years later, that same hunger and humility has brought him back to one of the most important crossroads in his life, as the former Native Guns emcee enters his long-awaited rebirth back into the world as a solo artist.
Kiwi's body of work is telling. He has rocked shows up and down California, as well as Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Honolulu, and Florida, sharing the stage with the likes of Medusa, Common, the Visionaries, Blue Scholars, Black Eyed Peas, Dilated Peoples and others. His library of music includes Native Guns' "Barrel Men" and "Stray Bullets Mixtape" CDs, and his classic first solo album "Writes of Passage: Portraits of a Son Rising" (which is part of the syllabus in San Francisco State's Filipino-American Literature Class). He was also the former host/producer of Apex Express on 94.1FM KPFA in Berkeley, and currently coordinates and co-facilitates the Hip Hop Workshop series for young folks at San Francisco's Filipino Community Center. Most recently, Kiwi had the honor of being featured as a Keynote Speaker at the 2007 Sandiwa Conference.
"My motivation is to get
you to respond
I ain't tryin' to keep you here
I'm tryin' to get you beyond"
Kiwi's sound isn't just for the head-nod, but for critical dialogue. Those who see Kiwi on the regular will tell you that his music is a direct reflection of his organizing work in the Filipino community. Those who really know him will tell you that beneath all of that is a complex being, a former gang-banger, a high school dropout, a proud product of a single mother, a survivor, and a man in constant search of peace and wisdom. This balance between art and activism, the personal and the politics, as well as his fiery presence onstage and in the recording booth has given him the gift of supporters and listeners worldwide.
His latest project "The Summer Exposure Mixtape" was officially released June 16th, setting the stage for the highly-anticipated exhale of his second yet-to-be-titled full-length album, coming November 2007.
"In this land of pimps, playas,
and playa hatas
What ever happened to the
teachers and the motivators?"