Every year, something monumental happens in the music scene, whether it would be an army of alt-kids taking over a mall show, a rapper taking over the country by storm on Tiktok or a DIY venue at the verge of crumbling after two shoegaze bands. Genres have multiplied into bubbles, ecosystems emerge as newer venues from the highways of Cavite to the driveway of a basement at a Chinese restaurant. There’s a steady scene rising, amplifying louder one year after the other: 2023 is a year where those highlights have made made an impact beyond NCR.

From Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao, we present to you a yearly tradition that the editorial team would always prepare themselves for; Not just because it’s the task that’s daunting, but it’s the journey and the result of 11 months of scouring the internet and gigs for the best of Filipino music. Here it is, The 23 Filipino Tracks of 2023.

23. P4BL0 – baka magalit mf mo

In the “18 Commandments of the Boybestfriend”, there’s unnecessary fluff written along those ridiculous rules. However, P4bl0’s “baka magalit boyfriend mo” has this lasting effect delivered by its cloud-9 like production, ultimately writing one of the best pop hooks in the game now. It hasn’t been written on the scribes nor the tablets that South Metro Manila regular P4Bl0 made a banger track tailor made for the rebounds. Whether it’s the wacky gimmick of BBF/GBFs or the semi-ironic execution, P4bl0 has proven and tested that the undying concept of love and yearning can be done in a dreamy cloud-rap fashion. -Elijah P.

22. O Side Mafia – My Thang

It’s been an endless streak of hit singles for O $ide Mafia despite the lackluster collaborations and disputes between territorial beef and fan leaks; “My Thang” is a victorious reaction to all of the success outweighing all of the group’s cons in the game. The simple old-school 2000s G-Funk influenced synths, the satisfying braggadacio three-verse combo and the killer hook is an all-time career highlight for the group and they just stay winning while all the haters watch. -Elijah P.

  1. KRNA – Dream Again

KRNA expand on their infectious sound by expanding their soundscapes to include reverse guitar samples while pairing back on KCs vocal strength. The single shows the band’s mastery of making heartwarming music and a story of yearning that feels like a warm embrace being whispered while in a slumber. -Janlor Encarnacion

  1. Armi Millare – Roots

Armi Millare announced her return to the music scene with a dissonant pop single – taking the time to show her own prowess in music creation with a tune leaning towards more pop and r&b. Roots signals the metamorphosis and re-emergence of OPMs signature voices and we can’t wait for more. -Janlor Encarnacion

  1. Suyen – Sonic Tonic

‘Sonic Tonic’ is the long-anticipated debut that charges Suyen’s magnetic presence amidst the fray of fringed pop rock, a bottle of riot grrl and grunge blends where Suyen just sounds high-spirited in her craving for that adrenaline rush. Sam Marquez’s production is impeccable in bringing the heatwave atmosphere to ‘Sonic Tonic’, where the already remarkable chugging riffs and splashy drum work are vibrant and immense. Enough to keep everyone cheering along the soaring hook, ‘Sonic Tonic’ is a striking first cut from Suyen who is never afraid to jump first into action, letting her do anything to reach a gratifying emotion that will keep her feel alive. -Louis Pelingen


‘SOUFSIDE’ is a meteoric statement from the Cebu Hip-Hop collective ASIDE BOONDOCKS as they erupted through the scene with their tastes for boom bap and hardcore hip-hop. Flagrant in their hyperbolic expressiveness, that ecstatic flair allows each of their distinct flows to tumble through the stirring hypnotic beat that has a quirk of its own due to its swaggering bass lines and buzzy synth waves. ‘SOUFSIDE’ stamps a mark that will break further ground for the Odd Future-inspired Hardcore Hip-Hop ASIDE BOONDOCKS are leaning towards, where they’ll spark an explosion that you can’t help but feel its heat. -Louis Pelingen

  1. Waiian ft. Yorko, U-Pistol – SMILE

With Waiian’s recent return for his sophomore album, ‘SMILE’ is a track that has a familiar thematic trudge from this rapper who has a lot more to observe past his 2020 debut. In this pensive reflection on the mortality and bullshit of life, Waiian invites Yorko and U-Pistol to pen down their emotions on the table amidst a relaxed boom-bap beat and calming piano lines. As a result of that writing session, ‘SMILE’ ended up being Waiian’s best song to date where the melodies are tight and catchy on all quarters from Waiian and Co. No wonder that ‘SMILE’ is one of the lead singles for Waiian’s recent project for a reason, as it’s a respite that brings a gentle smile on constant repeat. -Louis Pelingen

16. PETTE SHABU – Bulbulin Ka Na

As PETTE SHABU goes deeper into her experimental rap tapestry with every track she puts out, her transgressive lyricism and ferocious flows become more sharper. That in itself eventually led her to release dozens of challenging sonic bangers in 2023, with ‘Bulbulin Ka Na’ bringing the most sting out of her thus far. Through every whirling wordplay PETTE SHABU spits out, her flow turns impenetrable as PETTE SHABU confidently carries herself within horseboyy’s dense glitchy beat. ‘Bulbulin ka na’ is a bulldozer that keeps PETTE SHABU in control of her agency, lashing down everyone who comes for her without shame. -Louis Pelingen

  1. Pikunin – Tadhana

The dizzying hyper-pop artist known as AHJU$$I may have retired from that moniker, but his rebirth as Pikunin has those old bits and pieces intact, now ribboned with UK Garage rhythms and ticklish vocal flair. These characteristics manifest through Pikunin’s debut track, ‘Tadhana’, using Armi Mallare’s cooing vocals as the Jersey club beat tiptoes around it which also serves to be a bouncy springboard for Pikunin’s chirpy vocals and twee lyricism. Starry-eyed in nostalgia with a modern touch, Pikunin spins a refreshing take on the classic song that updates his eccentric brand of pop with gleeful yearning. -Louis Pelingen

  1. Ronan – Insomnia ft. SHUICHI

Out of the few tracks that Ronan has put out this year, the tweaked version of ‘Insomnia’ is his most compelling release thus far. With additional robust instrumentation, polished production, and shattering performances from both Ronan and Shuichi, ‘Insomnia’ blooms into something fully formed and representative of Ronan’s breakthrough within this psychedelic R&B niche. Ronan’s cover of ‘Kailan’ might be the seed that takes a peek at what he can bring, but ‘Insomnia’ is the one that emerges into the surface, unfolding into a jaw-dropping track as a result. -Louis Pelingen

  1. Salem and the Stellar Cats – Reflections After Salem

There’s spoken word about the local bands you’re with, some moments you just crave the halal patir in your neighborhood, and sometimes you just can’t resist calling your pet cat out of overwhelming emotional bonding. In the phenomenal “Reflections After Salem”, living in a world after Salem is a reminder that everywhere you go is a dizzying world of love, companionship and overall chaos. There’s angular, punk-driven riffages, buildups that give off a bedroom pop glare and a voice of an artist just waiting for their pet cat to come home. It’s real and it’s genuine and we’re all for Salem and the Stellar Cats. -Elijah P.

  1. Sica – Choosy

Greenhouse Records’ very own Sica remains to be one of those rappers that personifies the “no fucks” attitude. We’re all aware that words in the verse are to live by one hundred percent. Regardless of how much material he’s released in the past to the present, “Choosy” is a centerpiece to all slices of life. Looming over the nocturnal production like its Gotham City, Sica’s got what it takes to be on point wherever he goes and whatever beat he chooses to hop on. It’s Sica effortlessly bringing the attitude adjustment and we’re here witnessing its greatness unfold. -Elijah P.

  1. Demi ft. Madman Stan – homebdy

The heavy hitters from newcomers have been abundant throughout the year 2023, especially for the realm of r&b, and it’s no surprise that the new breed like DEMI brought the heavy rotation from dusk till dawn on “homebdy”. Carrying the verse behind his back, Madman Stan converses with DEMI like a natural while the latter clemently speaks over the sensual flute samples like it’s the final countdown of the evening. The track almost feels cinematic at points, but there’s appeal to its short-but-sweet length and that alone is a reason as to why it’s an earworm to many throughout the year. -Elijah P.

  1. Cat Boy Jeepney Drivers – Unsint a Message

Labeling themselves as the premiere “buko pie and sisig pretty boys” on the internet, Cat Boy Jeepney Drivers champions everything about the current “isms” of love, online and momentary relapsing in “Unsint A Message” – a revelatory dream-pop r&b bop that transcends digital bodies into the love letters of that never was. Serenaded by resident shyboys Neytan & Areli, “Unsint a Message” is proof that geographical distance can’t stop both artists expressing their sincere riverbed of feelings in one track, whether done in copious amounts of reverb or harmonious autotuned textures. Cat Boy Jeepney Drivers might as well take their stylish sentimentality throughout 2024. -Elijah P.

  1. Rhodessa – Kisame

The “harhar vocalist” movement was dying, and singer-songwriter Rhodessa has resuscitated the genre in ways you would never expect. On paper, it’s a style that’s been on the forefront for the more tender crowd. Nonetheless, the neophyte took those cliches up a notch, creating a new category of herself in the long run. Coming out of nowhere pre-”Kisame”, Rhodessa bursted out of the scene with the track alongside its comforting vocal delivery. It’s a sonic manifestation of a daydream, optimism shot across the heavens and ultimately landing perfectly albeit the pleasantly, gentle pacing. -Elijah P.

  1. Japanese Surplus – Lovespring

The one liner “Will I still love you in the spring?” are like dart shots to the chest; Questioning seasons and time changing, newcomer Japanese Surplus put local songwriters on a chokehold in breakthrough track “Lovespring”. In the pile of Marlboro blues, pale ribbons and sad Notes app messages for the self, underneath those knick knacks is a gem waiting to be found. Soundcloud has done it again being the prime app for the underground and it goes to show that acts like Japanese Surplus are one of those promising flock of young singer-songwriters today. -Elijah P.

  1. Toneejay – Parang Magic

Pasig’s rising folk-pop star, Toneejay, departs from his earlier sound as he unveils one of his two hits in 2023, ‘Parang Magic.’ True to its title, Toneejay impresses with a more vibrant and earnest version of himself, using just the bare essentials. What made this transition work for Toneejay was his knack for fundamentals in songwriting and production. Gone are the days of navigating an entire soundboard, tweaking his channels left and right in search of that squeaky-clean setup that would make for his trademark sound. With the simplicity of well-crafted musical elements, minimal EQ work in post, and heartfelt lyricism to boot, Toneejay adeptly navigates dynamic shifts, integrating pulsating bass lines and his signature falsettos. -Elijah P.

  1. Showtime Official Club – Paligoy Ligoy

The year 2023 is the state where the 2010s Pinoy pop culture nostalgia has come full swing, with Showtime Official Club mainly unveiling that nostalgia through audio form with their run of tracks since late last year. Yet, ‘Paligoy Ligoy Remix’ is more than calling out nostalgia as it embraces the structure of a collaborative Budots DJ Mix, where each phase from four out of the nine Showtime Official Club DJs offers different tones and rhythms that are consistently bouncy and frenetic in their energy. The ‘Paligoy Ligoy Remix’ was a standout from the moment it was released, an essential cut from Showtime Official Club’s ridiculous goldmine of releases, and a bombastic echo that will eventually net the collective a deserving spot on Boiler Room alongside the DJ that influenced their sound in the first place: DJ Love. -Louis Pelingen

  1. kyleaux, k1ko – gusto kita

Under the 25hearts collective is an assortment of young-fledged musicians who have been morphing their style for the past few years, one that eventually cultivated a following ever since. On ‘gusto kita’, kyleaux and k1ko under 25hearts show a step further in expanding their sonic stepping stones, where kyleaux’s flexible vocal lines fit nicely on k1ko’s shuffling 2-step production. Catchy as sin in so many ways, ‘gusto kita’ is yet another piece for 25hearts’ intrigue towards branching out their creative music mindsets. -Louis Pelingen

  1. FEIFEI – Minato

Just when we thought hyperpop had already peaked and the whole Y2K comeback was just a fad, then comes Feifei with her banger ‘MINATO’, an Adderall-filled pop tune perfectly curated for potential success in the Gen Z crowd: internet vernacular hinging on the parasocial romance culture prevalent in online community hubs like Discord, and a pre-made sped-up version of the song. All that’s left for this song to go full circle is a TikTok video going viral with ‘MINATO’ in the background. -Nikolai Dineros

  1. Hev Abi – WELCOME2DTQ

Welcome to downtown Quezon City, a place where no one coddles you, and everyone takes advantage of each other, ready to chew you up and spit you out if you don’t climb the ranks. In ‘WELCOME2DTQ’, Hev Abi invites you to Kyusi’s simulacrum of the larger Filipino hip-hop realm. In its 3-minute runtime, Hev Abi’s playful flows and on-the-mic persona vividly describe his beloved turf, perfectly encapsulating the relentless competition among hustlers in the streets of Metro Manila. It’s a warzone of individuals who refuse to be lorded over, fighting fiercely for their image. If you’re just a rookie around these parts, know that at the top of the food chain is Hev Abi. -Nikolai Dineros

  1. cheeky things – korean blackout curtains 7ft. (1pc, not set)

The effects of local underground music’s biggest watershed moment in the last couple of years have finally come to a boiling point with the arrival of cheeky things and the release of their standout track ‘korean blackout curtains 7ft (1pc, not set)’, signaling a full-scale takeover of the post-lockdown indie zeitgeist. Heavily inspired by the cult-favorite indie rock band Duster with a dash of The Smashing Pumpkins spice, ‘korean blackout curtains 7ft (1pc, not set)’ can be heard from small crowded venues in the peripheries of Metro Manila’s local music hubs to the Spotify playlists of a particular wave of Filipino adolescents embracing gig culture, inundated by the ways of arthouse films, shoegaze, Roman empires, and German philosophers. No one expected this young band, let alone a demo version of their song to be this big, but we are here for it. -Nikolai Dineros

  1. RB Slatt – Pahna

When we first caught wind of RB Slatt through his collab track ‘Lasing Na Naman’ with fellow rapper Eros Rhodes, and later on, his single ‘TAHLA’, we knew this guy was on to something. Enter his breakout song, ‘PAHNA’, a melting pot of a remix of ‘One Way’ by Autumn! broken down to its atomic structure before being molded into an entirely different creature, one that is superior to the original.

Much like his courage to show emotional vulnerability in the song, RB Slatt does not shy away from taking creative risks, constantly challenging the limits of what can be considered ‘palatable’ to the common listener’s taste, while simultaneously proving through his growing success that there is a place for the eclectic style of internet cloud rap in the larger rap game obsessed with empty bravado and tried-and-tested trends in production. -Nikolai Dineros


Thank you for supporting The Flying Lugaw for the entire 2023. Follow and like our official socials for more announcements! Watch out for the TOP 20 Filipino Releases of 2023!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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