Being home to one of the oldest hip hop scenes in Asia, the Philippines has a flourishing, extensive hip hop communities that one might easily overlook—even hip hop fans within the country.

Just this month alone, Pinoy hip hop has proven there’s so much more to discover. Maybe it’s the warmer and more humid summer, a new government, and looming threats of new COVID-19 variants that made the month of May in the Philippines more intense than usual, to say the least.

This outpouring of emotions, however, left a lot of us audiences to look for alternatives to cope with the situation, as well as for artists who are to make their material worth listening to for their respective audiences. Below, we listed down new releases from 10 Pinoy hip hop and R&B artists worth checking out:

Run Deliks – “Get Along”

Rap-duo Run Deliks has written an anthem for all lovers out there for the year 2022. From rapping about their favorite fishball stand to ‘getting along’ with their partners, the duo injects 80s-inspired city pop visual imagery, and drum fills that add to the bubblegum pop tendencies in-between the groovy basslines.

Feifei – “BIIITCH”

If there’s one thing you should know about Feifei, double-crossing her is not a good idea. The Filipina singer-producer is out for revenge in her latest single “BIIITCH,” feeding off the discomfort. “Now I, now I got you feeling scared / that I couldn’t catch you in the end,” she sings in autotune. The beat gives off witch house mixed with Kirby Nintendo-inspired production alongside ambient synth that’s a callback to cloud rap circa 2012 in the outro.

Khael Domaro – “Ako Si”

Khael Domaro has introduced himself more than once in his career. Right now, he’s proven that the second time’s a charm in “Ako Si” (I Am). The thing different this time is he’s rapping over police sirens as he raps, “Ang dami, dami, dami, daming maiingay samin / ano ba ang pangalan ba’t di mo kilalanin.” (There’s so much noise around here / what’s the name, how about you get to know him?)

In “Ako Si,” Khael Domaro proves that has the fuel to fan the fires as he lists down the opponents he has overcome in his journey. There’s more in store as the Pinoy MC works his way to becoming a household name.

YB Neet – “Reppin South”

Pasay’s prolific young blood a.k.a YB Neet bounces on another piano-backed instrumental in his latest track, “Reppin South,” showing why he’s worth a spot at the top.

YB Neet’s progression as an artist has been impressive, making him a contender for the title of Rookie of the Year, alongside other fast-rising Pasay-based MCs. For “Reppin South,” he swerves around the streets, snapping 16 bars for breakfast while flexing “champagne pouring on the concrete.”

His latest track showcases his ability to turn each synonym into a melody, flowing seamlessly and effortlessly to whatever instrumental he decides to take on.

$ijj – “Loaded”

Quezon City-based rapper $ijj never runs out of loaded bars. Aptly titled, “Loaded” sounds like $ijj made it his mission to lyrically annihilate the competition. With his determination on full display, the MC makes sure he made it clear that there’s no room for complacency. Its kick placement, symphonic piano sample, and $ijj’s demanding double-time flows scream instant classic from the get-go.

vice* – “heartbeat”

Characterized by glitchy drum breaks, DAW-destroying samples and crooked verses, digicore gave terminally online young beatmakers a new, experimental audio landscape to play on.

Vice (stylized as vice*) is no stranger to this sound. Rapping about his anxieties, “heartbeat” is an example of a spotless digicore track.

Coldboyz – “BLISS”

Emotive music and Gen Z rap sit at the core of “BLISS,” Coldboyz’s best track yet. Ranging from Lil Peep’s pop-punk influences to the hardcore background of its members, Coldboyz’s music has embraced so much of its campiness and also gives the listeners a callback to early 2000s “mall emo.”

Illest Morena – “LOML”

Illest Morena’s “LOML” (Love of My Life) has the potential to swing to the R&B big leagues, not only for its mellow and wholesome production but also for the R&B singer’s rapping chops. “LOML” touches upon themes everyone can relate to and nothing comes close to its catchiness the way Illest Morena does.

K-ram ft. Ace Cirera & Yuridope – “Wala Na”

On “Wala Na” (Nothing Left), Music Colony signee K-Ram invites Flow Minister’s Ace Cirera and solo artist Yuridope for a classic R&B with so much local flavor that consists of looping piano lines, bright production blemishes, and choruses that call for a date night.

K-Ram consistently finds the right hook for each of their verses, as Ace Cirera pleads in multisyllabic rhymes, and Yuridope is a sucker for romantic verses. “Wala Na” screams joy and fun from all three rappers.

Kusu, Qure – “Glo SZN”

On the far reaches of niche internet genres, plugg&b, better known as plugg for short, strikes a fine balance between mid-2000s Chris Brown and late 2010s Drain Gang sprinkled all over its Sanrio-inspired production and PiZap-edited visuals. Bliss and rime.dna’s Kusu and Qure have found themselves a collaboration that will establish more collective clashes in the future.

Header image credit: Run Deliks, Feifei, YB Neet, Khael Domaro, $ijj, Coldboyz (kid chucky, Shtday, Dreamy), Illest Morena/Facebook; K-ram, Yuridope/YouTube; Ace Cirera/Instagram