Bintang Rap Tanah Malaysia



Bintang Rap Tanah Malaysia

(Rogue Squadron)

IT has been 20 years since 4U2C dropped (arguably) Malaysia’s first ever Rap Melayu album.

Their arrival was celebrated and then dented when Network International Chicanos Organisation or Nico dropped Made in LA the following year.

Not only the album raised the bar in the art of rhyming in Malay, but it also added the street edge that it’s pioneer and peers lacked. Rap Melayu has finally arrived, well, kind of, because the arrival was quickly followed by a departure, a very long one.

In 2005, during the calm after the storm that was Malaysian hip hop, a group who called themselves Ahli Fiqir, dropped Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah. The long forgotten Rap Melayu was back in town, fitter and with a vengeance.

Unlike its predecessor, Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah had it all – the poetry, dikir, seloka and gurindam. There was a problem though; Malay is a language of conversation, Ahli Fiqir, albeit the beats, from a layman’s perspective were a bit too scholastic.

Three years later, Malique, former Too Phat member who was in self-exile, dropped his debut, OK. The album had Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah’s depth and Too Phat’s intel of mass appeal. OK brought us a new wave of emcees that raps in Malay and most importantly, secured Rap Melayu place within the marketplace.

There was still something missing though. OK was Tun Mahathir – charismatic, ahead of its time, a leader. What are missing were the Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim. Serius Selamba Krew is precisely it.

Since day one, the trio – NBS, Saph and DJ Jocular – have been carving a niche as the brat in the pack. They picked their subject and words from the hardcore suburban Malay community before spitting it to your face like Shark in KL Gangster.

Unlike Shark, the group’s debut album, Bintang Rap Tanah Malaysia is way smarter and wiser in almost every aspect.

In a very typical hip hop manner, the album opens with Bintang RTM, full of swag and chest thumping – “Tak perlu berkenalan, kau kenal kami siapa / Bukan Hero Remaja, hero para remaja / SSK dah kembali, Bintang Rap Tanah Malaysia” – but hey, who’s the best when it comes to hardcore rap Melayu? All together, SSK!

From that moment onwards, SSK takes you to a journey that discuss multiple subjects from, love gone wrong because you’re dumbfounded by love (Saiko); the hard knock life of living in KL (Kuala Berlumpur); not all good intentions will be rewarded as one thought it would be (Kau Pijak Hatiku Lagi); and of course every emcees favourite subject, girls (Anak Gadis). The subjects may not be out of this world, but how NBE, Saph and their guest collaborators weave their words in their storytelling is definitely and blatantly on target.

Highlights are plenty here. On the super-hilarious Bapakku Kawin Lagi, as wrong it may sounds as you sing along to the chorus – “Oh bapakku, dia kawin lagi / Si tua tak sedar diri/ Oh bapakku, rumah kata pergi, kubur dah kata mari” – you just can’t help it. Listening to Saph and NBE competing punchlines with Altimet here is simply orgasmic.

Then there’s also the Heezy Rock-inspired Lagu Tajuk Lagu (feat Jin Hackman’, Anak Gadis (feat G and Paan), Kuala Berlumpur (feat Sayla), Tenang Sayang (feat Mira TILU), Kau Pijak Hatiku Lagi (feat Noh Salleh) and Selamat Malam (feat Otam).

Speaking of Selamat Malam the song showcased the rarely seen side the group. It’s a call of awakening, not in the normal cheesy way, but in a very classic SSK style.

It’s also good to know that SSK is still capable of laughing at themselves – a trait rarely seen in most of local emcees nowadays. For instance, on Bercakap Dengan Jin skit, the group took a stab at fake MCs who quotes the world but deliver a household.

Moving on to serious business, it’s crucial to highlight the fact that, yes, we understand that being cynical and piercing is SKK’s trademark, however, being a Bintang Rap Tanah Malaysia as they claimed, SSK should be a few league above the rest. Tracks like 6 Penjahanam and Benci – I hate reality TV, I’m more hip hop than you are – should no longer be in their syllable. Leave that to the “rappers takde bakat jumpa aku mintak berkat” as they needed it more than you guys.

Credit also goes to Saph who clearly shown here that he’s the one with the strongest pop sense having arranged the “this should be a hit on national radio but the music director felt he knows better” tunes here.

To sum it up, well, allow me to pick the album up from my Rap Melayu Hall of Fame section which includes Made in LA, Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah and OK as I don’t want to be shooting from my hips. Peace.