RAPPER Shanti Dope marks his first anniversary as an artist under Universal Records with an upcoming collaboration and a concert.
Growing up in Blumentritt, Manila, Sean Patrick Ramos was exposed to fliptop (rap battles) when he was only seven-years-old. “May kalaro ako na mahilig mag-Youtube tapos natuklasan niya yung fliptop. Sinabi niya sa akin. Hanggang sa sumikat ’yun sa lugar namin. Maraming mga batang nagba-battle rap tapos na-inspire din ako. (I had a playmate was into Youtube and discovered fliptop. He told me about it. Then it became popular in our area. There were many children who’d do rap battles and I got inspired too,” the 17-year-old rapper told BusinessWorld at a press conference last week at the Universal Tower in Quezon City.
“Una, nilalaro ko lang siya hanggang sa ‘di ko alam na rap na pala yung ginagawa ko (At first, I just played with [the words] until I later realized that I was already doing rap),” he added.
Mr. Ramos decided on the name “Shanti” after discovering that it meant “peace” — a word he picked up from his father who practices Krishna Consciousness; and, according to the rapper, he added, “dope” at the end “para astig (because it was cool).”
The young rapper’s uncle, Lester “Klumcee” Vaño, who acts as his producer and co-manager, introduced him to multi-awarded rapper Gloc-9 and helped Mr. Ramos land a record deal at Universal Records in August 2017.
That same year, Shanti Dope released his self-titled EP followed by a second EP, Materyal. His hit song “Nadarang” garnered over 20 million views and streams after seven months on Spotify and five months on YouTube.
The rapper noted that those accomplishments have motivated him to create new material, “Mas ginanahan akong tapusin ’yung mga kailangan kong tapusin (I am more motivated to finish what needs to be finished),” he said.
Mr. Ramos described his writing process: he would sit with his uncle-producer who would help him come up with a song concept, then he would write the lyrics. The rapper’s themes mostly come from everyday experiences and stories he sees on the news.
Aside from music as a career, Mr. Ramos considers music as a stress reliever. “Nailalabas ko lahat ng gusto kong sabihin sa isang araw (I get to express all that I need to in one day),” he said.
“Gumagawa lang ako ng bagay na magwawala ng atensyon ko ng sandali sa music hanggang sa ma-miss ko ulit siya, gagawa ulit ako ng bago (I will do things that momentarily take my attention away from music, until I miss it again and get back at creating new material),” Mr. Ramos said about coping with writer’s block.
As Gloc-9’s protégé, the young rapper recalled a piece of advice from the multi-awarded rapper: “Maraming naghahangad pero bilang lang ang napipili. Kaya hangga’t maaaring nakuha mo na yung pagkakataon, sulitin mo na (Many seek but few are chosen. For as long as you get the opportunity, make the most out of it).”
In celebration of his first year in the industry, Shanti’s upcoming projects include a new album, and an international collaboration with Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Mimi.
Shanti and Gloc-9 will also be special guests in the Ultimate Hiphop OG Bone Thugs-N-Harmony concert on Sept. 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena at Entertainment City in Parañaque.
The Shanti Dope and Materyal EPs are available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon under Universal Records. Tickets for the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony concert are out now via SM Tickets. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman