Music News

‘Raising the Bar’ Celebrates 7 Years By Bringing In Artist From Across the Strait

Start off your new year with verse-based acrobatics and banging beats at the latest instalment of Raising the Bar at Gasket Alley, starting from 8pm til late on the 31st of December!


Raising the Bar is the brainchild of  Malaysia’s freestyling, yearly summarizing, self-confessed banana rapping artist, Jin Hackman. A monthly endeavour to bring together the best of hip hop, Raising the Bar (or RTB) has had some memorable moments in its history, with the reunion of Teh Tarik Crew back in 2013, meme-ist Luqman Podolski  doing the MyVi song more than once on stage, and the myriad of people who go to RTB to get inspired to be rappers, like Airliftz (who by some poetic chance is now under Jin Hackman’s label, This Way Up Records). There was also Raising The Bra, an event to honour the female rappers in our hip hop scene with rap icons like Hunny Madu. Raising the Bar has been home to many rap fans trying to explore the borders of what our local rap scene can serve. Now it’s crossing those borders, inviting Indonesian artistes Ramengvrl and A. Nayaka.


Ramengvrl is definitely an emcee to look out for with her roots in poetry while embracing the trap rap genre with techincal ease. She’s got your catchy slow flow and snarky lyricism, going bravado on tracks like “I’m Da Man”, (that takes a sick turn at the end of the song beat-wise). She tries to stay away from being labelled a rapper though, taking up the mantle of an artist who just wants to express her thoughts, incidentally using rap as a medium. One of the more promising symbols of Indonesia’s new generation of hip hop, Ramengvrl proves that there’s more behind the curtain than just Rich Chigga.

RTB also has A. Nayaka whose sound has a big range, with songs ranging from smooth romantic serenades like 3AM in Jakartareal introspection like Escape and ‘don’t-mess-with-my-crew’ bangers such as Powder PabloA. Nayaka developed his fondness for hip hop when he was living in the states, and he has the power to colour your New Year anyway you want, whether it’s going to be a party-all-night deal or a somber reflection on life.

Our local acts are forces to be reckoned with to, with Orang Malaya who keeps it lowkey but still serves great bars. Orang Malaya has also done a feature with Ramengvrl with his song I Don’t Wanna Know. He cites influences like Frank Ocean, Miguel and The Weeknd in his sound.

No matter how many new blood comes in, we should always honour the classics. For that, we have MC

Orang Malaya
Orang Malaya

Syze, making a comeback with some new material for your perusal (with a purported special guest, yet to be named). MC Syze has been a significant rapper in Malaysian rap history with his penchant for New Jack Swing hip hop in songs like Dancin’ and his collab with R&B group V.E. (so many memories) in Message Girl.

We also have Roshan (aka thebeardedcameragod), co-founder, A&R & DJ for Saturday Selects. Saturday Selects is a platform that combines the talent of photography and beat-making, and Roshan showcases synchronicity that as he encapsulates the global nature of hip-hop, influenced by  baile-funk, hip hop, dancehall and house music. It truly is going to be a unique and groovy dance set at RTB with Roshan at the turntables.

MC Syze
MC Syze

The list doesn’t end there, there’s also Naufal Anwa (or Naufal) of HOAX Vision and  Ashtin waxing bilingual after dropping his album Chindian earlier this year.

Raising the Bar is going to be explosive this year, a great big pretty bow to the present 2017 has been to rap. We hope to see you there! Buy tickets at!

Picture is of A. Nayaka.

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