Kung hindi pa ipina-presscon ng Viva Records si Because, along with his bagong ka-collab na si Claudia Barretto, ay hindi malalaman ng entertainment press na may acting background pala ang magaling at prolific rapper-songwriter na si Because, whose real name is Bernard Jose “BJ” Castillo.
“Uma-acting po ako noon sa GMA,” natatawang recall ni Because. “Kung naalala po ninyo ’yong palabas na Mga Mata ni Angelita? Ayon po, cast po ako doon. Duwente ako doon sa Mga Mata ni Angelita. So, imagine ninyo maliit na Because na may elf [ears]. So, ayan po may background po ako sa acting. I used to act when I was younger. I acted din in a few commercials ng KFC.”
Kaya naman open daw siyang umarte ulit lalo na ngayon na meron ng Vivamax at Viva artist naman siya. Nauna na nga sa kanya ang rapper din na si Pio Balbuena at mukang magkaka-pareho pa sila ng genre. But ayon kay Because, napag-usapan na rin somehow among the Viva bosses ang pagpasok niya sa acting.
“When we were on a meeting I was telling them parang gusto ko ’yong sa Trojan vibes [na roles] kasi ako when you hang with me, I’m a naturally jokey person. Minsan ’yong joke hindi tuma-tama pero pag may nakita akong nakakatawa sasabihin ko. I feel like I’m that kind of person na ‘Oh, look at that, look at that.’ And then magsasabi na lang ng funny out of something.
“So, definitely something like comedy and then interested ako...since sa background ko naman parang galing din naman ako sa streets, ganu’n and then alam mo naman pag rapper parang s’yempre medyo sketchy ’yong galaw...so ready then ako sa mga films na musician ’yong role and then like gangster, which is ganu’n naman ako sa totoong buhay. Wala akong baril na dala pero matapang naman akong tao. So, kaya ko ’yong mga ganu’ng klaseng roles. Something like comedic na sketchy na parang tough guy. I feel like kaya ko siyang i-pull off.
“I feel like magmula nu’ng nagkaroon ako ng acting experience when I was a child, I always wish na if I was in a movie I will do any kind role kasi nga kaya ko naman siya i-execute.”
Into arts na talaga si Because bago pa man siya sumikat. Besides songwriting and rapping and acting, painter din pala siya and says he’s also tried his hands at directing short films. Kumbaga, walang choice ang tadhana kundi dalhin siya sa mundo ng arts and entertainment dahil halos siya na ang nagdikta where fate should lead him.
“I’m a very experimental person,” tsika pa rin niya sa virtual press conference. “I tried graffiti, I tried painting professionally. I used to paint tapos ibibenta ko po sa mga kakilala ko. Ipi-painting ko lang po ’yang mga pinapa-drawing nila sa akin and then I used to always draw and then direct short films. That was when I was in school pa. I studied performance arts in UE—that’s music, theater, film sa iisang course po. Ayon po, senior high po, ang last project din po namin is nag-acting din ako, ang pangalan ko po doon Hector.
“So, maraming, maraming, maraming nangyari po. Na-develop din po ’yong music ko kasi I was in UE din po doon po umano ’yong parang first hit song ko na ‘Marlboro Black.’ So, medyo naging famous po ako sa school palang namin like, ‘Oh yan nakita ko lang, dumadaan yan dito. Yan ’yong nag-rap sa event ngayon.’
“So, eventually nagkaroon po ako ng parang in a way cult fan base sa school ko and then it went nationwide I guess.”
Nationwide talaga dahil as of press time, may 44.6M views na ang music video ng “Marlboro Black” na nailapag four years ago sa Unrthdx YouTube Channel. Hindi pa kabilang ang ibang Channels doon.
Recently, nagka-spontaneous collab sila ng magandang si Claudia Barretto. Kaswalan lang pero naka-produce ng isang magandang RnB piece, ang “Everything.”
“Actually nabanggit lang ng Viva na, ‘Oh, Claudia is here ganito ganyan and Claudia has been listening to you. Do you wanna meet?’ So, sabi ko, ‘Sige, game yan. P’wedeng pakisabihan si Claudia na let’s meet.’
“Eventually hindi na ’yong Viva nakikipag-coordinate nung sinabi naming gusto naming mag meet, kaming dalawa ’yong nag-uusap. And then, nu’ng pupunta na kami ng studio, that was us. Everything just went organic.”
Agree naman si Claudia.
“The song is called ‘Everything’ meaning doing everything to pursue your dreams...to reach your goals,” dagdag info ni Claudia about their output. “It’s kinda straight forward and originally it was a collaboration that we thought of doing for the Arrival, which was the online concert that we had in November .”
Na-enjoy daw nang husto ni Claudia makipag-collab sa tinawag niyang “swagger personified” na si Because. In fact, a sobrang enjoy nila, it took them just less than five hours to put the whole thing together.
“It was very fun to work with one of the most prolific rap artists in the Philippines right now. What an honor. It was a very easy and exciting project to work on.
“Actually the whole process was very interesting because it was the first in-person meeting I had with Because and we only did this in one studio session. We were able to write and record the full song together during that first meeting we had. Less done five hours, the whole song was done. It was a very easy collaboration. Meaning it was like written in the stars, kind of...felt like.”
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