Bart XL: The Tagalog-spitting Australian Rapper
Story by Michael Lu
Deep within the heart of Sydney’s inner-west, Philippine-born rapper Bartholomew Quizon works on his latest album in a small granny-flat unit.
Inside, the warmth and humidity of a hot summer’s day merge with the eclectic atmosphere of spoken poetry and rhythm.
However, the heat didn’t phase Quizon as he had spent the latter part of his youth hopping between the tropical islands of Davao to Manila city in the Philippines before moving to Australia in 2003.
Quizon goes by the stage name Bart XL, and considers himself as one of the few, if not the only, Australian hip-hop artists to rap in both English and Tagalog Filipino.
“Retrospectively, I started rapping in English, and then Tagalog when I listened to more Filipino music,” he said.
“I was influenced by this really big rapper in the Philippines called Francis Magalona, he kind of bought rap from America into the Philippines, and there’s also Chito Miranda.
Their music influenced me, and when I realised no one else was doing it in Australia, I decided to take that Filipino sauce.
Bewilderment was one of the few reactions Quizon received as he debuted his song ‘XL’ while performing live for the first time at Redfern’s Hustle and Flow bar.
“My first performance, I started with XL which probably has the most Tagalog of all my songs,” he recalled.
“I was doing English at first, then the Filo came in and everyone’s head turned.”
When asked to translate the Tagalog lyrics, Quizon said it is nothing short of ‘the ignorant stuff that you’ll find in rap nowadays’.
Experimenting with new sounds and expression, Bart XL’s upcoming EP ‘Idk Yet Man’ centres on capturing anger as an artistic expression, while subtly influenced by his own life experiences.
“I’ve got a lot of anger in me, but being personal isn’t my goal with this project,” he said.
There will probably be some low key lines about my personal frustrations in life, but for the most part, it won’t get too personal.
“It will mostly be a release for me, but for the listener, it’ll just be an experience.”
While there’s no word yet when the album will drop, Quizon teases that there will be five songs in this new release.
Plus, to stay up-to-date on his new album, follow his Instagram HERE.