By Joey Dizon
Dumaguete-based rap trio MIDNASTY is chalking up another victory in propelling Visayan rap music with their latest collaboration with Cebu-based rapper COOKIE$. Their newest single, “Wa Na Wa,” was released last September under Warner Music Philippines.
The single, an upbeat head-bobber and party-starter, served as the kickoff track for the streaming platform Spotify’s Kalye X campaign. This initiative aims to showcase the depth of Pinoy hip-hop culture, pairing both emerging and established names in the genre from all three major islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Translated into Tagalog, the single’s title means “’di mawala” or “‘di nawawala.” According to Nik Kho, it is “all about celebrating life’s small and big wins which we’ve experienced over the years.”
“The project was a breath of fresh air,” Makoy further explains. “The sound, the message, and crafting it was great. We were given three choices of artists to work with, and we ended up choosing Cookie$ because we thought his energy was perfect for the track. There were no adjustments, really, because we were all in our element and ready to work as soon as the opportunity presented itself.”
When asked about the common traits MIDNASTY shared with Cookie$, Arkho continued, “Though Cebu and Dumaguete share the same Visayan roots, there are those small differences which made the collaboration effective. We differ in lifestyle, mainly. Cebu has busy streets and tall buildings, hence the urban vibe Cookie$’s music has, while Negros Island is much more of a laid-back place where people can enjoy peace in their backyards.”
Cookie$ (aka Job Mari Penalosa) began his musical journey as a drummer for bands DROP DECAY and SHUFFLED. The rapper then moved to Atlanta in 2013, where he immersed himself further in the world of Hip-Hop. He later returned to the Philippines and gradually made a name for himself. He met Nik Kho of MIDNASTY in 2019, and when the pandemic hit, he initially worked with both Nik Kho and Ark Kho, as well as Hero Tunguia, on music. However, “Wa Na Wa” is officially their first face-to-face collaboration.
“We’re preparing for a new release and another collaboration before the year ends,” says Nik Kho when asked about the group’s plans, now that the single has been released.
You can stream the single here.