The story behind our WIP x HEADSUP collab: Bone Thugs N Harmony in Manila 2014!
Childhood friends Karell Liwanag and Edgar Sarmiento, together with a few friends from high school, have always been big dreamers and big fans of hip hop act Bone Thugs N Harmony.
“We have been huge followers of Bone Thugs since the 1990s” recounts Edgar. “Growing up we all loved hip hop, especially Bone Thugs. It was our love for their music that brought us all together as friends back in high school.”
Today Edgar and Karell are founders and managers of an online cap store called HEADSUP, which is a retail partner of WIP that mostly caters to the Cavite and Laguna areas.
What started out as a collaborative effort between WIP and HEADSUP to make a Bone Thugs Tribute cap, eventually evolved into a full on concert in Manila that the group ended up co-managing. In the early part of 2014, HEADSUP was essentially one of the main groups responsible for bringing in Bone Thugs to the Philippines for a benefit concert of victims of Typhoon Yolanda held at the Mall of Asia Arena last June 11, 2014.
“Bone Thugs actually had an initial concert here in the Philippines back in 2011. We were not really involved in that event, and feedback from some fans was that it could have been done better. So, we promised each other that next time anyone had the opportunity to bring Bone Thugs here in to Philippines, we would definitely be involved.” says Edgar.
Edgar did not know when this next opportunity would come up, but that chance came sooner than expected through connections he made in online fan forums of Bone Thugs, where his team initially inquired about having a tribute cap made for the group as part of a collaboration between HEADSUP and WIP.
“HEADSUP was really inspired by some of the caps we did in the past that pay homage to classic hip hop acts we love – Black Star (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) and 36 Chambers (Wu-Tang Clan)” says WIP General Manager Ian Sermonia. “Edgar and Karell approached us and said that those were cool and they would love to make a tribute cap to Bone Thugs. Being big fans of hip hop, we were excited about the project, as well as Karell and Edgar’s passion and went ahead with it.” adds Ian.
“In collaboration with WIP we made the cap design with their team, showed it to Bone Thugs, and they loved it! We did this initially just hoping that one of the members of the group would rock the cap. Eventually, when the cap was made, the discussions with Bone Thugs evolved into having a concert here in Manila as part of the group’s contribution to helping the country get back on its feet from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda. The group really wanted to come back to the Philippines.” says Edgar.
Even local rapper, Gloc-9 was rocking it during his front act performance at the concert!
Edgar and his team went straight to work when the chance to have Bone Thugs back in Manila for a second concert began to materialize. They tied up with a local promotions company, and unlike the initial visit, their group of friends were highly involved in the logistics planning and details of the event which also included a full launch of the Bone Thugs WIP cap. The concert happened in the Mall of Asia Arena, where the crowd and members of the band ended up rocking the cap. Edgar and Karell, without previous experience in holding and organizing concerts, placed together a a very successful event that was a highlight for many local hip hop fans.
“All props go to HeadsUp. They had a dream of honouring their favourite hip hop group, and basically placed this all together for Pinoy hip hop fans that was driven by their love and passion for the Bone Thugs.” says Sermonia . He adds, “WIP is honored to be a part of this event and project.”
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would be able to chill and hangout with one of our favorite group for an entire week. It all seemed surreal.” says Edgar.
Moving forward, WIP looks forward to creatively work with our customers and retail partners in promoting local street culture movements. “This is just one example of what a partnership and collaboration is all about for WIP. HEADSUP is not simply a stockist who we supply inventory to, but they are, like the rest of our retailers, key partners in promoting movements and cultures that we truly care about – in this case it is hip hop. For WIP, it is always a pleasure working with people who not only dream, but strive to make those dreams a reality and partners like HEADSUP continue to inspire us and make what we do fulfilling.” says Ian.
Very limited stocks of the WIP x HEADS UP Bonafide snapback will be available at wipcaps.com & WIP HQ starting August 19, 2014! :)
Special thanks to:
Edrex Sanchez (additional footages and interviews)
“1st of tha Month” – Bone Thugs N’ Harmony
“Crossroads” – Bone Thugs N’ Harmony