ABANGSAPAU’s Intimate & Stirring New Single ‘Boyhood’

Local artist ABANGSAPAU drops brand new single ‘Boyhood’, in collaboration with producer Nabeyin and singer-songwriter Charlie Lim.
‘Boyhood’ (feat. Charlie Lim)

ABANGSAPAU (@abangsapau) turns inward to illustrate his personal struggles in vivid and intimate detail in his newest single ‘Boyhood, a melancholic hip-hop ode to self-growth and grief. The Def Jam South East Asia release shows a different side of the rapper’s artistry, coming into sharp contrast with the playfulness of his previous song ‘hahaha’. 

Boyhood’ is the product of introspection as he reflects on a life first lived as a young, confused kid, and then an adult burdened with unanswered questions. The process began by confronting his past – in order to grow into the man he always wanted to be, he first had to nurture the boy who once was. This meant untangling the grief of losing a loved one: for ABANGSAPAU, it’s his late father. 

“I slowly slipped into a deeply depressive hole which robbed me of time, opportunities and good decisions,” he says. “In overcoming depression, I learnt that self-forgiveness is a vital part of overcoming regret.”

Photo: Hans Goh

The journey of healing is never done alone; for the Singaporean rapper, this meant collaborating with two-time Grammy-nominated producer Nabeyin (Drake, Kanye West, Nas, Miguel) and Singaporean singer-songwriter Charlie Lim. The track then was completed with the help of producer Prodbydan and bassist Harist Sunil.

Testifying to the raw vulnerability of the single, co-writer and performer Charlie Lim shares, “When [ABANGSAPAU] sent me the track, I immediately resonated with his lyrics and how confrontational yet confessional they were. That inspired me to dig a little deeper to come up with parts that would juxtapose his from a sonically and texturally different point of view but still be part of the whole prodigal-son-comes-home story.” 


The music video for ‘Boyhood’ – directed by Daryl Eng Jun – aptly encapsulates the transcendental and liberating process that this single was for ABANGSAPAU. We first see him in a school hall, hunched over a table writing on a piece of paper – not unlike a student taking an important exam. The rapper later sits in an empty cinema, rapping about his past, as he’s joined by Charlie to bond over the wounds of regret. By the end of the song, he is back in the hall – now ready for the next step in his life as he leaves his table. 

Boyhood’ is yet another example of ABANGSAPAU’s unrivalled artistry in Southeast Asian hip-hop. 2022 marks another banner year for the rapper, who sends a message to fans that while some scars take time to heal, there is always room for hope. 

“Boyhood” is available now on all streaming platforms.