How to Write and Rap in Malay

I've had several discussions with artists and rappers on what makes a Malay rap or verse "good". The jist of the argument is how to make the rap appeal to an international audience. Whilst Too Phat pioneered the Malay flow that we hear today with many Malay rappers including myself, it's still unheard of for a Malay rapper to reach an international stage. Hip-hop to me is exciting because it doesn't have a language barrier, if the flow is cool people will dig it regardless if they understand the words.  

There are a lot of notable Malay acts from the region that has garnered wide viewership particularly because of individual styles that mimic US east / west / trap / R&B trends. Whichever route one chooses to take is a non-issue, but it always comes down to the person's delivery, energy, tone and cadence that will gain them fans. You can be weak in English but a standout Malay rapper because of this and still achieve commercial success.

Find out your inner flow and concentrate on that. Hone that voice and you will be sure to improve your sound and at the end be able to deliver powerful lyrics and rhythm without sounding obscure. Learn from your favourite artists and see where they shine in order to reach their skill level. In a lot of cases, it’s taking away some things and simplifying your raps in order to make it more appealing:

1) You don't have to be shouting to sound energetic
2) You don't have to be too literary in order to sound meaningful
3) To sound exciting and punchy you need to make sure your word choices are exciting and punchy, cut out all the unnecessary lines
4) Punchlines & multi's in Malay is easy to achieve but something you have to work on and experiment continuously

These will hopefully build up your delivery and confidence in laying down memorable Malay verses. At the end of it you want to connect with you audience so it all comes down to your oratory skill: a long winded speech never garners any fans, but that confident “from-the-inside” style will always catch people’s attention.

-ZP