This is a highly motivating shout-out for Malaysian artists to continue perfecting their skills while sharing their creations on social media platforms.
Early millennial Malaysians will definitely remember local hip hop sensation Too Phat who gained popularity on the airwaves when they started out in the late ’90s. Consisting of members Joe Flizzow and Malique, the rap duo became a household name with their smooth beats and verses inspired by American rap music that became a hit with young Malaysians everywhere.
Fast forward to 2021, Joe Flizzow who remained within the industry as a mainstay hip hop artist after Too Phat disbanded, had gone on to create a platform for budding rappers in the region, namely from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Apart from being a performing artist, Joe opened his own hipster barbershop in Subang Jaya where newbie hip hop performers would gather to strut their stuff after working hours. Turning the performances into a hit YouTube show called 16 Baris (translated into 16 Bars), Joe started featuring undiscovered talents from Southeast Asia who would turn up at his barbershop for a shot at performing. How it works is a lineup of up-and-coming rappers get together to freestyle in a cypher, with each one getting only 16 bars to show their prowess.
The fast-rising popularity of 16 Baris has garnered the YouTube show millions of followers over the last few years, with each episode easily fetching hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – of views. There are even spin-offs of the show reportedly happening in countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. The show has gotten so big that it recently caught the attention of American hip hop legend himself — Snoop Dogg!
Impressed with what he saw, Snoop Dogg uploaded an Instagram story on his account of the show’s profile with a caption saying that 16 Baris was a “dope show with unsigned international rappers.”
The world-famous rapper also added a link to an older segment of the show which contained performances by Southeast Asian rappers Bunga, Noki, and Wo Shi Jay.
Safe to say, Joe Flizzow and every single local rapper on the show were over the moon that 16 Baris caught Snoop’s attention. What’s even better, is that Snoop was so impressed that he recently took it upon himself to meet with Joe and a few other members of Def Jam Southeast Asia (the regional offshoot of the famed U.S. hip-hop label) over a conference call that Joe uploaded on his own Instagram stories.
Joe thanked the American rap icon for giving the show his seal of approval, and called the shout out the “ultimate co-sign”. As news spread, local hip hop fans are buzzing with this development as it means a huge boost for the industry here, and obviously, the number of viewers of 16 Baris has shot up exponentially.
Many are now hoping for a Too Phat comeback to commemorate all their successes that has led them to this point of international recognition, and has paved the way for many artists to explore their own love for hip hop music.
This is also a highly motivating factor for Malaysian artists to continue perfecting their skills and sharing their creations on social media platforms because you never know when you might get lucky and catch that big break!
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