Rap star proud to sing about Woodlands
Woodlands has made it in rap history. It joins New York, Atlanta and Compton as places name-dropped in well-known rap songs, and the man behind its fame is homegrown hip-hop artist Akeem Jahat.
His hit single, Woodlands, is packed with references to landmarks in the neighbourhood, including the McDonalds outlet at Woodlands Civic Centre and Masjid An-nur.
Full of soul and swagger, the English-Malay rap is so popular, even with his fans in the region, that they will chant its chorus with homeboy pride at his shows.
He will be performing the song this weekend at Akeem Jahat & The Mobbin Hoodies. The show is part of the Esplanade’s Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts, which features the best in theatre, dance, and music from the region.
Akeem’s music inspiration as he was growing up, included local artists M. Nasir and Art Fazil. Their music had an influence on the way he writes and composes rap.
He is deliberate about not replicating the style of American rap icons such as Tupac and Jay Z. Instead, he chooses to develop a sound and style that is culturally relevant to Singapore and the region.
“I feel more comfortable in my own skin,” he says, of rapping about Singapore culture and topics, such as young love and the popular drink Ribena.
His rap about Woodlands is a tribute to the neighbourhood where he has lived all his life. The vibrant place and its people helped to shape him as he was growing up, so making it the subject of a rap came naturally to him.
He says: “If you put out a great body of work, you don’t have to worry about being heard”.
Details about Akeem Jahat & The Mobbin Hoodies’ performance here.