Francis Durango Magalona or as he is also known FrancisM, Master Rapper, and The Man From Manila is credited as being the first Filipino rapper in the Philippines to successfully crossover to the mainstream. He is also popularly known as the "King of Pinoy Rap" and is one of the most idolized, celebrated and influential rappers within the genre.
A sibling of nine brothers and sisters, Francis Magalona is the son of late Philippine movie screen legends Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran. The late Senator Enrique Magalona was his grandfather.
Starting out as a breakdancer in the early 1980s, he followed in his parents footsteps and ventured out into acting, appearing in several Filipino movies; he branched out to emceeing and released the groundbreaking album Yo! in 1990 garnering the nationalistic hit Mga Kababayan (My Countrymen), making Yo! the first commercially released Pinoy rap album in the Philippines.While rapping politically conscious and thought-provoking rhymes in both English and Tagalog, the album was a total success and helped instantly catapult Filipino hip hop from underground to mainstream status and also marked the birth of Makabayang or Nationalistic rap in Filipino hip hop.
In 1992, Francis Magalona released Rap Is FrancisM (1992), which is highly regarded as one of the greatest Pinoy Rap albums. With tracks addressing the various cultural and social problems that plagued his country such as drug addiction in "Mga Praning" (Paranoids), political instability in "Halalan" (Elections) as well as the detrimental effects of a colonial mentality in "Tayo'y Mga Pinoy" (We Are Filipinos), the record's complexity and conscious message quickly earned it its classic status and became the standard by which future albums of the genre were to be compared.
The release of his third album, "Meron akong ano!" (I Got Some!) in 1993, followed by "FreeMan" in 1995 marked the beginning of Francis' experimentation with Pinoy rock, becoming an exceptional artist in both genres of music. He has frequently collaborated with other Pinoy music luminaries such as Joey Ayala, Heber Bartolome, Ryan Cayabyab, Mike Hanopol of the legendary Juan dela Cruz Band, Andrew E, Michael V and Denmark and of course, the Eraserheads. Even more recently he has been seen working side by side with Pikaso, Gloc 9, Stick Figgas and Parokya ni Edgar.
FrancisM's contributions to the genre have been featured in several international hip hop publications including the All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop (2003) published by Backbeat Books; as well as the May 2004 issue of the U.S. based publication The Source. FrancisM was also given the Pioneer Hall of Fame Award by Empire Entertainment at the 1st Annual Philippine Hip-Hop Music Awards in 2005.
Over the years FrancisM has also branched out to numerous hosting responsibilities; and has been part of several television shows including the longest running daytime television show in the Philippines Eat Bulaga!, as well as being a VJ for MTV Asia. Magalona is MTV Asia's first Filipino VJ along with Regine Tolentino and Donita Rose. He worked with MTV from 1997 up to 2000. Aside from television, he also hosts live events and presentations.
In 2002, along with the assistance of then FUBU Philippines' management Carlo Maniquiz and Nick Tuazon(who is currently the Editor-In-Chief and CEO of Digital Photographer Philippines, Francis launched a compilation album of the same name later that year showcasing a basic who's who of local hip-hop talents in and around the islands. Later that year, Francis Magalona's greatest hits album, The Best of FrancisM was released by Musiko and Sony BMG Philippines.
He had also been chosen by Fremantle Media, owners of American Idol, and their local counterpart ABC-5 (owners of the 'Idol' franchise in that country) as one of the judges of Philippine Idol, alongside Maestro Ryan Cayabyab and Ms. Pilita Corrales, Asia's Queen of songs.
FrancisM was the recipient of the coveted MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards Generations Award in 2006 "in recognition of his career that has spanned decades and broken boundaries, and for his music which continues to inspire generations of artists and music fans both here and abroad." He is the second honoree, the first having been singer Gary Valenciano at the 2005 rites.
His legacy lives on