Thursday, January 15, 2015

But I'm Not A Rapper

As I have stated in a previous blogpost entitled “Monthly Resolutions”, I aspire to write songs every two to three days. More specifically, I’ll be writing rap songs. So in this post, I’ll write about how I grew to liking and finally dabbling into rap music.

I guess it started in primary school, when my friends introduced me to Linkin Park. I particularly liked what Mike Shinoda was doing, even if he did it for brief lengths of time (such as in the song “Crawling”). We got really into it, and at one point, were even writing out the lyrics to their songs, just for the fun of it. We got into collective trouble for that though. Ah, memories.

Then came Too Phat. They were getting radio airplay at the time, and my friend Shaheir was quite the listener, even back then, so he brought the rap-duo to my attention, always urging me to check out their mega-hit at the time, “Anak Ayam”. (The story so far sounds so basic, kan?)

Then came Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers aka Eminem. His song “The Real Slim Shady” at the time had so good hook, beat and video that 11 year old me just couldn’t peel himself away from MTV every time the song came on. Then came Stan, and I became really hooked, because of the ingenious story and storytelling in that particular song. I couldn’t resist singing along every time the hook came along. 

I went into an Eminem phase, where I memorised whole songs that came out after that, such as “Without Me”, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”, “Lose Yourself” (ugh, such a good song), “Just Lose It”, “Mockingbird”, and “When I’m Gone”.

I remember one time, when we had just discovered WinPopup on the computers in the computer lab at my secondary school, I typed out the hook of “Mockingbird” into the chat program, and a teacher found out that some people were playing with that instead of doing the work that had been set and called out who was the one who typed “baby baby semua ni”. Nobody stirred, not even me, because, since I was so intimidated by the shouting teacher, I didn’t remember typing the lyrics in until after the class. I was just as clueless as everyone else when the teacher asked everyone that. Taktaw camana boleh terlupa. @.@

I also remember liking Gorillaz’s songs, “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good Inc.”, as well as Black Eyed Peas’ numbers such as “Where Is The Love” and “Don’t Funk With My Heart”.

But then came an indie-rock, emocore phase in my life where I started listening to bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, and My Chemical Romance, and I left hip-hop music for a while, instead focusing on learning to play the guitar and being able to play 30 Seconds To Mars’ “The Kill”. 

I jumped back into listening to rap songs when an ipod given by my aunt contained the Black Eyed Peas’ (fantastic) album “Monkey Business” and was blown away by how good the verses in the song “Like That” were.

Then there were also your MTV hits from the rap artists that were getting heavy rotation such as Kanye West, Eminem and Outkast. 

I wrote and recorded my first rap when I covered the song “Heart Hides” from Jitra’s very own Bourjuis. I replaced their second verse (which was a repetition of the first verse) with a verse of my own. I also started listening to Altimet and Malique’s solo work during those years. I even remember singing along to one of Altimet’s songs with one of my my housemates while cooking in the kitchen. Fun times.

Then, nothing for a long time. I always had the intention to write and record more raps, but I never did. Put it down to procrastination, or just me not really wanting to do it hard enough.

Then came Kendrick Lamar. My brother introduced his brilliant album “Good Kid MAAD City” to me, and although it took me three months, I ended up loving it and it made me feel inspired to want to rap for realsies too.

I entered the final year of my degree studies telling myself to write enough material for an album by the end of the year. But of course, me being me, I ended up writing none at all. Fantastic kan?

Then, sometime last year, my brother and I finally got down to writing and recording a song together, and it was called Pengakuan. You can catch it at

My brother’s verse was so good in that song that I actually rewrote my verse for the song, but after rereading it, the lyrics didn’t really masuk with the beat, so I ended up keeping the original verse on the song. The rewritten lyrics did end up getting recorded not too long afterwards, with a different beat. The song was called Salah Dua.

At this point, I was listening to the albums of Altimet, Earl Sweatshirt, Run The Jewels and Vince Staples. Newly discovered local talents such as Amir Meludah, Batcave and Lawalah Familia also challenged me to get back into writing lyrics.

Now, in January, I’ve made it a point to write and record consistently. I’ve uploaded three songs so far, and I’ll keep at it. I want to get better at it, so I’ll practice as hard as I am able to. 

That’s basically my story with rap music so far. I’m sure there are parts that I have skipped, but I can’t remember what those parts are. My bad.

I’m certainly hopeful that this story will only grow longer for here on out. But I need to remind myself to keep my expectations low, because bak kata pepatah: expectations are root of all disappointment.

1 comment:

Badd said...

Honestly, i found the rappings of nicki minaj highly pleasing.