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Our Oceania | Goddhy Taitingfong is ‘repping’ it

THERE’S no musician in the CNMI quite like Saipan’s Young Goddhy — the 17-year-old rapper recently ascended from high school talent shows to major venues across Saipan, rhyming alongside Leilani Wolfgramm over the summer and holding his own at the #MarianasStrong Inaugural Concert this January, where he shared the bill (and, at times, the stage) with a host of beloved local musicians including Uprooted and JJ Concepcion.

Click to enlarge
Goddy Taitingfong.  NMC photo

In fact, Goddhy Taitingfong, arguably performed one of the most memorable songs of the Inaugural Concert, a rap written specifically about Yutu.

“The struggle was realer than most of us had had it here — we had to get used to the old ways, waking up knowing that all you’re doing today is continuing the survival,” he said in a music-backed introduction. “But if it did teach me one thing, it’s that all you really got is the people around you, not your devices, or your cars, or anything that does not breathe. This was another wake-up call, but a blessing too. When the going gets the though, the tough get going.”

Then the beat dropped:

I pictured kids frightened,

Hiding in the restroom,

Only closure’s who they next to,

Afraid of the rumbling that they hearing through their tin roof.

I wish them all my blessings,

The families that had to sleep in schools.

I wish I could provide a home to rest in,

For those left jobless, I’m sorry it was you.

I cannot Imagine how it was to not afford the food or water for your home,

But one thing is promised, no one here is left alone,

I bet we all remember how it was when the days after came by,

Scarcity, and waiting for the gasoline in long lines,

133 injured, even lost one life,

And declared the worst storm, since 1935,

What a time to be alive,

I’m saying what a time to be alive.

“I had one part where I was talking about reusing the same shirt and reusing the same pants,” Taitingfong said during an interview at Ete Cafe. “Because at that time we had to hand-wash them. Yeah, you know, we had to bring our own gallons of water to the laundry…every day was cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. And I had to clean in my nice clothes because I was out of my other clothes already.”

He told Variety that he shared intimate details like these in his lyrics because he wanted people to feel that even if their post-Yutu problems were less than dignified, they were at least shared, and normal.

“I guess I wasn’t ashamed to speak about it,” he added. “It felt good, honestly.”

Taitingfong said that writing rap lyrics about island experiences has always been easy for him — in fact, it’s basically unavoidable.

“There’s always going to be a part where it’s about the islands, where I’m repping it… I’m expressing my pride,” he said. He added that he hopes to inspire his listeners to take pride in themselves, and in the CNMI.

“There aren’t many of us, like 50,000,” he said. “But even though it’s a very small amount compared to the rest of the world, I feel like we can still be heard. We can still be acknowledged and we can still be seen, just as long as we have that spirit about where we come from.”

Stateside like nah, bro - Island

Where you learn a thing or two about wildin’

Latte stone harder than you ever get

Tryna take me down? Yo here’s something that you won’t forget…

- “Clutch,” Da Inception

Young Goddhy first hit the stage at his own middle school promotion; a teacher asked him to perform after hearing Taitingfong rap a few lines about the Bill of Rights for an eighth grade history project.

“I wrote it in like ten minutes,” he laughed, remembering the 20-some lines he performed for the promotion. “Once I was rapping it, everyone was getting so crazy… but if I were to look back at it now, I’d be like, ‘What kind of rap is that?’”

Just a couple years later, in late 2017, Young Goddhy published his first mixtape on datpiff.com: Da Inception. He said it features his favorite ten of the 80 songs he had already written at the time.

“Music is literally what releases my tension,” he explained when asked how he managed to be so prolific. “It’s basically my yoga… It makes my soul feel like it’s stretching. So yeah it was like, every day, every night: write, write, write, write.”

Around the island you see me rhyming

I’m slowly taking my next step

Corny line up ahead:

These bars so technical, call it Trench Tech

- “Feel the Vibe,” Da Inception

“There’s just so many things to rap about. Like, I didn’t even cover half of them,” he continued. That’s why he has since set his sights on a new challenge:

“I’m thinking about making an album, one where you can download it on Spotify,” he said. “I want it to be legit.”

He also plans to go to NMC after graduating, and then hopefully get his bachelor’s off island, so he can “get the degree out there and bring the trophy back home.” And while he isn’t sure what career path he’ll ultimately take, he knows that rap will always be a big part of his life.

“No matter what I do, I will always have music in me,” he said. “So after I’m done with college, I want to come back and save up for all the equipment and actually make my own music.”

“I don’t care if I don’t become as big as I dreamed about before,” he added. “As long as I get that love and respect from here.”

And for any aspiring musicians, he had the following advice:

“If you’re going to start, then start from the very first place being you. Keep it real to yourself, be true to yourself.”