Shanti Dope is a 16-year-old rapper from Manila who started writing verses in 2013 following the footsteps of local rappers who use songwriting as a way to tell stories. Influenced by the idea of storytelling through rap, his first long verse got him into rapper Smugglaz 2015 album Walking Distance. 2017 marks the year he comes out with his own self-titled EP with Universal Records.
Along with Smugglaz, he counts as influences Loonie, Ron Henley, and Gloc-9 whose wordplay, context, rhymes, and narratives he aspires for in his own work. The name Shanti Dope meanwhile is borne of the influence of his father, who was a practitioner of Krishna Consciousness. Shanti is the hindi word for “peace,” which, alongside “dope” could mean “Peace is my natural drug.” This call for peace, given songs that actually speak of injustice and inequality, that insists on discussing the state of the nation, is what sets him apart from many rappers his age.
In less than a week after Materyal EP release, the carrier single “Nadarang” shot straight to the #1 spot on Spotify PH’s Top 50 Viral Chart. Not only that, three other songs from the EP entered the chart as well — “Materyal” (#10), “Shantidope” (#15) and “Norem” (#50).