After a brief, torrential downpour, the sun has come out in force and a few members of Bawal Clan linger in a convenience store parking lot in Metro Manila. They’re waiting for some friends to join them for a skateboarding session before the release party later tonight for their debut album, Paid in Bawal. The clan is a rap group, but they embrace the breadth of their city’s sprawling creative scene, actively recruiting members from overlapping subcultures, including visual artists and skaters who don’t make music. Of the 13 or so members on the roster, eight are rappers and five make beats.
Listen to select tracks from Bawal Clan below / 点击即可试听 Bawal Clan 的几首歌曲
The convenience store we’re standing in front of is in Poblacion, a red-light district that’s the latest destination for creatives and night owls. Streetwalkers proposition passersby and dealers offer fake Viagra just outside the city’s liveliest bars. Tonight the party’s at Boogie, a new venue opened by the owners of the forward-looking clubs Black Market, 20:20, and B-Side. It’s a smaller space, covered in graffiti by a local artist named Chase and plastered with classic photos of old-school markers and 1990s-era rap albums.
新开的 Boogie 是由马尼拉的 Black Market、20:20 和 B-Side 等最前卫的俱乐部老板共同创办的。这家新俱乐部的空间不大，里面有许多由当地艺术家 Chase 创作的涂鸦作品，贴满了各种 old-school markers 的经典照片标志，以及上世纪 90 年代时期的说唱专辑。
Ankhten Brown, a Filipino-Jamaican member of the Bawal Clan who grew up between New York and Manila, skates around the parking lot. He jumps onto an aircon box and tries to stall on a window ledge, much to the annoyance of the employees watching from the steps. “You gotta be creative as a skater here, because there’s just no space. Make use of every little thing possible,” he explains with a wide grin on his tattooed face.
Bawal Clan 中的菲律宾裔牙买加成员 Ankhten Brown，从小在纽约和马尼拉两地长大，他在停车场四周玩滑板，跳上空调盒，又试图在窗台上练习 Stall 的动作，这很大程度上惹来停车场工作人员的不满，他们一直徘徊在台阶上，紧盯着我们。“在这里，要玩滑板就得发挥创意，因为根本没有空间给你滑。所以，你要去充分利用每一件小物件。” 他解释道，有着刺青的脸上露出大大的笑容。
Once it’s clear none of the other members of the group will show up this early, they give up on the lazy skate session and drift over to a Japanese-inspired food stall hidden down a nearby side street. Apparently the staff are friends of theirs, and the new album can be heard blaring from the kitchen. The team order some shots of lambanog, a strong local spirit, and before downing them everyone yells, “Bawal!”
Nearly the entire crew is Filipino, but many of them have spent a long time in the US. They gravitated to each other a few years ago, while they were each working on their own projects, and eventually they decided to form a group. Their name started out as an inside joke: the word bawal means “taboo,” and they’d often call out the phrase yung bawal—“that’s forbidden”—when hanging out together. Then their main beatmaker, playing on the “Young” prefix that rappers often add to their names, adopted Yung Bawal as his moniker. When they formally became a collective two years ago, they chose Bawal Clan to make the casual breaking of taboos their ethos.
而这个 “Bawal” 的意思，是“禁忌”。这其实是源于他们的一个内部笑话——在一起玩的时候，他们会经常大声喊 “Yung bawal!”（意为“这是被禁止的喔！”）。虽然团体里几乎所有成员都是菲律宾人，但很多人其实都曾在美国生活过很长一段时间。过去几年里，他们开始互相合作，越走越近，最终决定组成一支说唱团体。随后，团体的主要 beatmaker 将说唱歌手很喜欢拿来做名字前缀的 “Young”，变成了自己的名字 “Yung Bawal”。两年前，团队正式成立，他们选择了 Bawal Clan 这个名字，旨在将“打破禁忌”作为他们的理念。
Even now, two years on, the crew still inserts “bawal” references whenever possible, and every time, it boosts their energy up a notch. “People like our music because we say whatever we want to say,” says MNL$ (pronounced Manila Money), one of the crew’s rappers who grew up in California and had a successful music career in Korea before moving here. “We’re all really rebellious. We stand by our individuality.”
即使是几年后的今天，他们依然会在音乐中尽可能引用 “Bawal”，每一次，它都能提升团队的士气。“人们喜欢我们的音乐，因为我们在音乐中可以畅所欲言。” MNL$（读作 “Manila Money”）说道。他自小在加州长大，搬到这里之前还曾在韩国有着成功的音乐事业。“我们都很叛逆，坚守自己的个性。”
By now we’re standing in front of the Boogie, waiting for the party to start. Someone blasts the album from a parked truck, offering a taste of the music that will be played later that night. The tracks range from angry and abrasive mosh pit music to sleek, thoughtful expressions of love to classic boom bap. On the Street Fighter-inspired “Yoga Flame,” cartoony bleeps are paired with a “Shabba“-type hook that works as playful club music. The gothic trap of “GTFO” is grounded by distorted bass and chamber music keys and even features a verse in Spanish by Ankhten. “My mom is Spanish-Filipina, but I also picked up a lot of Spanish in New York,” he explains. Despite the variety of moods the tracks capture, it’s a solidly rap and R&B album.
现在，我们正站在 Boogie 前，等待派对开始。旁边一辆停着的卡车里大声播放着他们的专辑，预告着当天晚上要推出的音乐。专辑里的音乐有愤怒、粗放的 Mosh pit 音乐，也有表达爱情的流畅曲调和经典 Boom bap。以《街头霸王》游戏为灵感创作的《Yoga Flame》用游戏中的哔哔声声效，搭配 Shabba 式俱乐部音乐风格的副歌。哥特式风格的 trap《GTFO》在扭曲的低音和室内乐（chamber music）之上，加入了 Ankhten 的一段西班牙语说唱。“我妈妈是西班牙裔菲律宾人，但我后来在纽约的时候也学了不少西班牙语。” 他解释说。专辑里所传递出的情绪十分丰富，但它确实是一张不折不扣的说唱和 R＆B 专辑。
With the diversity of their members and styles, it’s hard to pin down what Bawal Clan is about entirely. On one track someone will be rapping about violence, and another artist will be talking about burning sage to ward off negative energy. With such a large roster, they cover a lot of ground. Occasionally, seven rappers will make it onto one track, but the average is more like five or six per song.
因有着多元化的成员与曲风，很难简单地来定义 Bawal Clan。在同一首歌中，有人在说唱关于暴力的问题，有人则可能会在谈论燃烧鼠尾草来抵御负能量。有了这样风格多元的成员，他们的音乐自然能够涵盖更丰富的内容。偶尔，7 位说唱成员会一起来创作一首音乐，但更多时候，可能一首歌只是由其中 5、6 名说唱成员完成。
Bawal Clan’s members come from a variety of creative backgrounds, some with careers outside of music. DZ SVG (pronounced “Dizzy Savage”) is a screen actor who’s bounced back and forth between Manila and Las Vegas for half of his life. A few of the members have even spent years living in Europe. “I think our international outlook gives us an advantage,” says DZ. There’s also Lex Luthoor, who’s Nigerian and grew up in Spain before moving to the Philippines in high school. “We consider Alex just as Filipino as everyone else in the crew,” MNL$ chimes in. “My boys have my back,” agrees Lex, who speaks fluent Tagalog. While Filipinos themselves can be very diverse, there aren’t many white or black people in the country so they stand out, and Lex has faced a lot of discrimination. “But these guys are like my family,” he says without pause. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Bawal Clan 的成员来自不同的创意背景，其中一些成员甚至做着与音乐无关的职业。DZ SVG（发音为 “Dizzy Savage”）是一位演员，大部分时间，他就生活在马尼拉和拉斯维加斯两地。另外还有一些成员在欧洲生活了几年时间。DZ 说：“我们的国际视野是我们的优势。”成员中还有尼日利亚裔的 Lex Luthoor，他自小在西班牙长大，高中时候才移民到菲律宾。“在我们眼中，Alex 和我们所有人一样，都是菲律宾人。” MNL$说道。
“这些家伙像都是我坚实的后盾。” Lex 操着一口流利的菲律宾语说道。虽然菲律宾本身就是一个多元的国家，但在这里，你不会看到太多白人或黑人，所以他们在人群中格外引人注目，Lex 在生活中也遇到过诸多歧视。“但这些家伙就像我的家人一样。我只想跟他们待在一起。”
Their different views jostle side-by-side within their verses. Whatever comes to mind, if they like it, they go for it. They don’t let anyone tell them what to do. One word they regularly use to describe themselves and their story—in addition to “bawal”—is “organic.” It’s how they came together as a team, how they create music, how they learn. It’s about going with the flow and seizing opportunities as they come. They don’t just rhyme in freestyle, they freestyle their lives. They’ll get to where they’re going however they see fit. Just don’t stand in their way.
他们的不同想法往往在说唱中一起出现。不管想到什么，只要他们喜欢，就直接做了。他们不让任何人告诉他们该怎么做。除了 “Bawal”，他们经常用来描述自己和团队故事的词是 “Organic”（自然的、有机的）。这是他们团队最初成立的方式，也是他们创作音乐、学习的方式。顺其自然，在机会出现时抓紧机会。他们既在音乐中 freestyle，也让自己的生活 freestyle。无论是哪里，只要感觉合适，他们就会去那里，没有人能阻挡他们。