SB19 ‘What?’ Lyrics Explained

The whole song is basically an ode to their trials, beginning and success. SB19 is not the first Filipino boy group but they are the first group to successfully push the OPM subgenre of P-Pop. Their debut with ‘Tilaluha’ was not very successful but it was ‘Go Up’ that pushed them to the top. ‘Go Up’ talked about how they would work hard to reach for their dreams and ‘What?’ talked about them finally reaching their dreams.

When the teaser came out, I was fully expecting an English song. I mean, the title itself is in English, ‘What?’. But oh boy was I wrong. This song sounded different from their previous releases. This is definitely a start of a new era, not just with SB19, but in P-Pop in general.

‘What?’ sounded like a mash of three songs due to its different tempo and unexpected drops in between songs. This kind of song is not very popular in OPM as we are more familiar with songs that have uniform tempo and expected highs and lows. However, if you’ve listened to K-pop songs like EXO’s Tempo and SNSD’s I Got A Boy, you’ll know that this had been popular for a while now and sounds amazing if done right. And SB19 did it right.

The song is more angas than their previous release. I think they want to show us more hardened and bold visuals this time and I’m not complaining. But behind the angas, the lyrics itself is full of wisdom and story. It actually reminded me on how Gloc-9 used rapping as his way of story telling.

[Verse: Pablo]
Nagsimula lang pero wala na ‘kong balak na tapusin
‘Di ibig sabihin ‘pag ‘di tinapos, ako’y hihinto na rin
Alam ko naman na ‘di ako pinaka-ano, magaling
Got no biz with all of you, please, destiny’s I’ll be better and…

[Refrain: Ken]
Lahat ng aking basura ay pupulutin
Laging dala kahit sa’n pa ‘ko mapunta
Lapat sa lupa aking mga paa

[Pre-Chorus: Justin, Stell]
Mahiwaga, bawat nakasarang bintana sa ‘kin dati
Lahat ngayo’y nagbubukas (oh-whoa-oh-oh)
Daming sakuna, ‘di ko ininda
Andito na ako sa wakas (what?)

There was once an interview where they talked about how half of them had already left the group and just came back to continue their dreams. Just because they left didn’t mean their journey was over. Ken’s part talked about carrying their trash everywhere which can allude to them not forgetting where they started from. By not forgetting their struggles, this keeps them humble (lapat sa lupa aking mga paa). As I mentioned before, their debut was not very successful but they have steadily gained their place to the top. Now, the things they dreamed of before are now within their reach. They now have more opportunities to show who they really are as a group.

[Chorus: Ken, PabloStell]
‘Di na bala para iangat ang bandera
Bara na sa puso n’yo na ang tatama (bang)
Ama, salamat at ikaw ang agimat
Bawat banat, iwagayway mo’ng watawat

[Hook: Josh, Justin]
Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo, watawat
Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo, watawat
‘Di na magpa-pa-paawat (what?)
Iwawagayway ang watawat

Agimat is a charm or an amulet which some would say would protect you from any danger. Ama in this context is God (or god, depends on you) and God is their agimat that protected them from whatever misfortunes and danger. Iwagayway ang watawat can be literally translated to wave your flag or can also be raise your flag. The last lines means they cannot be stopped anymore. And waving/raising your flag can mean get up and be proud as this watawat can mean SB19’s own flag or the Philippine flag itself (as Pilipinas is mentioned in the last verse).

[Verse: Josh]
Pare-parehas lang tayong may pagkakaiba
‘Di ba? Ika nila, ibang mundo nakikita niya
Mabuting iba, ‘di gaya nila
Pikit ang mata, ang tama, wala, ha

[Verse: Josh]
20-20, paulit-ulit
Intelihente subali’t nguni’t
Basag ang lente, pinunit-punit
Hinubog ng dalagang bakal, sirit (tsss)

Josh’s verse here most likely talks about difference in social status of the rich and the poor. Different people in different eco-socio class see things differently. Those in the upper class sees the world in a different light, like they know they can achieve anything. But those in the lower classes have to work harder and does not see the easy life that those in the upper class do.

[Refrain: Ken]
Lahat ng aking basura ay pupulutin
Laging dala kahit sa’n pa ‘ko mapunta
Lapat sa lupa aking, alam mo na

[Pre-Chorus: Stell, Justin]
Maniwala, darating ang mga biyaya
Higit pa sa lahat-lahat ng nawala (oh-whoa-oh-oh)
Daming sakuna, ‘di ko ininda
‘Di titigil hanggang sa wakas (what?)

This second pre-chorus has shown their strong will to succeed in their craft. During their journey, they had to sacrifice many things and endure many hardships. But throughout that journey, they had also received many gifts and blessings from the people around them. They’re telling us that they are moving forward until the end.

[Bridge: Justin, PabloKen]
‘Wag n’yong sabihin sa ‘kin kung ano’ng aking dapat gawin
‘Di naman kayo natutong makinig (oh-whoa-oh-oh)
Sa’n man dalhin ng hangin, ang aking yagit, suot pa rin
‘Di magpapanggap na ako pero hindi (oh-whoa-oh-oh)
Daming sakuna, ‘di ko ininda
Andito na ako sa wakas

[Interlude: Pablo]
‘Di na bala para iangat ang bandera
Bara na sa puso n’yo na ang tatama

These final verses just hit home. I really think that these final lines are what really welcomes us to the second era. These boys ain’t playing anymore. This is a shoutout to all their haters, to all those who doubted them. This is a throwback to their rocky start and journey. They are currently at the top of their game and is still going. They’ve been through a lot but they are finally in a place where they want to be.

This whole song is a masterpiece made by our pinuno, Pablo. He definitely has a way with his words and he had encapsulated their whole journey into this one song. This can also be an anthem to everyone that listens to is as the song helps you realize that the journey may be difficult but you’ll get there at one point. Haters gonna hate but you just gotta keep on moving.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to feel with the whole song the first time I saw it. There were so many things going on most especially with the visual and tempo change. I wasn’t used to this in OPM and never thought this would be in PPop. But here we are, SB19 bringing their A-game and change in the Philippine music industry.

Note: These are my opinion and my interpretation of the song. If you disagree, let’s have a healthy discussion.

Lyrics: SB19 – What? Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

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