If I ask you to name me one Malaysian rapper and the first (and only) name you can come up with is Joe Flizzow, then you really need to get schooled about the Malaysian rap industry.
We all know the big names such as Mizz Nina, Namewee, Caprice, Too Phat, Malique, K-Town Clan, Poetic Ammo and more, but there are other collectives and groups – and groups in collectives – that we should all take a second to listen to.
So here’s a list of talented and passionate Malaysian rappers that are often overlooked! But first, we’ve got to start with a name that has been making its rounds on all our social media platforms…
Currently unattached to any record label, Zamaera has been making waves everywhere since her song “Helly Kelly”, produced by Kidd Santhe, was released. Zamaera’s track is filled with top-notch sass, class and a whole lot of intelligent rhymes such as “You said that you was workin’, I saw your Instastory, 4am and you still twerkin’,” and “You’re like Taylor Swift… assless,”. Ouch. She was also one of the talents to compete at the recent Red Bull Blend and even though Ashtin took first place, Zamaera showed that she had a lot of potential to be Malaysian’s own Nicki Minaj. So sit down, because you’re about to get schooled.
Part of the big family that is the Rogue Squadron, The Rebel Scum is made up of four well-loved Malaysian rappers; Illson, MicWreck, hqa, Cliq, and WordsManifest, and hails from Kuala Lumpur. They also have a ton of awards in their pocket such as winning Best Hip-Hop Group in the My Hip-Hop Awards in 2013, Best Hip-Hop Act in VIMA in 2010, Best Hip-Hop Act and Bronze Best Hip-Hop Song in VIMA 2009, and many more. I mean look at this greatness:
This is by two members of theirs, yet you have to admit it’s pretty darn amazing.
3. Eyza Bahra
Better known to her closer friends as Noranieyzah Bahra, Ezya hails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and is a pretty well-known name is the hip-hop industry. Before going solo, Eyza started her career out by being a vocalist in Salam Musik and then started on her solo career under Mixology Music.
She is truly brilliant.
Also known as NSSN, is a Malay rap group which consists of three official members; Umair Al-Zubair (Al-Z), Abdul Fariq (Frequensi) and Syafeq Rydza Radzy (RydzaRadzy). They started their career in 2010 and named themselves NtahSape2Ntah after receiving positive feedback from listeners everywhere. They wanted to remain anonymous but had to name themselves when they had their first performance as a group in Raising the Bar – a monthly hip-hop event that showcases new hip-hop acts in the country.
After their stint in Raising the Bar, they started making waves and were invited to perform in other Hip-Hop shows such as Youth Fest, OctTwtFest, TRAP and more. They were also featured in a few mistakes and collaborations which led them to share the stage with Malaysian hip-hop heavyweights such as Joe Flizzow, Altimet, Mizz Nina and more.
What melts my heart is that they’re also the chosen ambassadors of Edunation, an organisation giving Malaysian students equal access to a free, complete educational ecosystem, along with other ambassadors such as Amber Chia, Carmen Soo and many others.
Now, I wouldn’t do the list justice if I left out Lawalah Familia. Established in 2013, this group is synonymous with the Malaysian Hip-hop scene. Lawalah Familia has also been invited to perform at big events such as Raising The Bar Festival in 2016, Sunway Lagoon Asia Flow Tour in 2016, StreetVibez Moonsoon Cup 2016, Singpore Enter the Void Deck Awards 2015 and many more. Even though they’re relatively new, their first mixtape, Ramai Lagi Lawa, was so successful, many in the industry saw potential in them. More recently, they won first place at The House of Vans Battle of the Band Malaysia and represented Malaysia at the House of Vans 50th Anniversary Singapore Tour. What more, their songs have been nominees at the VIMA Awards in 2016 for VIMA Best Act in the Universe, VIMA Best Hip-hop Song, VIMA Best Collaboration and they even won the Silver Award for VIMA Best Hip-hop Song in 2016.
This is certainly a group to be reckoned with. This group consists of 22 members and their names deserves to be called out:
1.Sabbala a.k.a Alabbas a.k.a Al-Abbas a.k.a Muyu Mizzy
2.Rahhh 5 Kaki a.k.a Muariffah
9.R.A.S.H. The Warchild
And if you have time, you should check out R.A.S.H’s epic song:
Rubba.Bend hasn’t be talked about often because she’s better known in the Malaysian Indian Rap Scene, but she’s one of the rare few that has made it out there. Hailing from Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, she started her career off in Sheezay’s album ‘Kambathu Rapper’ in the hit track ‘Indian Monster’ where she showed off her skills as a versatile rapper and singer. She’s also heavily influenced by the likes of Missy Elliot, Ciara and many more. Her friend then introduced her to PSYCHO.unit who was, at the time, looking for a female rapper to add on to their record label. She went through an audition with Rabbit Mac and voila. PSYCHO.unit consists of 8 artists; Daddy Shaw, Rabbit Mac, Sheezay, Candyman, Bugz, Crime Minista and of course, Rubba.Bend. She was also involved in the movie “Arambam” and have stated that she would love to collaborate with M.I.A.
7. Supa Mojo
Joanne Teh, also known as Supa Mojo, hails from Alor Setar and is known for her epic flow and raps that are mostly in Chinese. She’s also the one-third of The Dynasty, the other two being Ming the Chin from KLG Sqwad, and Noyzie. The Dynasty is also under the record label Starrsound.
Not only is Supa Mojo a talented rap artist, but she’s also a street artist and a member of The Secret Hideout design collective.
8. The Bat Cave
“Why Bat Cave” you ask? Well, it’s because they started out in Batu Caves in 2010. The Bat Cave is an experimental Rap/Hip-Hop group that makes a strong case that the hip-hop is still growing and had never stopped growing. This band of rap-cypher-sparking emcees flip between English and Malay often in their lyrics and along with their South Korean turntablist, have proven that they’re a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by and comparable to the likes of Jurassic 5, Wu Tang Clan, and more, the group is also part of the infamous rap collective Rogue Squadron (as mentioned earlier). The group has also collaborated with big names such as W.A.R.I.S, Nadhira, R.A.S.H the Warchild and many more. These guys are very well known as being significant contributors to the rap and hip-hop scene.
Starting out in 2014, Lawa Nie Geng is a rap group made up of two members; Muariffah and Al-Abbas/Alabbas/Muyu Mizzy (who is also a part of the Lawalah Familia). Before becoming a group, they were both working on solo projects and after the success of “Kita Punya”, they decided to work together and become Lawa Nie Geng, which is a collective under Lawalah Familia itself.
Both born in 1993, Al-Abbas was born and raised in Kajang, Selangor, whereas Muariffah was born in Kelantan but was brought up in Penang. Though both their styles differ, they’ve managed to work together and release a free mixtape that anyone and everyone can get on their Facebook page. Ever since then, they’ve been taking the underground scene by storm at events such as Raising the Bar, Ritma Atas Puisi and more.
“You cannot call yourself a rapper if you don’t write your own material. If you perform rap songs, you may call yourself a rap vocalist but never a true rapper.” – Altimet.
Altimet, or Ahmad Abdul Rahman, was born in 1978 and was part of the The Tarik Crew. However, after the crew disbanded, he went solo and is not under the Kartel Records label. He has been in the rap and hip-hop industry for about 17 years now, has been called the father of Malaysian hip-hop, and is one of Malaysia’s leading pioneers of the genre. If anything, Altimet is the bigger name on this list and I wouldn’t forgive myself if I had left him out. He has won Best Hip-Hop Solo Act and his track ‘Chantek’ has also won Song of the Year, both at the VIMAs in 2008. He has also collaborated with The Kawan Band, Aman RA, Diadra Arjunaidi, Adeep Nahar and Amir Jahari, among other artistes.
I mean look at this epic track which takes a hit at society and negative attitudes on social media. This is what he had to say about the song:
“Some complain about how employees don’t do their jobs properly but spend their time on Facebook. And then there’s the keyboard warrior who wants to have a say in everything. The social media trend in Malaysia has come to a point where everyone wants to put something up just for the sake of attention,”
The Malaysian rap industry has a ton of amazing talent that are often ignored. What’s unique about rap music is that most songs have a part of the rapper ripped out and placed in it. After all, Altimet says…
“As a rapper you have to write lyrics that matter. You have to come up with sincere material that’s also uniquely you”.
Today, we listen to artists such as Drake, JayZ, Eminem and such, and it’s not that we shouldn’t, but we should also show some of our talented Malaysian rappers some love.