MANILA -- After making guest appearances on albums by KJah, last year’s explosive release "Kolateral" from Sandata, and the Balasa EP that was released earlier this 2020, General Santos-based hip-hop artist Tatz Maven finally has released his debut album "Sige Simula" on Uprising Records.
Sige Simula is long labor of love -- an effort that began back in 2017 and was completed during the recent lockdown. In between, he honed his MC craft by appearing on albums by fellow artists, and now in its release, it is in perfect synchronicity with what is going on in the world.
“'Yung kuwento sa likod ng title na ‘Sige Simula’ is it is firstly, my debut album,” explained Tatz Maven in an online chat with this author. “Second is 'yung mentalidad ko na parang, ‘Bahala na. Nandito na ako.’”
He added, perhaps with the pandemic in mind, “Wala nang ibang panahon kung 'di ngayon kaya dapat magsimula.”
And what a start. "Sige Simula" features 16 tracks (that can be accessed via Spotify, YouTube or Bandcamp) about coming to terms with one’s self. It’s facing one’s fears and doubt that are all the more relevant in this difficult time. “In spite of the self-hate and self-doubt, aware ka na kaya mong gawin whether pagiging kakampi, matapang, o kaibigan,” Tatz Maven explained.
Through his music, Tatz Maven equates his personality – warts and all – in relation to this great human crisis that the world is facing. “So masasabi ko na relevant siya sa sitwasyon ngayon,” summed up the MC. “Hindi man social issues pero more on personal relationships na nung lockdown ay nagkaroon ng mas mahabang oras for personal reflection.”
"Sige Simula" is in contrast to the more recent pointed releases such as Kartel’s incendiary "Kontrapunto" or even "Kolateral." Self-awareness aside, Tatz Maven does not spare on the venom and bite. Why not? All the songs are personal experiences and opinions, and he raps with an urgency – it’s time to make a stand. In the album’s fourth track, "Galit," during a bridge on the song, it is asked, “Kaya mo bang burahin ang lahat ng negatibo sa isip mo?”
“Nakawala” is one of my favorites. Aside from the “Lebanese Blonde” of Thievery Corporation vibe that reels you in like some enchanting Middle Eastern dance, the verse of "Meron pa ba tayong dapat pagusapan? Matagal na kitang kinalimutan” demands one move on from the shackles of negativity.
It is easy to dismiss hip-hop and rap as all the same. But the wisdom is in the verse as the beats infiltrate your mind.
It’s powerful stuff.
It is said that we are living in the “new normal.” Well, I do not like it. And Tatz Maven’s "Sige Simula" should help you find your way in this frightening new world.
"Sige Simula" was the second online release by Uprising during this pandemic and featured remote live performances by Sak Maestro x BaseJunkies (Davao), Kregga (Cagayan de Oro), Illustrado (Paranaque, Makati, Pasig, and Quezon City), and Kartel (from Taguig and Quezon City). Uprising Records, run by Alaric Yuson, saw their first digital and lockdown release with Kartel’s "Kontrapunto."