Written by Elijah P.

Davao’s premiere hip-hop group PLAYERTWO is aiming to take over the Southeast Asian scene with their visceral take on the genre. They seemingly have the complete package of a unit: hooks that go on for days, a virtuoso mix of producers and rappers trading bar after every beat switch and a chemistry that is to die for. 

They’ve eventually landed themselves in a major label deal, marketing the group wherever they go in the country. Shortly after the release of the massively successful “That’s My Baby”, the group eventually went on to release an album; assume that it’s the first installment of a series of albums that’s reminiscent of the Saturation Trilogy by then hip-hop group BROCKHAMPTON – who also popularized the modern-day “boyband” formula in the West. 

But back here, we’ve witnessed a sea change of rap groups following this model from Manila to Pampanga to way South in Davao City. It’s a phenomenon that hasn’t fizzled out yet. In “HAPPY ACCIDENTS VOL. 1”, the group doubles down in the dynamic, following through what seems to be a long-term plan devised by PLAYERTWO themselves. 

“HAPPY ACCIDENTS VOL. 1” is a decent effort at showing what it means to be a “boyband” in 2023. With members Ivo Impreso, Luke April, Wave P and creative directors Ven Villariza and DJ PUHKEN serving a plate of hooks and bars, there are slight hiccups involved throughout the entire project. The distinct rapping style of Wave P is noticeably more charming than the rest of the group, making him consistently standout wherever the group lays the smackdown. But if listeners would notice as time passes, biases form: Wave P might be the only member sticking out in terms of writing clever verses and learning how to stick out melodically. 

In tracks like “THINKIN OF LOVE” and “TIKTIKTOKIN,” Ivo Impreso and Luke April got what it takes to follow up Wave P’s verses, but it oftentimes come out short in the long run. Sometimes, it comes off as confusing whether or not who is rapping in the verse. Funnily enough, listeners might even mistake that two verses may be one rapper all along In the smash hit single “THAT’S MY BABY” Wave P’s bridge instantly comes out as a highlight in the entire album. Beating the rest of the two verses that came before it. This is a case of hard carrying rather than it being a group effort. 

However, production-wise Ivo and Luke’s production has surpassed everyone’s expectations. In “SHOWER MUSIC”, there’s a percussive instrumental pattern, almost experimental if you listen hard enough, that is far beyond the conventional instrumentations from the rest of the album. “HAPPY ACCIDENTS VOL. 1” is an installment that shows promise of the group. It’s a project that is a rap showcase rather than a project being a separate body of conceptual work. It can function as a body of work on its own, but sometimes its quality becomes unbalanced due to the lack of cohesion and order. Hence, the album being a battle of verses rather than a team effort. PLAYERTWO shouldn’t be just a “PLAYERONE” in most cases. 

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