EZ Mil’s song “Panalo (Trap Cariñosa)” has been raking in views in the millions — thanks in large part to the fierce aggro of his live rendition on Wish Bus USA.
But if there’s a sticking point that many critics have latched onto his song, it’s in the line that goes: “Nanalo ako nung mula pa na / pinugutan si Lapu sa Mactan.”
Obviously, Lapu-Lapu was not beheaded in Mactan. In fact, he emerged victorious (and very much alive) in the historic battle, with his opposite number, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, lying bloodied and lifeless in the shallow water.
It is doubtful that the rapper, who grew up in the Philippines, was unaware of this.
In an interview with musician Hbom Segovia, he sought to explain why the lyrics ended up that way.
“Why I chose the term, 'pinugutan si Lapu sa Mactan.' Because in terms of the rhyming pattern, I always go to this dilemma or doubt in my head in closing out a song. Am I gonna close it out with absolute truth or am I gonna make people talk about it?” he said. (You can view the segment beginning at 35:30 in the video.)
In this case, it seemed ‘absolute truth’ did not win out.
“He was never beheaded. That's me putting an exaggerated term in a ploy to drive traffic and talk,” said Ez Mil.
It seemed to have worked, as tons of online chatter swirled around the breakout new artist. He did apologize for the line, saying, “I'm sorry to anybody who was offended with the fact that me being putting inaccurate sources in our history as Filipinos. That's why the song is what it is right now. The way I wrote that got people talking. Got people agreeing to it. Got people disagreeing, got people in the in-betweens. The way it is now, people are talking about it. I got to be smart about it."
Elsewhere in the interview (at 19:53, to be exact), he also laughed off talk about his political stand.
“DDS, are you kidding me?" he said.
The idea, it seemed, came from another line in the song, which went, “Wag nang pag-usapan / Ang mga negatibong pangyayari.”
He told listeners to take it in the context of the song, and not to take it as a reflection of any particular political stand. “We don't have to always discuss problems, bro. 'Wag nang pag-usapan ang negatibo.' That means let's not discuss the problems just for the time being. Let's just have a good time, right now, in the song.”
You can listen to the full interview here.