+ ALL NIGHTERS

I be “kicking” since 89’

Way before “Tribe” turned it to the motto we boast by

If rap is an academic

All “credits” always to the Most “Fly”

“Cross”check the “timeline” Christ be the “origin”

“Flowing” like a “torrent” of Living Water He pouring in

“Seeding you the data” we inundating the “language:”

The Bread of life is audible: you listening to a banquet

Bust out your writing utensil: papyrus and pencil

Scribing the reminder essential

Mind is a temple sniper rifle minus the metal

Aim high: and never undermine your potential Catch phrase

Sprawled ivy on the brick walls

Arched halls with the big stones

So come and sit for a lecture

‘Cause sometimes life be the best professor

 

If life is a test go give it ya’ll best

Let’s pull an all nighter

If life is an essay let's write to the next page

We all right.  We alright.

Learn well.  Pay attention

You are not exempt from the testing

So when the day comes, don’t stress 

‘Cause you've been working hard all semester

 

Time is of the essence; select those electives

And step toward progression; perfect your profession

Count it all joy when you fall down flat

‘Cause sometimes the “build up” is better than the climax

Sometimes we gotta be flat to see heaven

All times we gotta “get past” to be “present"

I wanna live for the moment 

But fear got me living like a ghost

It’s a voluntary effort though agree to an extent

We crippled by belief: the deceit that we accept

You breathing in the flesh but interior is dead

Luckily, the Guy who resurrected teaches lessons

If it resonates, spit it with the authority

Distribute it to brothers and sisters in their sororities

Translate it, import it to masses and the majority

Tweet, write, recite, or the assortment of the three

Sometimes life doesn’t ever "add up:"

I could never trust my Calculus and Algebra; my angles 

Ain’t acute enough… I’m on a “tangent”

Dramatically I Tango with my DNA- I suck at dancing

But these physics ain’t to blame for my incompetence

I’m pondering what Dawkin’s said and if it’s really true

Biology’s to propagate the genes that I possess

then I should operate as such: but what of meaning?

And what of my capacity to long for higher purpose am I dreaming?

Psychology could tell me what it is, but never “why.” 

I dug into philosophy, I found myself embedded in the Earth

And all the fossils started talking to me: told me

That they felt there’s something deeper

Dug the wrong direction and warned me not to repeat it.

I guess the only option is to look into heavens 

I studied all the attributes of God manifested.  And now it makes sense

 

+ WHITE RICE

Hip-hop is "my house"

(I'm) closing on the escrow.

I’m “burning” up the “phonics” like I’m bombing on the Metro

No need for bread I be getting fed when I don the headphones

So etch a Biggie quote on my headstone

(Here lies:) “Sicker Than Ya Average”

Cause “a” (of) death: being fresh, pall bearers do a two step

My procession be kicking like Liu Kang

Hands in the air: be a doing a “Wu-Tang”

‘Cause I’m misunderstood

A Filipino bred in a mostly White hood

A “Filipino bread?” That’s “pan de sal”

Let it “sink” in for a second: let the pun dissolve

Now let the “pun sit.” 

I’m cooking up ya “noodle”

Pituitary, medulla, I want the kit caboodle

My brain assimilating.  I try to entertain em.

I didn’t want to be different, I tried to imitate em.

Now I just ignore them

Nike and Jordan: I can’t afford them

Can’t quite “connect” no net.work detected

Wi-fi protected: password rejected

Suburbian kid in the West end

All alone spreading all the depression he kept in

There’s only one thing he truly connects with:

Hip-hop.  His very first lover, best friend.

 

White rice is my soul food- take a deep a breath

If Hip-Hop’s your O2; word to the beat

Before you judge by the cover: learn how to read

 

I used to rap on a USB headset

Used to battle cats during lunch time

I used to breakdance wrecking em in six steps

Used to tag, but I only bombed one time

One-two-three, “elementary” to elegant:

Chemically perfected in four to nine elements-

Then it all developed: passion a full measure 

But momma ain’t accepting it: tryna apply pressure like a hemorrhage

And tried to “press” em’ to walk the path of a doctor

Make the cash, be a father and let the family prosper

But what the heavenly Father started to author 

Is something I couldn’t possibly “box:” ain’t talking “Rocky”

But this art on my “heart is large” (cardiomegaly)

The beat with the rhythm and bars (starting the recipe)

When everyone around might taunt and abandon 

Hip-Hop has always been my constant companion

I would jam with El-P to Aesop

Canibus, Jedi Mind Tricks, the bass drop

Tough or upbeat: Big Pun to Chuck D

Slug always taught me “God could love ugly”

Wu-Tang to Co-Flow Immortal Technique  

Feel like Nujabes’ the only one who gets me

C-Y-N-E, Shing02

Take a deep breath if Hip-Hop’s your O2

Yes, yes ya'll.  And it don't stop

To the sinigang.  And it don't stop

To the diniguan.  And it don't stop

I get my dinner on when I get the flows off

Yes, yes ya'll.  And it don't stop

To the sinigang.  And it don't stop

To the diniguan.  And it don't stop

This is my house homie, take your shoes off

 

I step up to a mic you look at me like I'm a novelty

Like "watch this little Asian kid" I hardly let it bother me

I know it could be worse, the situation far from critical

But if I didn't have a mic, I'd probably be invisible

Beyond the individual: our story's heavy laden

I convey it in the only way I know I can relate with

Not a trace of validation- what's the use of being famous

If my passion is mistaken for a misappropriation? 

That's white rice

 

+ LOVE'S ABSENCE

She used to take me to my cousin’s place

Way before the sun had come awake

Went to work, you had to make a way

Momma called, said she coming late

He had a tour of duty on a ship

Saw you off when I was just a kid

Crying as his daddy left the dock

Many months until we get to talk

I would struggle, troubled by the loneliness

Only child and cousins were too old for him 

Played “pretend” but couldn’t fake the pain away

No amount of faith could make it fade away

Look at them I’m out of place with all my friends

Wanted to be close to mom and dad like them

But I’m home and I’m alone again 

Hard to see the reason now when you don’t know the end

It hurts, but I know that you mean well

It’s easy to think of my own self

Nobody's home but I know that I'm not alone

I know, I know sometimes

Absence means love

Philippines to the United States

Wouldn’t let the wind decide your fate

You gave it up and left it all behind

’Cause I know you had me on your mind

You came to give me things you wish you had

And maybe bigger dreams you couldn’t grab

You sacrificed your own so I could live in mine 

This is why ain’t you around at dinner time

Is it right to cry about your absence?

Now that your little boy is throwing tantrums?

While I forget you bending over backwards

To give me everything I took for granted

We fail to see the bigger picture

I guess entitlement gives you a thinner “vision”

You weren’t always there but now I’m seeing better

You weren’t there because you love us all forever

 

And I want to give my kids the same

To chase their destiny: a gift to claim 

I want my little boy to have it all

And teach him how to give it back to God

I want my little girl to see her worth

And never find it in another person

I hope they both will understand

When daddy goes away he does it all for them

+ TRANSLATED LETTERS

Let’s open discussion

We approaching the truth and we all hoping to touch it

Been a long time coming I’m concerned we got separated

Diverging won’t get us any closer to summit

I remember that chilly night back in Chino

You told me I’m disgracing us Filipinos

‘Cause I was never taught: couldn’t speak Tagalog  

Though we share the same blood: Rizal, Aguinaldo

God knows I tried to beat the anguish.  Feeling like

I can’t love the motherland if I don’t speak the language 

Never thought I’d be hated on by my own people

This American dream this freaking whole sequel

What’s a blossom when all the roots are ashamed of it

I’m hardly "processing" what the “nature is”

Though I didn’t learn the language of our home

I’ll love it with the language that I know: this is all I know

Though the islands assemble as a whole shun me

I never felt I’m accepted up in my own country

Even my label of “Asian” often brought into question

I feel a hard disconnection when talking complexion

While you pointing fingers

You can’t “grasp” what’s happening while avoiding splinters

Similarity can trick you, better know the difference: 

Of “no identity” and “know identity:” I take history to support the inference

Lapu-Lapu, Propaganda Movement

Revolution: Bonifacio, the Katipunan

I’m the proudest descendant of every insurrection

You won’t see me defensive won’t live to tell it

I was built for resisting all your vain oppression 

I am not coexisting with all your plain rejection 

I’m no less than the very thing you claim to be

My identity’s something you’ll never take from me

I want to think that it’s deeper than words I didn’t learn

Maybe all of it swelling up from a deeper hurt

Maybe all the betrayal we suffered ain’t addressed

Maybe grudges ain’t laid to rest you can’t throw

Mud upon another, not making a mess

I want to fight back.  But I’m saving my breath.  I check:

Vast ocean we crossed I’m now out to wander

‘Cause the cause of it probably is lost in the water

Maybe it’s sleeping, creeping in deep end

Or maybe our story just isn’t complete yet

Whatever it is, maybe finding the problem

Ain’t as vital as finding God trying to solve em

So I will keep the repercussions

And stay awake knowing sleep the reaper cousin

The seed I clutch is a destiny I can’t retreat from

That’ll blossom, “I promise:” I’m talking sampaguita

It's in the words I'll never say

Love never needed translation

Maybe the journey of discovering who we are is accepting the reality of destiny at the same time admitting to not knowing where we’re going.  Direction is just as important as destination. Maybe identity lies neither in past, present, or future.  But maybe it’s all three together.  Maybe our story is still being written. 

 

+ ANESTHESIA

Let me check your vital signs: heart rate

Beat per minute heart racing

Fear permitted: arm’s length

Hit it with another kiss of the calm tranq

Sanctification an operation

Pain be a doctor we often hate him

Sick ever since that combination:

Death mixed in with the consummation

Ever since, it’s anesthesia

Numb to the pain of refinement

Woke up and I saw all the evil

And I wanted to return to my blindness

In the land where the dark is immersive

How hard is a heart of a person?

We try to open up, somebody call a surgeon 

We wanna come back to the heart of worship

But the dark alluring

Harder to swim in a stronger current

Hotter to live now the water burning

But I feel nothing.  “Nada” burden.  Not a burden

Feeling no hunger

‘Cause I am numb to the wheel of my comfort

This my diversion a dime to a dozen

Never met death but I flirt with the cousin

First will come love and then marriage

Sleep is the lust you inherit

You cannot stay in your sleep as a means of resolving your flaws

Expecting involvement of God

I want to wake up

I really love sleep, now I want to break up

It’s not you, it’s me

Sleep be the cousin of the eulogy

 

I can see the stars up in eyes  

I can hear Sinatra in my mind

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the sky

Orion, Ursa Minor, Gemini: constellations die

Three two one.  Let the whole body go numb.  Let the whole body go numb

Let the whole body go numb.  Let the whole body go numb

Three two one.  Let the whole body go numb.  Let the whole body go numb

It’s not you, it’s me.  Sleep be the cousin of the eulogy. 

 

Obviously, He’s real within me

It doesn’t really mean that I feel Him in me

Feeling envy when I see devotion 

Of a brethren steady and he feel emotion

Feet be coasting Spirit leads him  

Walk on the land and the sea and ocean

Here I am.  I ain’t fronting

I can’t stand that I stand for nothing

I can’t help that my own two feet

Slip more frequent- than they move me

When I fall and I hurt, I don’t want to move now

The true definition of “breaking new ground”

What you looking at?

You never seen a man that was broken?  

You really want to act like you don’t know the half

And your life is a basket is roses?

You really want to quote me a passage

Claim that you pray that it passes, never call once?

You think I’m convinced of your sadness?

Brother, you just as numb.

I feel nothing.  You don’t either.  

We’re just talking, we ain’t speaking

Both eyes open, we both sleeping 

We want freedom, we won’t reach it.  

We're scared of the dark

Life is a surgeon: tear us apart

We don’t want pain, and we want to feel numb

Now we could never feel love

+ THAT NURSE

I am the nurse.  I check the sound of ya breath

I put the “round" to ya chest

Plan of attack; I’m ‘bout to spazz on a track 

I’m ‘bout to have an arrest

I will assess: I am the “sickest” selection

Any physician will mention

Battle Anak and you getting infected

You really don’t want additional tension

Let’s start then 

I’m the RN with that sharp pen

I don’t click-pop, I don’t spark lead

But you "get shot"; (with a) sharp edge

Attenuated or a live virus

I come fighting on the "mic, Tyson"

All ya’ll “biting” and it’s hard to stop it

“Attack that ear” like I’m ototoxic

Rap the hardest, ya’ll can’t disarm it.

You got a bed alarm?  Then you better go arm it

You gotta get a sitter, and security guard it

Get “beat quick.”  Tachycardic

Head to toe assessment is the goal

Stethoscope: I listen to the woes

“Watch (wash) the hands” you, bout’ to catch a cold

Throat is sore, throbbing in ya skull

How you gonna get turnt every two hours?

My people get turned every two hours

I get the place lit like a call light

I get the “rounds” going off all night

Ya’ll better make sure that the mask fit

I’m about to make sure that you catch this

Ya’ll might wanna type, cross match him

Cause when you match wits

I be beating you fast

Hemoglobin’ll be leaving you fast

Bleeding you into a hemothorax

Ten unit, fluids, and monitor STAT

Vital signs every few seconds to add

Critical, send you directly to that

Get on my “level,” go get me my labs

Battle Anak and you leak on a rag

‘Bout move on’ like you leaving the past

Cap and the gown and the mask and gloves

Everything black when I’m wearing my scrubs

I spread the illness and various bugs

All em resisting various drugs

Ain’t popping a gun but I give em a shot

“Correct on (correcting) the rhythm” when I give em a shock

Administer the medicine up into your jaw

Hit em with another dose of a jab and a cross

You don’t wanna “cross” with a man who pops off top

Pulling the ox I be stopping ya “pulse ox” 

I stop ya heart: pardon the sin

Now watch me begin: I’ma start it again

I am the nurse.  Don’t play with me, I told you

I save the game from dying, I am trained, I am supposed to

 

“Who that nurse?”  

All the doctors screaming out

“Who that nurse?”  

Pharmacists be freaking out: 

“Who that nurse?”

Throw your hands up to the ceiling, yo

Name is NAK, I’m the nurse, I’ll stop the bleeding now 

 

+ ASWANG

Now I’m caught, no slack in chain

Barred and trapped in my cage

Up all night, and sleeping all day

Sow that wind and reaping that rain

Plan to escape: and sharpen my stake

One good stab to darken my brain

One last shot so pardon my blade

It’s carved in my vein, no heart so I

Gave her the reins a ventriloquist motion

Pulling “the bit” as I give her devotion

Stoically ripping me open

Look on her face got no hint of emotion

Look at this body: you mock me

All of my mind and my heart will just stop me

Single thought really all it takes to be a hard copy of an autopsy now I’m:

Sitting here with every single light source on me

White like ghost, but the mind look coffee

Sitting here with every single light source on me

White like ghost, but the bite’s more zombie

 

Scared of the dark as a kid

Checking what’s under the bed

Dresser and cubby they all want me, all want me all want me dead

Scared of the dark as a man

Older and tougher and clever

But so is the monster that hunts in my head, but the difference is now it’s more hungry than ever

Flashlight.  Door locked

Vampire, goblin or warlock

Flicker camp fire with the ghost talk

Things that go bump in the night like

Car wreck.  Bomb threat

Heart attack, cancer, and all death

Fear is whatever you fed it

And fear will become what you let it, I said it

 

What a nightmare, in this jail cell.  Now I “hang by a rope” like a parasail

Paranoia in a pirouette while my head spinning ‘round like a carousel

I think too much.  God gonna vomit when He look at the real me

Like every tree branch that’ll cast shadow in a flash of lightning on a mission to kill me

Spare me your pity apparently baby, you feigning your interest

I’m not convinced to be taking whatever you came to solicit

You ain’t equipped to administer aid to a brain in a prison

A penny a thought and I’d prolly be making billion a minute

Got too many reasons to believing a demon 

Is immediately feeding on a dream when I sleep

Sitting here with every single light source on me

White like ghost, but the mind look coffee

Sitting here with every single light source on me

White like ghost, but the bite’s more zombie

Fear is whatever you fed it and fear will become what you let it

I let it come enter it nestled and settled and everything ended in less than a second

 

+ FINAL FANTASY

This is for the "cats" feeling out of the place… Cait Sith

If you loving what I’m saying, everybody “throw it up:” like you ‘bout to lose a pound today

Take a shovel now we got a lot of ground to break 

Turn the level up, we got a lot sound to make

I make a case to vacate any sentiment 

Dictating that being the same equates relevance

This is my element

I was always kinda nerdy and I’m awkward

Looking at me like you working on a crossword

Team cap’n didn’t want me on a roster

I’m indifferent to the people all around me

I be coughing ‘cause I feeling like I’m drowning

Never had enough to be another hype beast

Ya’ll prolly find me sipping up on a Hi-C, blonde hair and spiky

Only chilD

Nobody hold me down.  I’m so lonely now 

No hope or trust, I’m so insecure

And ain’t nobody coming near when I seal the door 

Was the only Asian in a place, complaining

That God ain’t awake and He so mistaken

No fascination with the world around me

As it whirls around me, it’s a culmination

Never comprehended what it meant to be normal

Never won awards, never went to the Formal

Wanted to belong but couldn’t quite “deliver”

That slice of that pie, and couldn’t bite the dinner

God, how long ‘till you getting me out?

Ain’t nobody living here that could figure me out…

And then it all clicked, I found my foundation

In video games and a page of animation

 

This is my final fantasy

Where the world gets saved by the outcast

When the hope’s in the hands of the ragtag

Where the champs all handled a bad past

All alone and the world seems distant

If games and anime had taught me one thing: heroes always seem different.

 

I never liked to party, never liked to drink; I never liked debauchery, and all the things

All the peers around me all appear to round up and they seeming happy but I’m deeply doubting

Not saying I’m better.  I’m saying I’m different, it’s not my decision for my own indifference

I want to be part of the posse but probably won’t cop an audition

Feeling out of place like a Final Fantasy main protagonist

Terra’s magic and Zidane in Tantalus, Cloud in AVALANCHE

I give you more, gladly: Link in the Kokiri Forest with Navi

Smacking the grass with the sword and it’s slashing to rupees that pop out to top off the baggie

Feeling out of place: like Sasuke is in Team 7

Like Zoro wielding three weapons.  One mouth, one right, and one left hand

Like Crono on board the Epoch.  Going back in time in mere seconds

Like elite professions in the League of Legends ain’t nobody competing ‘cause we "reckless"

Now it’s time to switch your perspective don’t blink and miss your direction

You see a curse, better change perception, start thinking gift or a blessing

Out of place all alone and the world seems distant

But games and anime had taught us one thing: heroes always seem different

Naruto taught me

Sasuke taught me

Monkey D. Luffy, Kakashi taught me

Mario taught me

Crono taught me

Sanji, Nami, Yuffie all taught me

Mugen taught me

Haruko taught me

Goku, Pokemon, Haruhi, taught me 

Final Fantasy 3, 7, 10 taught me

Red XIII, Locke, Wakka all taught me

 

+ LIKE WAVES

Listen to the ocean breathing.  Look at that shimmering sequence

Waves in rhythm… leap and they fall in the arms of a beach, all season

See warm colors brew: saturation; blue sky turn caffeinated

David playing that magic chord: drew “Hallelujah,” I’m captivated

And it “pleased the Lord:” masterpiece. “Framed” in His image, He “captured” me

That aperture, that shutter speed that master has what that camera need

And we only got one “shot;” but how could a subject decide the exposure?  

We may have the freedom but what do we really exert our control over?

I am not sovereign.  I’m just another cog in the locket  

He giveth and taketh but who am I questioning God and His logic?

You fluent in ignorance thinking that death isn’t true to his promise

He’s proven to be indisputably ruthless, “brutally honest”

It’s pretty and all, but what good is it really in building a bond

Told this beach how beautiful it was more times than I ever told mom

I marvel deep in expressing a reverent praise to a body of water when secretly

When hurting, and searching for words to affirm is my cousin who ended his journey too early

I stared at your picture Stood at your viewing

I knew you were hurting.  My stomach is full of excuses

I wanted to help, didn’t know how to do it, the silence is brutal

Maybe refraining from speaking the Truth is just as abusive

I am in tune as I study the wave run from and to, and examine the movement

Whether I want it or not, the water had brought the intention so “clear” to pursue

This is my cue: but I am resistant who am I kidding there isn’t a difference

This was the mission while “we were still sinners:” this is the infinite gift of persistence

I wish I could be like the water that creep up in clutching your ankles

I wish I could be as the sea is repeatedly reaching: so faithful

We get thrown to the bottom to break and are brought to the brink of the fatal

But even the waves stumble and fall, at just the right angle: you see a rainbow

I’m critically short of the virtue I value

Fighting the very same demon that seem to be lurking around you

My only regret are my words of affection are so misdirected

So I came back here trying to talk to God and then He taught me a lesson

 

Maybe I was too late

I was too concerned with myself

Maybe I was too late

I was too immersed with my realm

Father would you make our love like waves?

 

+ HEARTMELT

There used to be “season” when I made “mountainous" poems

“Change came to ‘climate (climb it)’ snow bounce in a moment

Used to pen quotes the sun choked on a shadow 

The room is dark and empty now I “write vocals to candles"

“Pilot” of “fly” rapping the cabin pressure is stable

Climb in that horizon to kiss the mouth of a rainbow (they know)

Been a minute since I “made out” with a lyric

I guess I lost the passion that I once had to begin with (it's all "tongue in [and] cheek")

This kissing ain’t as frequent

My pride had gone colossal now it’s wading in the deep end

“Came to sea” the ocean on a weekend

Waiting for a wave to speak to me but the motion just ain’t as scenic

If beauty in the eye of a beholder, I don’t see it 

If pain be the requirement to shoulder: I don’t need it 

But tell me what is medicine if never do you let it in

Because you don’t accept that it would benefit: tell me what’s a lesson

With lesser of your commitment to listen to what’s objective

And measure by your opinion?  Imagine what you’re missing

I rap to show you all a better method

But couldn’t stop the reckless progression of all your deafness

Beg for your attention like infection in systemic

A reverend peddling every message of repentance

I remember when there used to be a good intention

Behind all this aggressive expression but I forget and

Can’t remember the last I was inspired

Sang, dance, wept, and laughed around the fire

When deep within my chest; just a mess of pessimism

A pile (of) scrap iron, and defective mechanisms.  And I don’t see the point 

Now that everyone’s an artist with a similar background

Dozen other Filipino cats who rap now 

Tell me what’s the purpose of perspective and context

When there isn’t any truth in the content?

 

If I went away

It would be the same

Nothing here would change

Floating down this passing river

If I drift away

Would you sail for me

Help me find a way

To make me try again

 

I guess I’m too old for the young kids to relate to

You too young for the old heads to embrace you

Your past ain’t got enough scars to be a victim

You don’t say “Christ” when you rap, you ain’t a Christian

You're really not Asian. Your more closer to Latin

You ain’t Filipino if you don’t speak the language

(You) don’t got success if you don’t got the practice

Get a job and stop all your rapping

Trapped in passion ain’t congruent

With all these stupid things that will amuse you

It’s petty my identity hurts, harms, abuses you

I ‘guess we all playing “dress up.”  And we choose to

This is my confusion: approval is a costume

Don it for the sake everybody but not you.  Sometimes you got to

How far’s the fall you can’t see the distance

The only “take away” is you can’t see the “difference”

“Who is this?” I inch a little nearer

The image that exists within the mirror.  Appearance getting clearer

I see him now he’s trying cross through; he whispered with a melancholy view: “I’m not you”

You know the feeling when you sacrifice it all

Just to find a single solitary place to feel involved

No matter how hard you’re struggling to belong

The rumbling in your heart is strumming a different song?

Unique love, unheard of: a mystery in that sweetness

Completing all this peace in the symphony where that “beat” is

For the first time, I see clearly: eyes open I see stars 

Crescendo and rise up, I fly over to greet Mars

And I don’t want to wrestle with peace

By projecting all the things that you’re expecting of me

And I don’t even know what it means

But I’m trying be everything that I’m destined to be