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G MONEY: Sharing the Wealth
“Someone’s got to open up the Filipinos’ minds.  Education, not conflict.”

The accent is decidedly Western, the voice still in the throes of adolescence.  The words that come out of his mouth, though, are hardly those of a balikbayan hiphop teenager.  I’m on the phone with 17-year-old rapper G Money.  The brother’s got soul.

“I want each of my songs to be filled with soul,” he says, “I internalize it.  It’s got to come close to perfection.”

Perhaps it is this zest for perfection that’s slowly getting Greg Mercado, a.k.a. G Money, the attention that he deserves.  After spending more than 12 years in California, he returned to the Philippines and wasted no time entering the underground hiphop scene. 

“I met up with DJ Criz and Rap Skallion,” he remembers, “and did one song for an independent album under Bomb Azz Productionz.”

“Fo Tha Luv Of It” featured G Money on two tracks, showcasing his positive vibe on “Do You Wanna Ride.” Contrary to first impression, it’s not about sex. 

“The song’s about representing.  I’m proud to be a Filipino.  I’m doing this for my country, not just for myself.  Filipino pride.  I’m keeping it real.”

It’s that same passion for “keeping it real” that pushes him on.  After the May 1999 release of “Fo Tha Luv Of It,” he toured the hiphop clubs, developing a name and following.  He regularly meets with hiphop DJs and breakdancers at “Blow Up The Spot,” a monthly event in Philippine hiphop.

“There are murals and performances.  Two hours after that, open mike.  Anyone can go onstage and flow.” 

G Money’s flow is certainly moving.  He’s teaming up with Playa P from defunct rap group Grounded (“Bongga Ka Day”) for an album he plans to release independently.  To ensure his “representin’,” he’s hooking up with fellow underground rapper Ramon.  DJ Criz will produce one track.  He’s even got a title for the album: “The Truth Will Set You Free.”

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