Here's a film reminding us that true hip-hop is political. In this era of extrajudicial killings under the reign of the current president, Duterte, young Hendrix sets his sights on underground rap battles in the slums of Pandacan, Manila. But his true enemies don’t have ears for his words.
The beats and rhymes in the Tagalog language are electric. A dynamic camera floats through sun-drenched streets and darkened alleys in the long, waking hours of the Filipino youth, represented by a cast of local rappers including the number one YouTube star, Abra, who plays our scruffy-haired protagonist. But it's when the camera grinds to a halt that the film really shines. In the face of state-inflicted terror, Hendrix’s meeting with bookstore-owner Doc, once a radical poet, creates a striking parallel between the days of dictator Marcos and the present.