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Catching up with Abra

SHOWBIZ denizens are almost always a cautious bunch particularly when discussing personal affairs.

Then again, there are times they are only too willing to open up, answering even the most inane of queries in the name of fun.
And that’s exactly what rapper-actor Abra allowed us recently.

Here’s an excerpt:

Given the chance to choose a new screen name, what would you pick?

“‘Hendrix’ (his character on the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2017 Best Film ‘Respeto’). Pwede din siguro ‘Vladimir.’”
English or Filipino rap material?

“Siyempre priority ko ang Filipino. Pero open din naman ako sa English para maka-reach din ako ng wider audience.”
Pick one fellow rapper than you would want to compete against via FlipTop battle.

“Si Smugglaz kasi magaling talaga siya at malaki respeto ko sa kanya bilang rapper.”

Do you have any upcoming album?

“I released the ‘Hendrix’ EP recently. The title of the album is based on my character in ‘Respeto.’ I will also release a double album entitled ‘Abrakadabra,’ hopefully by the end of the year. Medyo na-o-OC pa ako eh kaya hindi ko pa mailabas.”

Why ‘Abrakadabra?’

“It means magic because that’s what people need these days. Kadabra means to create magic words.”
After the success of ‘Respeto,’ are you open to doing more films?

“Oo naman.”

Do you have any dream role?

“Ang gusto ko kasi science-fiction film, baka pwede ‘yung role na pumapatay ng alien.”

What do you do whenever you have free time?

“Tumatambay lang sa kanto.”

Do you drink? Smoke? Do drugs?

“Hindi na ako umiinom, pero dati nu’ng college, araw-araw. Ever since hindi ako nagyo-yosi pero weeds, oo. Nu’ng nasa States pa ako. Legal du’n. But never ako nag-try ‘yung mga drugs na hardcore, never. Taboo sa akin ‘yan.”

Abra was at the Lincoln Center in New York over the weekend to accept the Tiger Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film at the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) for “Respeto.”

The film, about a rapper trying to rise above squalor, bested entries from different Asian countries including Shiraishi Kazuya’s “Blood of Wolves” (Japan), Nam Ron’s “Crossroads: One Two Jaga” (Malaysia), Naito Eisuke’s “Liverleaf” (Japan), Dong Yue’s “The Looming Storm” (China), Sunny Chan’s “Men on the Dragon” (Hong Kong), and Jeon Go-woon’s “Microhabitat” (South Korea).

An entry to the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in 2017, where it won a string of awards including Best Feature Length Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound, “Respeto” had been screened in other international festivals in different countries such as Netherlands, South Korea, and China.

It also earned a Gawad Urian Best Actor award for Abra early this year.