Singaporean rapper Akeem Jahat stays true to his music, refuses to conform to what's trendy

Singaporean rapper Akeem Jahat does not intend to conform to what's mainstream today. Photos: Handout

Classical music and hip-hop may seem like two different styles of music that don’t mix well.

However, Singaporean rapper Akeem Jahat plans to challenge that notion with his latest single Master P – which samples Beethoven’s Fur Elise and fuses it with catchy, hard-hitting beats.

“Personally, I feel like hip-hop is the only genre you can blend other genres into. You can sample jazz, rock, almost anything.

“The best part is the fact that you get to experiment while also sharing your story,” Akeem told StarLifestyle in a recent interview.

The rapper’s latest track is inspired by American rapper and entrepreneur Master P, a figure the 34-year-old described to have “profound influence” on his vision as an artiste.

“Growing up, I was always fascinated by Master P because he’s the guy who found his own way in hip-hop and changed the game.

“I have always loved his determination and hustler’s spirit. When rappers were dreaming of being signed to a label, he was thinking of starting one.

“When people said ‘no’ to him, he tried his best to figure things out and work his way around it.

“For example, he started out by selling his CDs out of car trunks and delivering them to record stores himself when no label wanted to sign him. Today, he is a multi-millionaire and successful rapper,” the Singaporean artiste said.

There’s a certain enthusiasm in Akeem’s voice as he spoke about the influence Master P had on him.

According to the Basikal rapper, he strongly relates to the American rap star because he experienced a similar struggle when he first came to Malaysia in 2011.

“I wanted to expand my music career here but since I was new, many labels were hesitant to sign me. I was very determined to get my music out then, so I decided to take a bold step and market my music to the masses independently without the backing of any label,” he said.

Refuses to conform

Akeem, who started rapping at 16, launched his music career in 2011 by releasing his own songs on SoundCloud.

The artiste gained popularity in 2012 through his first mixtape, Suke Hati Nenek Volume I: Akeemotherapy, and rose to prominence in the rap scene with his 2014 mixtape, SeluDope.

Akeem, who raps in Malay and English, also performed in various music festivals in Singapore – including Baybeats 2018, the 2019 Sing Lang concert and the Pesta Raya Malay Festival Of Arts in 2019.

He recently entertained the crowd at the Hausboom Music Festival in Selangor with some of his more popular songs like Ribena, $ua and Woodlands.

Akeem entertains the crowd at the Hausboom Music Festival in Selangor.Akeem entertains the crowd at the Hausboom Music Festival in Selangor.

Last year, Akeem welcomed a new chapter in his music career after signing with Singaporean record label Cross Ratio Entertainment – a move that surprised many considering the rapper had been working independently for most of his career.

In an interview with NME, Akeem said that he immediately clicked with the label – who “(understood) me more on a personal relationship level”.

Sharing more about his artistic vision, Akeem told StarLifestyle that he does not plan to conform to what’s mainstream and will continue staying true to his music.

“In this day and age where people are easily influenced by their environment, many will try to tell you that you have to follow a certain trend to succeed.

“But I personally refuse to conform to any style other than my own. If it’s not done in a way closest to my terms and vision, I would not want to do it,” he said.

As for his ultimate goal, the rapper said it is to inspire people – especially the younger ones – to be independent and confident while staying true to themselves.

“Through my music and how I carry myself, I hope to inspire others to be confident in their true self without feeling the need to rely on others.

“I also hope to inspire musicians to be more confident when making decisions, even if it’s unconventional or risky, because behind every closed door is an opportunity,” he concluded.

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