Def Jam Philippines signee Tommie King celebrates his return to the Philippines with his newest single. “Nights In Manila” details the city’s turned-up nightlife scene from the rapper’s perspective. The smooth and wavy banger is definitely a soundtrack that all can relate to if you have partied in the Philippines.
Tommie King, an Atlanta native, has spent the last two years waiting for his second home country's borders to open up before returning earlier this year. Not only is "Nights In Manila" a feel-good track to add to your late-night playlists, but it's also an ode to the rapper/singer's feeling homesick while reminiscing about the culture and lifestyle in Manila and missing loved ones.
Stream “Nights In Manila” and check out our Q/A with the MC below.
Q: First and foremost, let’s have those who are meeting you for the first time get to know you more through your music. Send us three clips, which can be anything from released songs, music videos, TikTok challenges, freestyles, covers, etc for our readers to get a glimpse of your sound.
Q: Describe your sound in 3 words:
Passionate. Original. Addictive.
Q: Who are your biggest influences as an artist?
Kanye West of course. OutKast. Central Cee
Q: Name 3 Filipino artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future:
Q: What was your inspiration behind Nights In Manila? What was the creative process behind the song?
It came completely natural. I don’t really enter the studio with a song idea, it’s more of a feeling. That day I had got some bad news about re-entering Manila and started reminiscing on all the fun I had in the nightlife there. When I found a beat that I liked, it was the first natural thing that came out of my mouth “I been missing those Nights In Manila” and the rest really just all came out kinda quickly.
Q: How does it feel to carry on the Def Jam legacy here in the Philippines?
Most amazing feeling. I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Def Jam team. There’s so much history and hip-hop culture associated with the brand for decades back and I feel chosen to lead it into the future in a way.
Q: A lot of the lyrics in the song discuss you missing Nights In Manila. How was the experience waiting for the borders to open up?
Painstaking. That’s the best way to describe it. Missing loved ones is definitely the hardest part, especially the uncertainty of when I could come back, and if I ever will. Now, I’m just glad to be back 100%.
Q: As a rapper from America, what made you choose to return to the Philippines? What is it about the culture here that makes you proud to call Manila your second home?
There’s a lot of things, but the ability to be free as an artist in what I choose to make sonically in terms of sound is the biggest thing for me. Here people can appreciate talent in the purest form, I can use all my skills and tools to make all genres more or less. In America, it doesn’t work that way. A rapper is just a rapper, and that extends farther than just music.
Q: We saw your song was recently up on an EDSA billboard. How did it feel seeing yourself on the busiest highway in the country?
That was a milestone, but also proof that you can do anything that you set your mind to. I wanted that billboard for years. Literally, since the first day I laid eyes on it. It’s very reassuring and makes me feel like I’m doing what I was truly meant to do! It feeds the strength inside me that fights my inner critic.
Q: Now that you're back in Manila, what's next for Tommie King? Any upcoming releases that we should be on lookout for?
I’m gonna be pushing Nights In Manila for another month or so, but in between now and my next official release, I’m gonna drop something so the billboard moment lives forever for me and my current + future fans. After that, mark my words, I’m gonna drop a song that changes rap in the Philippines FOREVER!