Rap-tinged traditional Malay tune, 'Gila', wins Best Song at Anugerah Juara Lagu

Due to the pandemic, the competition was held for the first time in its 35-year run without a live audience. Photo: TV3 Malaysia/Twitter

Blending the old and the new proved to be the winning formula at this year's Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL).

Gila, which combines a distinct traditional Malay sound with contemporary hip-hop stylings, was crowned Best Song at the prestigious annual song competition on March 14.

The song – a collaborative effort between Kaka Azraff (performer), Noki (performer, songwriter), Loca B (performer, songwriter) and Ezra Kong (songwriter) – speaks about overcoming the mental and emotional strains that life brings.

All except Ezra Kong are first-time winners. Prior to Gila, Kong has clinched the coveted Best Song award twice for Jampi in 2018 and Haram in 2019.

It was a big night for Kong as another one of his creations (co-written with Hael Husaini), irama Malaysia song Belenggu Rindu (performed by Datuk Jamal Abdillah and Wany Hasrita), won third place.

Emotionally-charged ballad Semalam (performed and written by Aina Abdul) placed second.

Meanwhile, vocal teacher-singer Ernie Zakri belted her way to a Best Vocals trophy.

Hip hop artiste Zizi Kirana breathed new life to her rendition of Eh, earning her a Best Performance trophy.

AJL is a prestigious annual song competition which sees 12 of the year's top hits duke it out in front of a panel of industry experts.

Due to the pandemic, the competition was held for the first time in its 35-year run without a live audience.

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