#250posts24hrsAAPI - 126: Bambu + NPR Music Interview

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Definitely can't sleep on Bambu.

If you do - well - that's on you.


Jonah Deocampo grew up in Los Angeles in the 1990s, one of the estimated 3 million members of the Filipino diaspora in the United States. At 15, he got involved with Filipino street gangs, which eventually led to an arrest for armed robbery. At that point — on what he describes as the "advice" of a judge — he joined the Marines. Today, he's Bambu DePistola: a community activist and rapper with a committed following in underground hip-hop circles. Bambu's message is uncompromising — for some, uncomfortably so — and he's begun to attract more widespread attention through opening shows for Common and collaborating with Killer Mike of Run The Jewels. Bambu spoke with NPR's Michel Martin about his youth in LA, why hip-hop appealed to him as the child of immigrants and how he's responded to critics who say his music is too negative. Hear their full conversation at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.