Filipino rappers have been around the Philippines since the 1980s. The first rap recording came from Dyords Javier, a stand-up comedian and hip hop artist. His first rap single was “Na Onseng Delight”, a parody of the song “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang. This subsequently created a domino effect of rising Filipino rappers who changed the whole dynamics of the Philippine music industry. This started with great musicians such as Francis Magalona, Gloc 9, Andrew E. And Apl.de.ap. They were considered the Mount Rushmore of Filipino Rappers. The rap music scene in the Philippines is so versatile. It has appeared in different languages or dialects such as Tagalog, English, Bisaya, Spanish, Bicolano, Ilocano, Waray and Caviteno.
Job Mari Penalosa also known as “Cookie$” is a Bisaya rapper in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in Cebu, Philippines but his family eventually immigrated to the United States. In 2018, he identified his profound love for rap music. “I got interested in rapping because most of my friends are into rap and the rap scene in Atlanta is huge!” Cookie$ mentioned in his interview with Filipino TV. Cookie$ immersed in the culture of Atlanta, Georgia. The city produced multiple great rappers and R&B artists such as Migos, Ludacris, Andre 3000, T.I. and many more.
As a young artist, Cookie$ started rapping in English because he thought it would help him prosper in the recording industry. “You know what? I just want to be myself. I am Bisaya, I will rap in Bisaya!” He says. At first, he was hesitant but this helped him to stand out in the community because of his authentic rapping skills. He realized that the Bisaya dialect is so obscure and unique to anyone’s hearing. Unfortunately, it is hard to market Bisaya rappers because not everyone understands the dialect.
“It was hard for Bisaya artists to thrive in their own language because you have to go to Manila and connect with music channels and other producers there. You have to cater to what they are looking for,” Cookie$ recognized the hardship of Bisaya rappers in the Philippines. “But because of the internet and social media, you don’t have to go through that filter,” Cookie$ added.
Nowadays, Cookie$ is one of the best of the Bisaya Rappers in the United States, Canada and the Philippines. Cookie$ is one of the biggest headliners in “Uban Ta Sa Kaubusan” concert in Cebu City. His goal is to bring Bisaya rap music to a larger audience. He leads by example by showing the world how a Bisaya kid can empower the whole Bisaya community through rap music.