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The Malaysian hip hop scene

  

Hip hop is amongst the many genres of music that is followed with great fervour in Malaysia. It is not just Western exports like 50 Cent or Kanye West, however, that Malaysian rap fans enjoy. Since the early 1990s successive generations of home-grown rap acts have been bringing their own distinctly South East Asian flavour to the music.hip hop

The scene began with acts such as 4U2C, NICO and, particularly, KRU, who went on to found one of Malaysia's most famous labels and studios. Today, everything from albums to movies to books comes out under the KRU Studios label. Though influential, none of these bands quite made the mainstream breakthrough that hip hop needed in the country.
The real breakout rap group in Malaysia was Krash Krozz, who added a more RnB-ish flavour to the mix, something akin the New Jack Swing sound spearheaded by Teddy Riley and Bernard Belle in late-80s America. Krash Krozz had some success with their debut LP but fell away and disbanded soon after.
Though they were successful and very influential, Krash Krozz's fate speaks volumes about Malaysian hip hop in the 90s. In a country in love with rock, pop and traditional music, trying to convince people to dig rap was not an easy task.
The game-changing moment came in 1995 when an album called It's a Nice Day to be Alive hit the shelves. The debut LP from a young underground hip hop collective called Poetic Ammo, it packed a raw, hard edged sound that was the polar opposite of the more poppy attempts at rap that had proceeded it. It was a runaway success, making superstars of the groups four members: Yogi B, Point Blanc, Landslyde and C Loco.
Poetic Ammo's success paved the way for more Malaysian hip hop artists to get mainstream attention. Perhaps the most notable of all was Too Phat, the Kuala Lumpur duo whose first single Lil Fingaz was put on steady rotation on Malaysian radio throughout 1999.
Thanks to Too Phat, Poetic Ammo, KRU and Krash Krozz, rap music is now a part of Malaysia's pop music scene. Things have certainly come a long way since the early 90s.

 

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