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Filip Filipi on Linking With Gucci Mane & Serbia’s President

Filip Filipi’s music is sweet for the world. No, critically, it’s a veritable good-deed-doing machine developed to generate funds for humanitarian work. It additionally occurs to utterly fucking bang. 

Because the founder and president of 28 Jun, a world group that has raised over $7 million value of humanitarian, medical, and catastrophe reduction assist for the Western Balkans, Filipi has been elevating cash and consciousness for causes near his coronary heart and residential for almost a decade. His newest LP, 9 Roses, for instance, will profit a technicolour, environmentally pleasant, state-of-the-art public basketball court docket in Akron, Ohio, which is devoted to his late supervisor. 

We referred to as Filipi at his house on the Canadian West Coast to speak in regards to the new albums⁠—together with the one we’re dropping proper right here, Kosovka, that includes an intro with Gucci Mane⁠—how a WhatsApp convo with the Serbian President freed up a whole lot of hundreds of of essential medical assist through the top of the COVID-19 disaster, and why he hates his largest monitor of all time. 

The place are you now? 

At present, I’m trapped on Vancouver Island with ferries to America canceled and ferries to Vancouver very restricted. Fortunate, really. It’s one of many most secure locations on Earth proper now, BC. 

So that you’re a rapper and a humanitarian. Neat combo. Which got here first, the humanitarian work or the music?

I began doing music first, however there was simply sort of like a drive inside me to all the time wish to do extra. Do you bear in mind Myspace? Again within the days of Myspace I had launched like one tune and possibly had 500 associates. So like, like no authority on nothing. And I bear in mind there was a child in Bosnia that had a mind tumor, his identify was Victor. And I bear in mind somebody despatched me that and was identical to, OK, 500 individuals know who I’m, let me get this story out to 500 individuals…

I hoped to present like $500, you recognize, just a few symbolic gesture for some assist, however it exploded and there was this large motion. It become the group, 28 Jun, which I constructed.

How’d you get your begin in hip-hop?

Again in junior excessive in BC, my associates and I had this little rap group. It wasn’t very critical… we rapped on laptop mics and I don’t even bear in mind the place we received beats from again then. My factor was extra basketball again then—I used to be actually obsessive about it and even performed a bit of school ball. However then I harm my thumb in my late teenagers and received again into music. This was across the similar time that Drake was arising in Toronto, however the Toronto rap scene was not popping in any respect like it’s now. Kardi was sort of doing his factor, and we had guys like Mad Baby on the West Coast earning money. That was sort of the scene I got here up in… I launched this mixtape referred to as Sizzerb Quantity 1. I used to be born in Serbia and immigrated to Canada once I was seven, so I used some Serbian samples… The Dipset motion was big on the time, so there have been quite a lot of these pitched samples. Then I did three extra volumes and a few extra mixtapes, and finally had some fairly good underground buzz. 

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“Mac Miller got here by way of, and as an alternative of even trying, he is identical to, ‘This pile proper right here is the best shit I’ve ever seen.’ After which Mac Miller took each single factor I would placed on maintain for myself.”

What’s your “largest” monitor of all time? 

The most important factor I did was a monitor referred to as “Growth.” I completely fucking hate the monitor. It’s the worst tune I’ve ever performed, and when it comes on I get embarrassed. But it surely was picked up by So You Assume You Can Dance and it aired on the finale, which was probably the most watched present on this planet at that time or one thing. It did tens of hundreds of downloads and the video had hundreds of thousands of views, so by way of business success, that’s the most important factor I did. 

We haven’t seen new music from you for nearly a decade. Are we calling this a comeback? 

Yeah, I have not performed any music for 9 years. And 9 years within the rap business is a lifetime, which makes me really feel like a brand new artist. Most individuals know me now for my humanitarian work, so it must be attention-grabbing. 

So not a lot as a comeback as a rebirth? 

It truly is. It looks like a rebirth. 

Why the identify 28 Jun in your humanitarian group? 

June 28 is an important date in Serbian historical past. It goes again to the 12 months 1389 and an epic battle between the advancing Ottoman empire and the Serbian empire that form of outlined the Serbian individuals. Principally the Serbian empire was instructed, “Look, you are going to have to just accept the destiny of the Ottoman empire, subjugate, lose your religion, give up, and lay down your arms.” And Serbian management at the moment was identical to, “No, you recognize, it is higher to die than to be subjugated.” The date has different penalties, too, just like the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which began World Warfare I. So it is an important date in Serbian historical past, however to me it additionally symbolized freedom and the battle for freedom. 

The group is a “particular seek the advice of to the United Nations.” What does that imply? 

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That is in all probability my largest success within the humanitarian realm. Particular consultative standing signifies that principally we’re allowed to have 29 annual passes to the three our bodies of the UN in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. My group consults with UN our bodies to inform them about our theatre of experience. Round 5,000 organizations in the entire world maintain this standing, out of about million. It’s undoubtedly my proudest achievement within the humanitarian discipline, apart from in fact having the ability to assist all of the individuals we have helped through the years. 

Has the group been helping within the battle towards the COVID pandemic? 

That is really an attention-grabbing story: Final 12 months, we despatched a big 40-foot container of medical tools and assist to a Serbian hospital, and quite a lot of that medical tools ended up being the well-known N-95 masks, which might develop into about probably the most valued factor on this planet through the virus pandemic. When the container arrived, we have been really victims of an extortion try. A bunch tried to extort about €37,000 ($56,000) beneath the pretense of “clearing paperwork.” We didn’t pay, reported it to native authorities, and so it delayed issues even longer.

When the pandemic began, the container had nonetheless been unclaimed. In order the scenario within the nation was getting worse, and we have been seeing that just about each nation had a scarcity of PPE, I leveraged all of my connections to attempt to make direct contact with the top of presidency. Ultimately, I did get a direct maintain of the Serbian president, and I let him know that this container had essential tools. We didn’t instantly hear again, however the authorities did use our provides, so we have been finally capable of present a number of the most crucial provides. 

Earlier than that, we additionally organized a large translation of a COVID-19 remedy guide that was downloaded by 100,000-plus medical personnel and first responders. We additionally co-ordinated with Serbian embassies and residents who have been caught in numerous nations world wide to create a database and assist ship emergency provides and lodging to them.

You’re at the moment engaged on a basketball court docket venture, proper? 

Sure, we wish to make the craziest basketball court docket on this planet. We wish to make it actually vibrant and environmentally pleasant, so we’re utilizing the Nike Grind premier floor court docket supplies and bringing in Strawberry Power sensible photo voltaic benches which have WiFi generated by solar energy. The court docket goes in Akron, Ohio, and is in reminiscence of my buddy and supervisor, Zoran Djakovic, who handed away a pair years in the past. 

We’re debuting the monitor “Kosovka,” that includes an intro with Gucci Mane. Inform me about that monitor and video. 

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It’s the one I selected to spotlight with a video, which options Sports activities Illustrated mannequin Bo Krsmanovic, as a result of the Balkan-ethno pattern match the spirit of the venture. In a time the place ethnic minorities are on the forefront of social change, it reveals it’s OK to be your self. It’s produced by my good buddy since junior excessive, YEAROFTHELEE. The tune options Gucci Mane on the intro, which was actually vital for me as a result of my supervisor labored his ass off when he was alive to get me that intro. 

And the way precisely does the LP assist the basketball court docket venture? 

The entire proceeds from the LP go to constructing the court docket. Not “a part of the proceeds.” All the pieces. I’ll even pay out of pocket to complete the court docket. No gimmicks. 

The place did the music on 9 Roses come from creatively? 

It is made up of songs that I have been placing collectively for a very long time. I do not know why I used to be like this, however through the mixtape interval I used to be doing, I have to’ve performed possibly a whole lot of tracks. I’d simply pump them out. And with this, I used to be capable of put collectively the 10 tracks that I am most happy with. If individuals do not prefer it, I completely do not care. You already know what I imply? I put out 10 tracks that I feel are good music. “Growth” just isn’t on the LP. [Laughs.] I speak quite a lot of shit about my music, however fuck it, I hate that tune. That is music that I take pleasure in. I put quite a lot of effort into the lyrics. The beats will not be mainstream, however I really feel they’re very musical. 

I learn you’re large into thrift buying in your wardrobe. 

Oh my God, yeah. I’ve received some classic clothes tales, for certain. One time Vancouver’s F as in Frank let me hit up their warehouse and decide stuff. I put collectively the good assortment: classic Polo jackets, overalls, snapbacks… it took me like seven hours and it was the best assortment of classic shit that you’ll ever see in your life. So I inform my man that I will come again tomorrow and decide it up, and that is the place I grew to become, relaxation in peace, Mac Miller’s unofficial stylist. As a result of Mac Miller got here by way of, and as an alternative of even trying, he is identical to. “This pile proper right here is the best shit I’ve ever seen.” After which Mac Miller took each single factor I would placed on maintain for myself. And that was that. I used to be like, “Fuck it! I am glad I received to decorate Mac Miller.”  

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