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Filipino-American rapper Ez Mil revealed his decision to become a rapper in a new interview.

During an episode of The Boy Abunda Talk Channel on YouTube, the talk show host asked Ez Mil, whose real name is Ezekiel Miller, why he chose his moniker. The rapper first shared that he started his music career in the metal scene but decided to switch to hip hop due to a perceived success in making a different, “more popular” kind of music.

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Nagkaroon ng parang decision-making, so nagdecide ako to delve into the more popular side of music… because I know that going into that sphere of music and if I put, you know, as much effort as I put into my original passion in terms of genres, magkakaroon ako ng success don, in a way will transcend that was from before,” he answered. (Translation: There was sort of a decision-making, so I decided to delve into the more popular side of music… because I know that going into that sphere of music and if I put, you know, as much effort as I put into my original passion in terms of genres, I will have success in it, in a way will transcend that was from before.) On why he chose Ez Mil, he said that he just removed some letters from his real name to arrive at his stage name.

Asked if the decision to change his music was difficult, Ez Mil described the move as a “sacrifice” he’s willing to make for his family and future, and that has kept him busy.

He also shared with Abunda how the song came about, which he wrote while he was looking for a job after arriving in Los Angeles. Ez Mil also revealed that the track’s traditional folk elements were his mom’s idea, which was how he ended up using the melody of Cariñosa, a popular colonial-era Philippine folk dance.

The Las Vegas-based Filipino rapper went viral earlier this year after Wish 107.5 uploaded his live “Wish Bus” performance of his 2020 track, “Panalo” (Winner) on YouTube, which has since amassed nearly 67 million views as of writing.

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The track drew criticism from various government institutions due to its historically inaccurate lyrics, “Nanalo na ako nung una pa pinugutan si Lapu sa Mactan” (I already won before Lapu-Lapu was beheaded in Mactan), which he subsequently admitted to intentionally writing, but said he will not rewrite the lyrics so as not to “ruin the integrity of the recording.”

Lapu-Lapu Mayor Calls For Ban Of Ez Mil Over ‘Panalo’ Lyrics

Watch the full interview below (Tagalog):