Get the dope on the Boys

Get the dope on the Boys

Multicultural rapping septet are back with a new mixtape and a pledge to stay out of the mainstream


From left: Kevin Padua, Bryanne Calvo, Hector Telmo, JP Manguiat, Victor Valenca, Keith Tindall and Mohit Kaliandasani
From left: Kevin Padua, Bryanne Calvo, Hector Telmo, JP Manguiat, Victor Valenca, Keith Tindall and Mohit Kaliandasani
Straight out of secondary school, seven multicultural rappers decided to take their act on stage.

Since forming in 2011, Dope Boy has played at a couple of gigs in the past three years, including South Island School's charity party Live and Loud, The Vine (a church in Wan Chai), and parties at restaurants in Soho.

Inactive for a while, the seven reunited recently to talk about new music plans and have released a new mixtape titled Free Scope, featuring 14 new tracks.

This new brainchild is testament to the group's maturity since their debut. After their successful track My City garnered more than 15,000 views on YouTube, they released a single called I Don't Give a Damn two years ago, which was an experiment away from the band's original style and messages they want to convey.

The boastful track also contained strong language and explicit references. "We went too mainstream. At that point we were focusing too much on how we were gonna make it," says rapper Hector Telmo, aka SAiNT.

"You know there are times when you listen to a musician, and you say he went a little bit too far on a certain song," adds Bryanne Calvo, whose stage name is OoZzie. "It's one of those songs we went a little bit too far on."

But now the group say they're back on track, and Free Scoop is the proof in the pudding.

With Indian, Filipino, Brazilian and British members, Dope Boy are one big gene pool. As well as Telmo and Calvo, the members are Mohit Kaliandasani (Amaze), J.P. Manguiat (Rated-J), Kevin Padua (KiGZ), Keith Tindall (J-Prime) and Victor Valenca (Young Veezy).

Calvo, who got everyone together, was fascinated by the concept of seven rappers, all of different ethnic backgrounds, telling their stories.

Telling stories with an ethnic minority perspective has become the group's special niche. My City fit that mould, with each member dishing out his fearless, self-written prose, each piercing word highlighting the importance of diversity.

"In My City, the main focus was to bring out a message that the music industry in Hong Kong isn't that broad," Kaliandasani says. "It's too cramped. It's not exploring enough music."

While Canto-pop is by far the city's most common locally produced form of music, more genres have entered the market in recent years, including Canto-rap, introduced by MC Jin, the duo Fama and group 24Herbs.

Many mainstream rappers write songs about indulging in drinking and drugs, but this is not part of Dope Boy's world.

"Hip hop is a way to express yourself. We want to show that we're not here for the money," Tindall says.

Despite the mix of ethnicities, all seven consider themselves true Hongkongers, and want their music to reflect how the ethnic minorities see Hong Kong. "We just feel like sometimes we are the voice of the underground ethnic people," Calvo says.

Now with Free Scoop, Dope Boy are ready to start a revolution. "One thing I found about Hong Kong is that when you do something different, you create controversy. People are afraid of change," Telmo says. "But when they let changes happen, they'll be felt all across Hong Kong."

Listen to Free Scoop at



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