Photo / @ekoveforreal04 on IG

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When I was 18 years old, I was still in school and making stupid decisions. I wasn’t really thinking about what I’d like to do in the long run. At 18, Enzo de la Torre, also known as E-Kove, is already creating music and making an impact on the local scene. He’s only about to graduate senior high school.

Just recently, he collaborated with performer Aj Kee Hong for “LP 2 ILL.” The song represents their hometowns and reflects the struggles, pride, and hunger that they want their cities to have. E-Kove is from Las Piñas, while Hong is from Iloilo, hence LP and ILL. I thought that was clever.

Watch the music video of “LP 2 ILL” below:

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Listen to the song on Spotify below:

Since its premiere in June, the music video has received close to 3,000 views. On Spotify, “LP 2 ILL” is on the platform’s Fresh Finds Philippines playlist. A worthy achievement for a teenager who backed out of his audition for The Voice Kids.

Starting ’em young

“I started with music at a young age, creating song covers on YouTube when I was nine years old. I then tried to audition for The Voice Kids at our local mall, but then I backed out because I was scared and I had no confidence,” E-Kove said.

That didn’t stop him, though. He started listening to rap at 12 years old and even wrote verses from the poems his English teacher made for them. E-Kove shared, “Then I started to learn basic elements such as rhymes, flows, melodies, and others.”

The young rapper started releasing his songs in 2018 when he was 14 years old. When thinking of a stage name, he started off with his in-game name (or IGN, which I had to research as an older millennial), EvoKen. It is a combination of Evolution, a team from World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., and Ken, short for his favorite rapper at the time, Kendrick Lamar. Since it sounded like the word “evoke,” he reversed the word and added a dash “to look cool, just like Gloc-9.” E-Kove was born.

“I released songs that were literally about food, and then I released love songs that were about my thoughts and what my friends experienced in their love lives,” E-Kove revealed.

E-Kove na busy, papunta sa top

Photo / E-Kove

Unlike other performers who started recording their songs in their bedrooms, E-Kove got moving.

He made friends in the local scene like esseca, YLMRN, Pxrple, NJ, and $ucc, the artist known for the viral  “Siomai Rice.”

“I collaborated with $ucc and this helped start up my career. I also collaborated frequently with a friend from the local scene in Las Piñas City, Jobe Derick. These led to me starting to have gigs from different places,” E-Kove said.

His first gig was in Novaliches, which was far off from his base in Las Piñas. According to the rapper, “having no talent fee and coming from Las Piñas, it made me much more hungry and excited for what is to come next.” He became consistent in releasing songs and “getting playlisted on Spotify.”

What came next? The pandemic.

It hit me because I was only able to release three tracks in 2020 and a whole lot of 24 bars challenges on Facebook. I then worked on a project named Never Forget, a four-track EP that I worked on for eight months.”

Never Forget was released in April and E-Kove worked on a few singles after that. In 2022, he wanted to take on new sounds such as Guitar Trap. To date, E-Kove has four music videos out on YouTube and 900,000 total streams on Spotify.

“LP 2 ILL”

Photo / E-Kove

His latest is “LP 2 ILL,” which was just released this June. According to E-Kove, the song was a surprise collab between him and Kee Hong, who is 19 years old.

He said, “We first met at TMP’s Urban Gathering 1 in Parañaque. This was my first event ever since the pandemic hit so I was a bit nervous at the time. He came from Iloilo City and I was already seeing him on Facebook with his tracks and his dedication to being one of the best.”

Both being passionate performers, they spent the evening talking about life, their plans, and a possible collaboration. The following day, E-Kove asked his producer, Timothy James Bolivar, also known as TR4E, to make a beat that would suit him and Kee Hong. He wrote the hook and verse in less than an hour.

I recorded it in my home studio and then I passed it to Kee Hong via Google Drive. I finished everything in one day because my hunger and motivation as an artist came back. I knew that this song is going to be a hit. He then responded a week after when he recorded at NJ’s studio in Pasig. He sent me his verse and then it was done.”

The next step was creating the music video. Kee Hong visited Las Piñas and the two recorded the video in one day with Lance Lascano as the director.

Following the success of “LP 2 ILL,” I asked E-Kove what was next for him. In the pipeline are more collabs with other local artists that he promises will make people listen.

“I am working on releasing a lot of singles this year and I am pumping out content almost every week just for my supporters and my future supporters to be updated on what I’m [working] on,” he shared.

He added, “I know for myself that I am up next and I have what it takes to be heard at the age of 18.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

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