Jean-Paul Sartre – Existence is Prior to Essence
Jean-Paul Sartre is known as the father of Existentialism, the belief that humans define their own meaning in life, emphasizing individuality, freedom, and choice. Sartre famously declared that “man is condemned to be free,” and that “existence is prior to essence,” the first indicating that he has a responsibility to himself, and the second denoting that his essence is determined by the very choices he makes, more than the labels other people ascribe to him.
The Lyrics: Gagamitin lang nila ang ‘yong pagiging sikat/ Sabi ko sayo diba, ‘di lahat ay tapat? Na mga bitches, na tanging riches/ Wag ilahat ng pagkatao mo at feelings from the beginning, hindi sapat!/ Who you ka na pag gusto, napasakamay
Again, we see here what the lyrical genius Brandon is hinting at: that one’s fame, one’s riches don’t define that person. They are far more than that, as they are the sum of all the choices they have made, and so much more. For anyone to just define a human person by their bank account is folly, and a grave mistake, because one’s personhood runs far deeper than that.
Confucius – The Golden Rule
Confucius is perhaps the greatest Eastern philosopher that we know of, and it shows. Often known for exemplifying the Golden Mean, from him is also taken the Golden Rule, which we also associate with Christian thinking: do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.
The Lyrics: ‘Di ba sabi ko sayo wag nang uulit?/ Ang kulit mo ring kaibigan ka/ Ilang beses na ang puso mo’y napunit/ Nagagalit pag sinasabihan ka
Bullet-D shows wisdom beyond his years by following the Golden Rule to its logical conclusion: he does unto others what he wants others to do unto him, and in this case, that is to dispense sane, good, logical advice to a friend, even if that friend would resent it from time to time.
Rene Descartes – Desire is an Agitation of the Soul
There’s no escaping Rene Descartes, quite simply. From the Cartesian plane to “cogito ergo sum,” his ideas have permeated all of modern thinking. Still, one of his lesser-known works, “Passions of the Soul,” tackles the very notion of desire, and how it is an agitation of the soul.
The Lyrics: Huwag kang magpakahibang huwag mong gawing mundo/ Yung alam mo na tao lang alam mo yan kaya/ Huwag mo nang lokohin ang sarili mo hayaan mo sila na maglaway kakatingin sayo/ Hanggang sa silang lahat naman ang maghabol sayo/ ‘Pag nagawa mo yan ay tsaka nako bibilib sayo
Flow-G expertly navigates the human condition of desire, and seeks to turn it around on its ear. That instead of desiring for someone, be desired instead. In doing so, it won’t be you who gets agitated, but them, giving them a taste of their own medicine, and making them understand how it feels to be “agit na agit.”
Jean Baudrillard – Simulacra and Simulation
What most people probably remember Jean Baudrillard for, more than anything else, would be his work, “Simulacra and Simulation,” which seeks to explain the relationships between symbols, reality, and society. All is composed with references, with no referents – a hyperreality. This is where we stand today – symbols with no inherent value.
The Lyrics: De-de-de there’s so many bitches in the club/ There’s so many sexy babies, ba’t hindi ka maghanap?
The brilliant Skusta Clee turns his attention to a pressing question that he makes, but also hints at one he doesn’t. First, he asks his friend to look at all the “bitches in the club,” and why not look for someone among all of them. The unspoken question is, what exactly are “bitches in the club?” Do they mean anything? Or is the only meaning, really, in our relationship to the symbol of the “bitches,” rather than merely what “bitches” have come to signify? Thus, even in just these lyrics, Skusta Clee is already questioning the very concept of misogyny, and whether or not misogyny exists merely with the word “bitches,” when that word may very well convey far more beyond just the offensive, obvious meaning, especially if one is “naghahanap” with regards to said “bitches.”
Now, knowing all of this, perhaps the next time someone decides to tell you that they’re so sick of Jeje Rap, you could point them to this 8List, and educate them that there’s far more to Ex-Battalion than meets the eye – they are philosophical and lyrical geniuses for a new age. But even if, after dropping this knowledge on them, they’re still hating, you know what?
Hayaan mo sila.
What do you think of the song? Tell us below!