Top Rappers from Singapore
Rap music which started as a language that gave a voice to several black American youth, has now become a global language and a genre millions can relate to.
Singapore is not left out of the equation when it comes to this genre, and though their riffs may not be centered on the daily struggles of its originators, rappers here have found a way to uniquely design their message while incorporating their own culture.
The South East Asian nation has churned out a number of solid rappers that have broken through cultural barriers to reach the global hip-hop stage. Here’s a list of some of Singapore’s most vibrant rappers.
Born Rajid Ahmed, Yung Raja is skilled at rapping in both English and Tamil, thus amassing a huge fan base in Malaysia and Singapore. Raja recalls hearing Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady at age 8, and being hooked to the rap genre since then. His main sources of inspiration were Hollywood and Kollywood actors, Will Smith and Rakinikanth.
Before pursuing his rap career, Yung was acting and had played roles in Fighting Spiders, and Ah Boys to Men 3L Frogmen. His music career took off in 2017 when he joined the Scape Music Talent Development Programme as MCRaja and released the singles Tamilian and Bounce.
He gained even more fame in 2018 following the release of his official debut track, Mustafa. The song peaked at number 3 on Spotify Malaysia’s viral charts within a week. In 2019, he released the single titled Mad Blessing to even more success.
Tosh Zhang Zhi Yang, known by the stage name Tosh Rock gained popularity in the rap genre because of his catchy rap tracks which have been watched million of times. He is also popular for acting as Sergeant Ong in Jack Neo’s Ah Boys to Men.
He became interested in rap music at age 12, and later joined the country’s leading break dancing crew, Radikal Forze. He has released a number of singles, beginning with theme songs for the series Ah Boys to Men. He is credited with the 2012 theme track, Recruit’s Anthem, Brothers (2013), Who Else (2015), and Frontline Soldiers (2017).
Famous hip hop star, director, music producer and songwriter Shigga Shay was born Pek Jin Shen and started his music career at age 14. He released his first mixtape, Shigga Shay’s in the Building in 2010 and his debut EP titled They Call Me ShiGGa in 2012.
Esquire Magazine listed him among the Top 50 Men to look out for in 2015. He happens to be a founding member of the thriving Hip-Hop group known as Grizzle Grind Crew. WorldStarHipHop named him “Unsigned Talent of the Week” in December 2012, while Aging Youth has described him as the youngest hip-hop star to have climbed the Singapore radio music charts.
With the release of LimPeh in 2013, ShiGGA became a noted rapper topping charts, later releasing another hit Lion City Kia in 2014, and a self-titled album in 2015.
In 2016, he was invited by US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar, to perform at the White House state dinner after-party.
Jabba got his first taste of international fame following the release of his 2018 single titled Ape Sia. The song went viral, garnering more than a million YouTube views within the first four months of its debut. The rapper is particularly noted for his bilingual rap verses which appeal to his audiences in Malaysia, Singapore and other countries.
During the 2019 National Parade Day, Fariz was the first rapper to perform, together with Wheelsmith and Yung Raja. His comedian brother, Fakkah Fuzz was actually the one who introduced him to the hip-hop genre. His second single, Masa was released in May 2019.
Kevin Lester Sarjit, widely known as THELIONCITYBOY has etched his name on the list of top Singaporean rappers through his spirited performances both locally and internationally.
He was initially a member of the Bonafide Vintage Flav’r band between 2004 and 2006. He together with the band released the album The BVF Project EP in 2005, and earned nominations for Best Local Song for their single Feels Good, and Best Local Act.
His debut album, Paradise was released in 2016 and peaked at number 1 on the iTunes charts. The single, YAYA was ranked number 15 among Spotify Singapore’s Viral 50 charts.
He got signed to Sony Music Singapore in January 2020.
Lineath Rajendran began his career in 2007 as a self-taught producer. He was only 14 years when he started pursuing his music career in the rap and hip-hop genre. By 2009, he had gained further expertise, producing tracks for some of his mates. His first EP, Solo Medley was issued in 2011 and won him critical acclaim for its intense lyrics and heavy beats.
He has produced theme tracks for Jack Neo’s films, Ah Boys to Frogmen and The Lion Men alongside Tosh Rock. He is also noted for working with ShiGGa Shay on his albums and mixtapes.
Female rapper Masia Lim is widely known on stage as Masia One. Noted as one of Singapore’s top rappers, Masia gained fame for her songs titled Warriors Tongue, Split Second Time, and Return of the B-Girl. She set a record in 2003 by becoming the first female rapper to earn a nomination for Best Rap Video during the MuchMusic Video Awards. Prior to that, she had begun her own record label named M1 Group, and released her first album titled Mississauga (2013).
She moved back to her home country in 2015 and founded the country’s first Reggae, Dancehall and Dub events company named Singapura Dub Club.
This multi talented artist is recognized for rapping, singing, beat boxing, writing, composing music and producing beats.He has garnered a lot of attention not only in his home country but also in China, the Philippines and Malaysia.
Zadon began performing at the young age of 15 and was in 2010 crowned as the number One Beatboxer in Illest Cipher. In 2011, he won the number one title again at the Listen to the Music Beatbox Battle. He is well-noted as a member of the popular hip-hop collective known as the Grizzle Grind Crew.
One half of rap-duo, Sleeq, Alyph is well appreciated for his ability to fluently rap in both English and Malay. He, together with Syarif ventured into the music industry in 2005 as Sleeq, producing hits such as Sesaat Kau Datang. In 2015, he reinvented himself as a solo artiste, releasing the single Buat Selamanya and an album titled DETAIL in 2018.
He has served as the Head of the record label known as Black Hat Cat Records, and is also associated with the brand, Magic Potions.
Mark Bonafide is credited as one of Singapore’s R&B/Hip Hop pioneers first noticed as one-half of the group Bonafide, together with Singapore Idol, Taufik Batisah.
This top artiste has broken barriers by performing across several countries including Australia, Russia and has shared the same stage with international artistes such as Craig David and the Black Eyed Peas. His 2009 album, The Bonafide Experience topped Singapore music charts for two consecutive weeks with its single titled So Bonafide, winning the COMPASS Song of the Year Award that same year.