Cover Photo / Art by Alex Chiu

After a year that saw a record 92 homicides in the Rose City and the tragic loss of one of his 18-year-old mentees at the dawn of 2022, Talilo Marfil’s latest record “122nd” takes on a sense of urgency. The track acts as a candle for those lost and a light to those continuing to hold on. He details it all with stunning clarity in his signature delivery known as “chopping,” In the song, he raps:

“Hard to be looking out past those steel bars / And seen how art can heal hearts / And that ain’t even the ill part. These circles brought me healing, I built a life on a street that could have killed me.”

This street, 122nd Avenue, is the backbone to a side of Portland often described as “forgotten.” As he walks the listener down his memories of this storied street, on this soSpecial-produced track featuring vocals by Olawale, he recounts the turbulence, generational traumas, and handcuffs that have come to define this place that once could
have engulfed him.

However, the ‘Filipino-Typhoon’s’ hope for his block remains evident in his works to transform it. The video for the single, directed by Aeon Visual, takes the viewer on a first-person journey down 122nd to a mural that features Talilo and tells a story of the people that make this place. We are led to another building — a beacon — Ascending Flow, an award-winning youth center he co-founded with his fiancé to aid youth aging out of the foster care system through art and life skills education.

Follow Talilo on Instagram or Facebook. “122nd” is available for streaming and purchase at Apple MusicSpotifyTidal, and Bandcamp.

Watch the visual below.