A new song dedicated to the Philippine National Football Team (Azkals) will hit the streets or, should I say, turf soon. “The Turf” is a catchy and edgy hip-hop song that features vocals delivered by R&B singer Duncan Ramos and rapping by footballer Stephanie Dan. The track from Duncan Ramos’s upcoming album smoothly blends his R&B style with infectious, slick electronic beats that weave in and out of the song. After one spin, I wouldn’t be surprised if the throw-your-hands-up song hypnotically takes you to the turf.
Background and Development
“The Turf” was written by Mel Macasaquit, CEO of the Melmac Group of Companies, who also happens to be a friend of Duncan Ramos himself. As we all know, Duncan Ramos is a former member of pop and R&B band South Border that spawned the hit singles “Rainbow,” “The Show,” and “Brown Hand Smash.”
While Duncan Ramos was working on his upcoming album, he needed an Azkal to be featured on a song entitled “Flaunt,” and that was when Melmac Sports entered the scene and recommended Jason de Jong. With Jason’s swagger and bad-boy charm, he is undoubtedly the perfect choice for Duncan’s carrier single. It was “Flaunt” that gave Mel the brilliant idea to come up with a new song for the Azkals.
“While doing ‘Flaunt,’ I realized that since I’m already attached to his album, why not make a song dedicated to the Azkals. A song that can be played or even performed before an Azkals game. I wanted something modern that even the kids would love to sing along. The usual LSS,” narrated Mel.
The track also features Stephanie Dan, the only athlete/singer under Melmac Sports. Mel chose her because he wanted it to sound young and fresh. Her style of rapping blends well with the bouncing club rhythms.
Knowing Mel’s ardor for the Azkals and Duncan’s passion for music, they made it happen. “So I told Duncan, ‘Let’s make a song for the team and make sure it sounds fast and aggressive. The real asong kalye.’ He agreed to the idea. But he asked me to write it. He was probably thinking I know more about Azkals,” explained Mel.
Writing and Recording
Believe it or not, Mel did not live a recluse’s life while composing the song. Sometimes ideas just start flowing and clicking into place, and surprisingly, you end up with a work of art. You don’t have to be composer to write a song; all you need is inspiration. “I was just putting whatever popped into my head. I’m not even a real composer. I was just thinking about the history of the Azkals and the people behind it. When Duncan asked me about the name of the song, I could only think of one word, turf, just because I was passing by BGC Turf. But I guess it makes sense since if a team wants to prove something in football, I’d say, ‘Let’s take it to the turf.’ But it’s just me.”
Some of the lines in the song were inspired by two phone calls Mel received while writing it. “It was funny because while writing the song, I received two phone calls that afternoon. One from Sir Dan. The second one was from Chieffy. He was asking me about an update for his cup in Barotac. Then we ended up talking about his goal in 2012 Suzuki cup against Vietnam,” elaborated Mel. So don’t go wondering why the names Chieffy and Dan Palami are in the lyrics. Speaking of Dan Palami, he was supposed to sing a line or two, but a sore throat prevented him from belting out or rapping.
Lyrically, the song is devoid of some elements present in mainstream hip-hop songs—profanity, pent-up issues, sexual innuendos, and the like. The song is intended for everyone, no parental guidance needed. Stephanie Dan’s mom and sister swung by their recording session and read the lyrics, and Mel said that they asked that the word pump from the line “Pump it up some more” to be changed to spice. Now you obviously can’t go wrong with an upbeat song about the Azkals.
Two songs have already been written for the Azkals, but this new anthem draws power from its talented singers, clever take on football, and vintage beats that would want you to blast your headphones or speakers. This track, which incorporates the genre of this generation, is not just meant for the Azkals but for every Filipino who enjoys music. Filipino pride can be fun; it can even take you to the turf.