Career burning brighter than ever, Hellmerry is the heat-seeking rapper engulfing Filipino hip-hop in his flames.

Hip-hop has been alive and kicking for a good 50 years or so now. From its earliest old school forms to the modern experimental styles, the genre has continued to flourish due to an inherent spirit of evolution — looking back and using core elements of its past while constantly bringing something new and exciting into its future.

In the booming landscape of modern Filipino hip-hop, the fast rising young artist Hellmerry is a prime example of embodying and channeling this prevalent spirit in the new generation of rap we’re all living in.

Through an inner artistic calling, coupled with encouragement from friends like Shanti Dope and producer Klumcee, the Quezon City-hailing Hellmerry officially lit the spark that started his career in the middle of the pandemic, quickly adapting to the flow of the rap world while maintaining a bold mindset of facing challenges head on.

Hellmery photographed by Everywhere We Shoot.

As he now fervently blazes his very own trail in the genre, the proud Young God Records artist lets it be known that he’s not willing to be boxed in as he harnesses a flavorful variety of influences. From Filipino heavy-hitters such as Stick Figgas, Al James, and Bawal Clan to international big names like A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, and $UICIDEBOY$, there’s no shortage of sonic inspiration to conjure his own fire from.

For the young rapper, expanding his boundaries is the name of the game, not letting himself simply be tied to one particular sound. “Basta dama ko ‘yung vibe, mapa-trap, or lo-fi, or g-funk, Memphis, or kahit Afrobeats, basta matripan ko [at] masasakyan ko naman, game na agad,” he shares. “Kumbaga, walang limitasyon.

[“As long as I feel the vibe, whether it’s trap, or lo-fi, or g-funk, Memphis, or even Afrobeats, as long as I like it [and] vibe with it, I’m game,” he shares. “In other words, no limitations.”

His intrinsic drive to create the kind of music he personally resonates with isn’t simply limited to his sound; it also encompasses his lyricism as well.

The smooth-talking hitmaker isn’t afraid to go from getting unapologetically wild and brazen to going slower and being more heartfelt with his wordplay as well, acknowledging that this is simply part of who he is as an artist. This personal ethos has led him to create one of his biggest tracks yet, the heartache-infused “4 A.M.”. With more than 20 million streams on Spotify as of this writing, this track sees Hellmerry go down a more emotional route with his rapping, showcasing a newer side to his artistry while solidifying his versatility as a songwriter.

Hellmery photographed by Everywhere We Shoot.

This open-minded approach to his music has ultimately spawned many of his other hits such as “Watchumean?,” the flirtatious “BAE,” and his breakout track, “DAB – Leaked Interlude.” Moreover, it has also aided him in imbuing his own distinct flavor into a long-standing staple of the genre: collaborations.

From the likes of his aforementioned comrade Shanti Dope with “Pull Up” to fellow rising acts Tus Brothers with “Thai Freestyle,” Hellmerry has done quite a number of collaborations — all of which he earnestly states he’s immensely enjoyed due to the constant energy being released: “Mas mabisa kasi nakakahugot kami ng inspirasyon sa isa’t isa ‘pag sabayan nagsusulat, batuhan na din ng mga ideas.

[“It’s more effective since we get to pull inspiration from one another when we write at the same time, a throwing-around of ideas as well.”]

Aside from these collaborations and his string of viral hits, the up-and-coming rhyme weaver continues to expand his horizons by signing with Sony Music Philippines in late 2023, as well as an Australian tour this March with Shanti Dope, Gloc-9, Flow G, and Skusta Clee. “‘Di pa din ako makapaniwala hanggang ngayon,” he tells Billboard Philippines prior to the tour. “Parang feeling ko high school field trip na kasama mga influence at idol ko sa music scene. ‘Yung tipong ‘di ka makatulog sa excitement.

[“I still can’t believe it until now,” he tells Billboard Philippines prior to the tour. “For me, it feels like a high school field trip with my influences and idols in the music scene. The type where you can’t sleep due to excitement.”]

Hellmery photographed by Everywhere We Shoot.

With these milestones in his career, Hellmerry is basking in the glory of his well-deserved ascent to the top, seeing the journey as one of the major highlights of his life — one that he’s immensely grateful for. “Masaya ang journey na ito para sa ‘kin at sobrang na-e-enjoy ko,” he affirms. “Bukod sa nakakapagpasaya ako ng maraming tao ay madami akong nakikilala at nakakasamang mga talented na musician at mga bagong kaibigan. Kaya thankful ako palagi.

[“This journey makes me happy and I’m enjoying it a lot,” he affirms. “Other than being able to make many other people happy, I get to meet and be with a lot of talented musicians and new friends. That’s why I’m always grateful.”]

With the rest of 2024 shaping up to be his biggest year yet, Hellmerry has no plans of slowing down. With an album and surprise dream collaborations in the works, there’s clearly no stopping him on his fiery rampage to claim his rightful place at the top. “Tuloy-tuloy lang sa ginagawa ko ngayon hanggang sa mapabilang na din ako sa mga legends ng ‘Pinas,” he states. “Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sumusuporta at naka-antabay palagi. Lalo pa naming titindihan para sa inyo!”

[“I’ll just keep up with what I’m doing right now until I become on of the legends in the Philippines,” he states. “Thank you so much to all who are supporting and always waiting. We’ll do even better for you all!”]

A version of this story appeared on Billboard Philippines’ Hip-Hop Issue, dated April 15.

Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez. Styling by Daryl Chang, assisted by Kurt Abonal and Maria Paz Gamus. Creative and Fashion Direction by Daryl Chang. Art Direction by Nicole Almero. Hair by Nix Institute of Beauty. Makeup by Estee Lauder PH. Shoot Coordination by Mikaela Cruz. On Hellmerry: ZARA varsity jacket, UNIQLO knitted vest, PULL & BEAR t-shirt, and VIKTOR MANILA jacket and trousers.

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