Future Shapers: Jiggie Boy, reviving Canto-rap for a global audience

Sometimes, our life path diverges from the goals we initially set for ourselves. For Hong Kong-born Filipino rapper, Wilfredo Alconaba, better known as Jiggie Boy or JB, his journey into Hong Kong’s hip-hop rap scene was serendipitous. Starting as a talented dancer proficient in popping, boogaloo, and various dance styles, JB found himself drawn into the Canto-rap by chance. It was during competitive dance competitions that he stumbled upon Cantonese rhymes, igniting a fresh wave of creativity within him. Writing music soon became a vital outlet for him to convey his deepest emotions and thoughts. 

In 2018, Jiggie Boy burst onto the music scene breathing new life into the Canto-rap genre. His hit song Chao Gong (潮共), released in January 2019, garnered millions of views on YouTube, propelling him to hip-hop stardom. At 31 years old, he stands out with numerous hit releases and accolades, notably winning seven awards at the Whats Good Music Awards, Hong Kong’s first hip-hop music awards. He also holds co-ownership of Greytone Music and has noteworthy endorsements, including a collaboration as a Chivas Regal ambassador for an exclusive Hong Kong whisky pack release that showcased his distinctive graffiti artistry.

Keep reading to learn more about JB and what he is working on for the future of Hong Kong music.

Jiggie Boy
Photograph: Time Out Hong Kong/Calvin SitKenzo top and bottom, Dolce & Gabbana shoes, APM Monaco and Midnight Factory accessories

How do you think your work has contributed to the evolving narrative of Hong Kong’s musical identity, specifically in the Canto-rap genre? 

I think my work shows that you don’t need to be extremely famous or part of a big company to create music that people like or love. When you express something real and take it seriously, you can carve out your place in the music culture and industry.

Who or what are your major influences, and how do they manifest in your music and art?

My main influence in music has been my dad, who is also a musician. He played in bands during the 80s in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Watching him truly enjoy music and approach his craft with dedication has deeply impacted me. His example is a constant reminder of the respect and passion required in music. His role as a drummer was not just a job; it was his way of providing for us through the gift of music. Witnessing his dedication and the power of music firsthand has shaped my artistic expression. Through his experiences, I’ve realised the immense impact music can have, inspiring me to infuse that same power into my own art and music. 

I hope that Canto-rap’s influence on hip-hop could elevate to bigger stages and festivals such as Rolling Loud or other significant platforms.

The Philippines is a musically inclined nation; how has your Filipino background influenced and guided your pursuit of music? 

Music is deeply intertwined with Filipino culture and daily life. From the moment they wake up, music fills their homes as they clean and go about their daily chores, continuing even after dinner. Filipinos play music all the time and have a deep love for dancing, which has profoundly influenced me. In Hong Kong, the attitude toward music is vastly different. It does not seem to be as integral to daily life as it is in the Filipino culture where music is a core part of the lifestyle. 

Jiggie Boy
Photograph: Calvin SitMoncler top and bottom, Loewe hat and shoes, APM Monaco and Midnight Factory accessories

What fuels your passion for Hong Kong and its music industry?

I grew up in Hong Kong. I started everything here with all my crewmates, my siblings, and my family; they are the ones who fuel my passion. The street scenes and, of course, the culture have presented me with many amazing experiences and lessons. I want to share this culture with more people, expand its reach, and establish a solid foundation for its growth. 

How do you envision the future of Canto-rap in Hong Kong, and what are your plans for taking the genre to a global audience?

I envision, or rather, I hope, that Canto-rap’s influence on hip-hop could elevate to bigger stages and festivals such as Rolling Loud or other significant platforms. My goal is to showcase the unique vibe of Hong Kong’s hip-hop scene to a global audience. I plan to initiate collaborations with artists and musicians from various countries, paving the way for performances in their nations. Through these gradual steps, I hope to introduce the essence of Canto-rap and Hong Kong hip-hop to different parts of the world. 

Jiggie Boy
Photograph: Calvin SitKenzo top and bottom, Dolce & Gabbana shoes, APM Monaco and Midnight Factory accessories

What can we anticipate from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or collaborations you can share?

I’m hoping that by the end of next year, I’ll have finished my album and be ready to put on a show. It’ll be my own concert where I can collaborate with various Hong Kong rappers to present the diversity of our local talent. We might also incorporate elements from different genres like Afro or slow jazz to offer a unique musical experience. So, stay tuned!  

JB released his latest single Me and My Crew in November 2023. Recently, he signed with Green Music, a new music label by Sony Music Hong Kong, which will enable him to collaborate with a wider range of global artists. His next single will be dropping in the summer of 2024. Follow JB on Instagram @jiggie_boy and @greenmusic.hk for updates. 

Photograph: Calvin Sit
Makeup: Kaho Chan for Benefit Cosmetics Hong Kong
Styling: Vivian Choi and Vanessa Tang
Shot on location: ShowOff Academy

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