Q&A: ShiGGa Shay Talks Being a Singaporean Rapper, Confirms New Music

ZYRUP catches up with the ‘Tapau’ star.

Photo: ShiGGa Shay

Mention ‘Singaporean rapper’ and ShiGGa Shay immediately comes to mind. Since releasing hit singles like ‘LionCityKia’ and ‘LimPeh (feat. Tosh Rock)’, he has cemented his position as Singapore’s leading hip-hop artiste.

Last August, he was chosen as a representative to perform at the after-party of the State Dinner hosted by the White House. He even got to attend the State Lunch, where then-US Vice President Joe Biden was also present.

The rapper is also scheduled to perform on the second day of Wheeler’s Festival, happening on July 29 and 30. The event celebrates the opening of the multi-concept Wheeler’s Estate, launched by the same team behind Wheeler’s Yard (you know, the cyclist-friendly cafe in Toa Payoh serving Instagram-friendly grub and coffee).

ZYRUP got in touch with ShiGGa Shay to find out what he has been up to, and discuss what being a rapper in Singapore entails.

Photo: ShiGGa Shay

What was the most memorable thing about attending the State Lunch hosted by the White House?
It was an honour to attend the State Lunch with the Obama administration. The most memorable thing for me was seeing the Singapore flag fly right beside the American flag all around the White House. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride then.

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How have overseas audiences reacted to your distinctively Singaporean songs?
I’ve been very fortunate to have audiences outside of Singapore sing along to my songs, even when they don’t fully understand the colloquial slang. I’m hoping [that] through my songs, they will come to know Singapore.

You have multiple hits under your belt. Which is your favourite one to perform on stage?
Most of my songs come from own personal experience, so each song has a special meaning for me. But if I get to choose only one, I guess it would be ‘Tapau’.

Are there any local acts that you see yourself collaborating with in the near future?
There are a lot of talented acts that I admire and would love to work with, [but I have] no particular ones to share yet.

Do people sometimes confuse you with LIONCITYBOY, especially since both of you are Singaporean rappers and you have a song ‘Lion City Kia’?
I see it more as we’re all trying to work towards growing and building [the hip-hop] scene in Singapore. Personally, I feel the reason for us doing this is to put Singapore on the world map through our own styles.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard new material from you. Can we expect any new music from you soon?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio working on my music, and I absolutely can’t wait to share it with you guys soon!

There’s no denying that the hip-hop genre is currently ‘in trend’, with multiple songs from the genre dominating charts. How do you make sure you stand out when you create your music?
For me, I try to focus on making music that speaks to the people. I think a lot of Singaporeans do identify with Singlish, so that part of my music makes it a little more unique.

What can we look forward to from your set at the Wheeler’s Festival?
I won’t say what exactly, but there’ll definitely be a mix of old and new songs, [so] you guys definitely have to come down and have a listen. It’ll also be fun to just chill out and have a few beers with everyone at the lawn party.

Catch ShiGGa Shay at Wheeler’s Festival. Admission to the event is free. For more information, click here.