One in a Mil – Manila Standard


One in a MilUS-based Filipino rapper EZ Mil became a pandemic breakthrough artist with the success of his digital album track “Panalo (Trap Carinosa).” 

His live performance of it on the Wish USA Bus had amassed, as of writing, 26 million views after just a week of being uploaded on YouTube. It is very likely that by the time this piece gets out, that number has gotten past the 30 million mark.

One in a Mil
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The song’s triumph can be attributed to few significant factors. For one, with all the troubles plaguing our country due to the health crisis, and, should I say, the social shakeup brought about by warring political factions, a patriotic song in the vein of the late Francis Magalona’s “Mga Kababayan” had been due for pick-up by the brown race. The tuneful rap classic came out just months after our country endured the biggest coup attempt which happened in December 1989. It gave Pinoy pride the modern anthem it badly needed.

This one from Ez Mil, short for Ezekiel Miller, may not be as singable nor original. But its Carinosa-sampled chorus ensures it embraces nationalistic fervor while his vocal attack rightfully aggressive in tune with today’s woke culture.

There had been scores of history revisionists so inserting a wrong detail for poetic license shouldn’t hurt. This track 5 of EZ’s 2020-released album, Act 1, imparts “Nanalo na ako nung una pa na pinugutan si Lapu sa Mactan” which obviously worked in his favor. Last week, during a zoom presser conducted by Wish USA, he insisted, “That made people talk and I do not intend to have a corrected version to keep the recording’s integrity.”

Described as a Caucasian, this young man, who is the son of ballad rocker Paul Sapiera, is fortunate to have such looks, which many Pinoy fans would rather count as “pogi points.” That he legitimately can sing or rap in Tagalog minus that cute foreign accent made him sound extra sincere in espousing his feelings for having Pinoy blood. When in the middle of the song he accepted the challenge of saying things in Ilocano, which was like a home run.

For those too young to know, EZ’s dad is the voice behind the classic Rockstar hits “Parting Time” and “Mahal Pa Rin Kita.” When I asked if he’d like either of the two songs to be sampled in an upcoming track of his, he said that would be interesting. Sure hit I think. Imagine him doing his thing while someone else sings in counterpoint the line “I wish someday you’ll be back home.”

That wish must now be in the minds of many, to see him back in the Philippines. Besides, he is now a powerful galvanizing force for the often-fractured rap/ hip hop scene. “Let’s bring everyone up. Why us against us?” he asked. All the more father Paul should be heard singing, “Please come home.” 

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