‘PDEA left the group’: Fans taunt agency as Shanti Dope’s ‘Amatz’ lands on Billboard music charts

April 14, 2021 - 6:12 PM
Shanti Dope
Shanti Dope in this photo from his Facebook page on March 3, 2020. (Photo from Shanti Dope via Facebook)

Filipinos taunted the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after one of the songs of Shanti Dope, which earned their attention, landed on Billboard’s Top 10 World Digital Song Sales chart.

“Amatz,” one of the Filipino rapper’s popular songs, was included in this week’s chart, together with songs by South Korean artists BTS, Chanyeol of EXO and Hoshi of SEVENTEEN.

“Worldwide type of shiii (rocketship emoji),” Shanti wrote on his Facebook page in response to the reports.

The World Digital Sales chart is a weekly record chart published by Billboard which ranks the bestselling digital singles in the world music genre.

Some of the songs that have appeared are Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” BLACKPINK’s “Lovesick Girls” and “La Vie en Rose” by Lady Gaga.

Shanti’s supporters congratulated him on the achievement while others remembered the government agency that sought to ban his song in 2019 since it supposedly promotes drug use, a claim that his management has denied.

“ANO NA, PDEA? ‘DI BA BINABAN NIYO ‘YUNG AMATZ NI SHANTI DOPE?” a Twitter user exclaimed following the Billboard announcement.

“PDEA left the group,” a Facebook user commented to Shanti’s post about the song appearing on the international music chart.

“PDEA IS SHAKING!” another online user said with a series of laughing-with-tears emojis.

The ‘Amatz’ controversy

The government agency previously requested for the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, and the ABS-CBN Corporation to “prevent the airing of ‘Amatz’ and its promotion in the different media stations throughout the country.”

PDEA said that the chorus of the song “is mostly about ‘Lakas ng amats ko, sobrang natural, walang halong kemikal’.”

Former PDEA chief Aaron Aquino claimed that “Amatz” promoted the use of marijuana, a mind-altering drug.

He added that airing the song “may mislead the vulnerable youth in their perception that it is all right to use illegal drugs.”

Aquino further claimed that it runs counter to the Duterte administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

However, Shanti said the lyrics of “Amatz” were meant to warn people about illegal drugs and promote a more “natural high,” which he said he feels when making music.

“Napapansin ko kasi sa generation ngayon na maraming kabataan [at] tao ang naghahanap ng sagot sa iba’t-ibang klase ng ‘amatz,'” he said before.

“Pino-promote ko iyong natural lang, parang iyong ‘amatz’ ng musika sa akin,” the young rapper added.

His management denounced PDEA’s call for a ban and told Aquino to “listen to the whole song, and not just take a few lines out of context.”

“To take apart a song and judge it based on certain lyrics that offend us is unfair to the songwriter; to presume that our reading of a song is the only valid one is offensive to an audience that might be more mature than we think,” Shanti’s management added.

“Amatz” has recently made international buzz after it was featured in a scene on the third episode of “The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.”

It is a Disney Plus miniseries based on Marvel Comics characters Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier).

The events take place after the “Avengers Endgame” movie released in 2019.