THEY were known as Malaysia’s number one hip-hop and rap group and they revolution-ised the Malaysian music scene in the 1990s.
“They” are four dudes collectively known as Poetic Ammo who won the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) award almost two decades ago.
The members Nicholas Ong aka Point Blanc, Yogeswaran Veerasingam aka Yogi B, Chandrakumar Balakrishnan aka Land Slyde, and his brother Sashi Kumar aka C. Loco, have moved on with their lives since the group went on an indefinite hiatus.
Just to put the time span into perspective – one of their ardent fans, who calls herself Diyana Ammogurl, was 12 when she first got to know Poetic Ammo’s music and now she is a mother of two.
As founder of the group, Yogeswaran is the closest to Nicholas Ong. Having gone through the struggles of building a career in music, Ong and Yogeswaran had carried on as a duo after the other members went their separate ways in 2000.
Yogeswaran is single but declares he is strictly not available.
“I don’t have free time,” said Yogeswaran, now a Kollywood hip-hop star, when asked why he has done nothing about his marital status.
Yogeswaran, 42, has remained busy. After Poetic Ammo, he teamed up with another artiste, Natchatra and came up with a Tamil hip-hop single and sold 75,000 copies.
Since then, he has gone on to do remixes and perform songs for Kollywood blockbuster movies starring the likes of Dhanush, Rajnikanth, Vijay and Aishwarya Rai.
“I work on music, I relax with music and when I need to de-stress more, I watch sci-fi movies,” he said.
Work-wise, it looks like Yogeswaran is going full-steam ahead as he revealed his having invested a huge sum into re-equipping his 16-year-old studio, Boombox Records.
“I am looking forward to the future where the studio will become my music factory.
“This is where I am going to create the content that will enable me to compete with the top producers in Kollywood. This is why I have to invest in world-class equipment, so I can produce world-class music,” said Yogeswaran, who will be releasing another new single, Mantrahood by 2017.
In recalling his youth spent as a music star, Ong declared that as a recording artiste, he had done everything that could be done as a not-so-good-looking “banana” (slang term for a Chinese who is not proficient in their mother tongue).
“Musically, I achieved more than I could ever imagine,” said Ong, who went on to own a recording label and launched his own clothing line as a solo artiste – all by his 28th birthday.
Now 37, the Ipoh-born Ong gave the impression that he would rather be left alone.
“I don’t do interviews anymore. I am only doing this because Yogi B talked me into it,” Ong told StarMetro frankly.
He had just exited from a relationship with a well-known personality, and is now grappling with the loss of his mother who succumbed to cancer a few months back.
So top most in Ong’s priorities now is to ensure he spends time with his widowed father and sees that he is well cared for.
Career-wise, Ong is a club emcee every Wednesday at Zouk Kuala Lumpur, where he has been working up the crowd since 2009.
He had done deejaying and emceeing stints in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
He is also pursuing a childhood ambition – to be a comic artist.
A recipient of the Star Education Fund, Ong studied computer graphic design at Saito College. He is currently promoting a lot of his art pieces – pen illustrations of characters inspired by trading card games – on social media under “The Art of Nick Ong.”
But Ong is not the type to brag. He is still on a learning curve and mentions artist Alan Quah as his mentor.
“I am in the midst of developing my own intellectual properties so that one day, I may have enough material for either a graphic novel, start a franchise or be part of a chain of multimedia outlets,” he said, hoping his art would be good enough for him to be hired by either DC or Marvel Comics one day.
Land Slyde and C. Loco
Siblings Chandrakumar and Sashi Kumar are now seasoned emcees and combined, they have done “crowd control,” as described in their own words, for up to 60,000 people.
Apart from that, Chandrakumar, 45, started Dragon Red, a rock rap band with vocalist Adam Lobo, guitarist Amil Fadhil Khan, bassist Camero and drummer Brandon Gomez.
He is the only member of the group who is married and has two sons – Shin Jin, 14, and 11-year-old Rai Khin.
The proud father said his eldest son was awarded the best student for Geography and Science by his school this year and was learning ballroom dancing.
Shin Jin, he added, also recently won a gold medal in the samba category with his dance partner.
Sashi Kumar, 39, travels the world as a judge for Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game.
He is known for posting travel pictures of himself doing headstands with the different skylines of famous cities in the background.
He also writes poetry and regularly performs his work at open-microphone sessions.