Aristotle Pollisco, aka Gloc-9, has completely changed my preconceptions of the rap culture. This multi award-winning Filipino music icon is as different from the typical North American bling-swinging gangsta rapper as day is to night.
Gloc-9 dresses well but never garish. He will not wear a ton of jewelry. At home, he lives the life of a simple family man with his wife and children. This honesty is reflected in his music. His verses tell stories of the struggles of the poor living on the streets, the treatment of LBGT people, the bullying by the rich and the rampant corruption which seems to be everywhere. These things he saw and experienced every day of his youth. In later years, while working as a Registered Nurse in the hospital, he saw the heart-breaking pain of poor families who could not afford adequate medical care. His songs describe all of this and more, but each track also tells of persistence, hope, love and family values in the face of insurmountable troubles. Unlike the western norm, nowhere in these albums do I see the usual angry rap rants of violence, drugs, sex and “fightin’ da power”.
Perhaps the soul of his music stems from his humble youth in the town of Binangonan, Philippines or the traditional values of his family and culture. Whatever the source of his inspiration, Aristotle Pollisco, or Gloc-9, as his fans around the world know him, is a true artist who uses his gift and fame to spread powerful messages of hope and change. He wants to be a voice for every youth with a story.
Since the release of his album Matrikula in 2009, his music has been a part of the literature curriculum of the K-9 program of the Department of Education. While Gloc-9 does not sugar-coat the realities in his songs, he is very aware of the effect his words have; especially on the young. In 2012, he was appointed National Peace Ambassador and performed concerts calling for peace in areas afflicted by war and violence. In 2013, he was the GMA’s spokesman for Dapat Tama, a campaign calling for responsible voting. Throughout his career, Gloc-9 has remained true to his roots as seen with his latest album, Sukli, telling the stories of the kababayans, their daily struggles and sacrifices abroad. He thanks God and his parents for his gifts and opportunities and devotes his life to giving back.
In the nineteen short years since Gloc-9 was signed by Viva Records, he has released nine albums, had several collaborations with artists such as Francis Magalona and Parokya ni Edgar and won dozens of awards. Throughout all of this, Gloc-9 still found time to travel the world, entertaining the overseas workers who desperately miss home. He is, most definitely, not like the usual rapper.
See him next month at the OPM Jam concert with Jona Viray and Kakai Beautista, on November 20 at Massey Theatre in New Westminster, BC.