Spoken Word Master:
by Sarah Daniella Dickman
For Ashtin, the journey of the rap game in Malaysia has been nothing short of eventful, exciting albeit exhausting at times. As part of a great effort spearheaded by KIL TV, Ashtin has been featured as the spoken word master in this thrilling new series of videos, set to be released over the next couple of months. We caught up with Ashtin a couple of weekends ago to talk about the struggles and victories that come with the territory of being a Malaysian Rapper.
When Ashtin first stepped out onto the scene some 8 years ago, he was a young, raw talented MC with a big dream and the drive to excel. Initially known as MIO, Ashtin decided about 5 months ago that it was time for him to drop the pseudonym and return to his roots. Like many spoken word artistes and lyrical masterminds, his art is largely centred on his life story. The name change was meant to represent the metamorphosis in the way he was telling his story and that is how Ashtin came to be. His lines are typically in Malaysian English or as we know it, Manglish, and he is the true embodiment of a Malaysian Rapper.
Humble and down-to-earth are two of the words that one would use to describe this young man with an inexplicable talent, which says so much about his character and why he is on the pathway to success. He tells us that he started out listening to G-Unit as a teenager and that caused the plate-shifting within him to take on hip-hop and really get into and study it for all that it truly is. It was then that he discovered the likes of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur and realized the innate need for skill when it comes to being a rapper. This truly inspired him to work on honing his skill and developing his own sound. He started writing his own verses at the age of 16. He laughingly adds that of course none of these are used in his music today, since they were really just musings of a teenage boy.
Ashtin sites various rappers, both “new-school” and “old-school” as his greatest influences- like Jay Z, Big Al, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole to name a few. At the entry point of his musical career as a rapper, he also progressed into the club scene, landing gigs as the MC in various places, having first started out at Envy. Most recently, he has been affiliated with Rootz KL as their resident MC. Apart from that aspect of his career, Ashtin is also a part of Rogue Squadron, a Malaysian hip hop collective. He tells us that the way this is different is that they operate as a crew rather than a label, and each of the artistes in the crew are free to explore their own artistry. He is currently working on a 5-track EP, and hopes to release it as soon as he possibly can. His latest single “Eh Nice Bro” was released a little over a month ago.
Shining the light on Malaysian artistes from every genre, across every style is the goal that KIL TV has had in mind since its conceptualization. You can be a part of this exciting movement by liking and subscribing to their YouTube channel, and sharing this with your friends and family! Let’s be the change we want to see in the Malaysian music industry.
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