Born For This

Rhymesayer spits purpose through the microphone

Donovan M. Smith | 4/9/2014, 2:34 p.m.
Talilo's debut album "Born for This" is highlighted by a style of rap he refers to as "chopping" and frequent ...
Filipino-born rapper Talilo Marfil is hoping that listeners will hear that he has found his purpose on his debut album “Born for This.” He refers to his trademark rapid-fire style as “chopping,” highlighted by high levels of introspection. Photo by Donovan M. Smith

On Dec. 30, 1989, Talilo Marfil came into this world without a tattoo, significantly less hair, and perhaps if you ask him, missing something even more vital: a microphone.

Now 24, the Filipino-born Portland rap-artist digitally released his debut album “Born for This” fittingly on his birthday last December.

The album is highlighted by his trademark rapid-fire style of rapping he refers to as “chopping,” but between the diction are often high levels of introspection.

“I feel like the concept came from me observing the world, and seeing that a lot of people don’t know what they’re living for, and nobody has no purpose,” he says, “I found mine in the music.”

“They lockin’ us in a coffin before we even departed/They trappin’ up on the block and I’m wondering what is real/You can see we ain’t different/Heart, got a soul, got a mind but I know that I don’t feel whole,” he raps on his opening track “Conception”.

Lyrics like these are not hard to come by on Born For This, and back-dropped by Talilo’s own background it is easier to make sense of them. After being kicked out of school in Kalamath Falls, and spending some time in California as a teen, he migrated up to Portland. In the Rose City, he found himself heavily entangled in the gang life, selling drugs as a means of survival, with a tendency towards “hot-headeness” as he calls it.

“I wanted to be a gangster growing up. I wanted to have that power, I wanted to feel that worth. After going after that lifestyle and trying to feel that self-worth in that, I found that the consequences weren’t worth it,” he says.

The ultimate consequence was a two-year prison stint. It was here that would make a promise to himself to begin taking rap seriously. He got out in 2011.

Part of that promise also was that he’d get on a track with Northwest favorite Luck-One, and that he did on one of the album’s standout tracks. “Can’t Take That Away” finds the two detailing their spiritual pride despite being in a system they felt largely ignored their humanity.


On his debut album “Born for This,” Portland rapper Talilo Marfil chooses to take the positive route, detailing the downfalls of a gang life he was once entrenched in and encouraging others to find their own purpose.

“You can talk about your lifestyle in a negative way or a positive way, it doesn’t matter what type of lifestyle you come from,” he says.

This outlook is something the woman that birthed him almost surely appreciates; she also has a whole song dedicated to her. “1 Wish” is a heartfelt son-to-mother track of gratitude in the way of the 2pac classic “Dear Mama.”

“Someone once told me that on my birthday I should say happy birthday to my Mom, cause it’s actually her birthday, I ain’t do nothing,” he says on the track’s opening.

Additional features of the album include signees to his label imprint “Realizm” or “RLM”, Sky Divine, Louchie Vega, J-Bo and. Appearances also include Taryn, Thatkidcry and Kheoshi, among others.

For a free download of Born For This head to talilo.bandcamp.com/album/born-for-this. You can “like” his Facebook page at facebook.com/TaliloOfRlmEntertainment and follow him on Twitter @TaliloMarfil.

--Donovan M. Smith