Underground rap sensation Kiyo releases debut album

Rick Olivares

Posted at Nov 29 2021 03:40 PM

Indie rap sensation Kiyo
Indie rap sensation Kiyo

MANILA -- Filipino underground hip-hop sensation Kiyo has just released his full-length debut album "Haranasa" on all digital music platforms. 

Kiyo has been receiving millions of streams for his music on these platforms for his brand of lo-fi chill rap music. 

His album features collaborations with fellow contemporaries and friends in the industry, including Shortone on the dub-meets-trap jam “Hey,” Space Moses on the jazzy but chill “G,” and YZKK on the stripped-down, laidback tune “Dantay.”

And there’s the first single, “Harana Sa Sarili,” that reminds everyone to celebrate the simple joys of life. 

The track peaked at No. 17 on YouTube’s Trending for Music charts.

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“’Harana sa Sarili’ is a personal song that I hope will inspire others,” said Kiyo. 

When the COVID-19 virus shut down the entire planet, like a great many others, Kiyo (Yukihiro Rubio in real life) found himself deep in quiet introspection and battling depression.

“May mga plano na natigil dahil sa pandemic. Hindi ka makakalabas kahit mag-unwind ka lang, at 'yung takot na bawian ka ng buhay,” bared Kiyo who admitted battling depression during the first few months of the lockdown. 

“Pero nung mag-reflect ako, ngayon meron na akong PC na dati 'di ko ma-afford. Dati meron kaming apartment na hirap kami magbayad ng upa at kung anu-ano pa. Ngayon, kahit paano, nakatira ako sa magandang apartment. Dati tinuturuan lang ako ng uncle ko na si (Filipino rap star) Smugglaz kung paano gumawa ng kanta, ngayon may album na.”

Kiyo also shared how previously, he would don the costume of a popular mascot to entertain people and how he would shoot and edit wedding videos to earn a living.

Now, he is doing something -- music -- that he believes with all his heart, is his calling.

"Mga simpleng bagay na dapat thankful tayo. 'Yun ang naging pananaw ko at nagsilbi ng inspiration para sa ‘Harana sa Sarili’ at sa album na rin,” he said.

With eclectic music influences that range from lo-fi rap to trap, experimental hip-hop to tropical jazz, ambient electronica to bedroom pop, "Haranasa" pushes the culture forward with soulful samples, ingenious production techniques, and captivating storytelling. It marks a defining moment for Kiyo as a prolific rapper, wordsmith, and producer capable of turning the everyday mundane into a rich source of inspiration.

According to Kiyo, the 15-track "Haranasa" navigates on lyrical themes about love and its messily glorious iterations. It also plays around the concept of time as a storytelling device, associating its passage to a particular journey, experience, or memory. 

"Haranasa" comes out on the occasion of Kiyo’s 10th anniversary of making music. He summed up by saying that he hopes to break out in Southeast Asia in the future.