Home > WoRD LiFe > Too Phat: Malaysian Talented Hip-Hopper

Too Phat: Malaysian Talented Hip-Hopper

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It was the late 1990s. Hip-hop was still seen as a “black thang”, something Western, and record companies in Asia never thought it would catch on in this region.

Along came a young duo who managed to get international record company EMI’s Positive Tone division to sign them on. Even then, the record company was sceptical about selling their albums.

But Malique Ibrahim and Johan Ishak — better known as Malique and Joe Flizzow to their scores of fans — hit the bullseye with their breakthrough hit Whutadilly. Young Malaysians took to them and, more importantly, bought their CDs. Malaysia’s hip-hop duo Too Phat had broken into the mainstream, and the only way for them after that was up.

Today, Too Phat has fans across Asia. Its concerts in Indonesia are sell-outs, and it gets invites to perform in countries as diverse as cosmopolitan Singapore and the oil-rich state of Brunei. It is garnering fans in Thailand, the Philippines and even Japan. Its Taiwan tour in July pulled in more fans and there is now talk of collaboration with a red-hot, Taiwanese band.

The duo has also chalked up quite a few firsts in Malaysia. It opened for internationally acclaimed alternative rock band Linkin Park when the band performed in Kuala Lumpur in 2003. And Too Phat’s collaboration with hip-hop luminary Warren G on the track Just a Lil’ Bit went through the roof on the local and regional charts and propelled Too Phat’s album 360 Degrees into platinum territory, selling more than 100,000 copies. The album proper was launched in 2003; 360 Degrees The Platinum Edition was launched in early 2004 but the buzz about it is only just dying down. The duo’s next album is expected to be out by the middle of 2005.

Expectations for the album include even more collaboration with international acts. Also on the cards are a Japan tour and performances in the US. And, then, there are the awards, both local and regional. Never mind Malaysia’s Anugerah ERA Awards, even MTV has sat up and taken notice of the Malaysian hip-hopsters.

Not bad for a group that even its recording company thought would appeal to only a small market. And, definitely a dream come true for two boys — one then aged 19, the other 20 — who borrowed RM30,000 from their families to record two songs and who “just wanted to put our music out there”.

And the secret of their success? An Asian fusion — incorporating local beats with hip-hop and giving it “the local feel”.

“We love hip-hop. But we also knew we wanted to make the music our own,” says Joe Flizzow in a recent interview. And although there have been rumours of a break-up, Joe has said in several interviews that Malique was just “chilling out” for a while. “What do you expect? We’ve both been doing this since 1998. And we were just teenagers then,” he points out.

Too Phat does not deny that a large part of the group’s attraction for young Asians is the incorporation of the Asian element into their music, hence, the group’s predilection towards Malaysian and Asian collaborations. They say this is one way of promoting other musicians both locally and regionally, something they feel will benefit everyone — musicians and fans alike.

Credit: Joycelyn Lee

Categories: WoRD LiFe
  1. November 21, 2006 at 10:06 AM

    too phat yo….
    yoo too phat…
    itulah dia… rentak Rap telah bermula di america pada tahun 1988…
    pada masa tu, LL Cool J dan lain2 lagi telah mainkan lagu nie…

    di Malaysia, 1991 tu adalah tahun perlahan yang bergerak ke arah Rap…
    di mana Vanilla Ice telah menawan telinga anak-anak muda
    1992, 4u2c, KRU, feminin, Res-2 dan lain2 lagi… (nana nurgaya)
    telah mengambil langkah dan menyahut panggilan RAP utk sebarkan irama rap di malaysia…

    aku pon terlayanlah irama tu, mmg layan beb… rambut mesti square la…
    hahahahaha lawak lawak…

  2. November 21, 2006 at 10:08 AM

    1993, menampakkan perkembangan seterusnya…
    di mana NICO telah munchul, kumpulan M’Steen pon ada…
    Krash Kozz (Hip-Hop) telah menawan duit poket ku utk beli tape2 mereka lah…
    gila layanlah.. Black Machine pon terus masuk diikuti dengan album KRU – reKRUed….gila gila…

  3. November 22, 2006 at 12:12 AM

    wah wah..ngak disangka abg axl rose layan hip-hop ya.. gue ingat beliau hanye melayan lagu awallah dondang nyanyian noraniza idris..gempak bangat!

  4. November 22, 2006 at 6:19 AM

    ya.. jangan sangka org lama nie tak tau hip hop brader…
    hehehehe…
    masa aku ambek SRP tu dah layan rap beb…
    seluar kasi besar bawah.. GQ….
    baju batek, sluar biru gelap hahahahaaaa

    sampai la awal tahun 1993, masa tu dah kurang sikit ke’GQ’annya… kembali seperti biasa la…layan rock balek la.. almaqlumlah tahun 1994 kan nk ambek MCE (SPM)…kena lah study sikit…

  5. November 22, 2006 at 9:50 AM

    salam,amien..
    kenal dak anis uitm…student library gak n konvo sekali ngn korang aritu…dia k/salam kt amien n dia dpt gak PNM…

  6. November 23, 2006 at 12:04 AM

    w’slm cik shina..
    wah, shina sempat lagi memberi komen didlm blogku ini ek?
    anyway, mmg amien kenal anis tu, baik budaknya..amien terima salamnya dgn menjawab w’slm..
    shina promote2 la blog amien ni kat dia, nanti org kasi komisen 20% key?
    orait shina, take care n gud luck in whateva u do..
    kami sumer kat sini mendoakan kejayaan shina sbg seorg librarian yg berjaya…

  7. November 23, 2006 at 12:51 AM

    anis mana tu? anis suraya ke? tunku anis marsella ke?
    menjawab salam adalah sesuatu yang wajibul runnah…

    oleh itu, jawab lah salem… elok lah tindakan amien nie.. seorang yang baik dan berbudi bahsa…

    officer sharyna yang dimuliakan, nanti kat PNM tu hang akan jumpa sorang mmber aku: master charles (malaysiana)… buatlah baik dgn dia… dia ok punya…

  8. November 23, 2006 at 1:10 AM

    master mana tu? master bedroom ke? grandmaster sexy ke?
    memberi komen dlm blog adalah sesuatu yang tak wajibul runnah…

    oleh itu, ikut suka ko la nak komen ke tak… elok lah tindakan axl rose nie.. seorang yang baik dan menggembirakan org ramai dgn komen2nya…

  9. November 23, 2006 at 10:16 AM

    Salam and thanks again for u all doa’ and wishes..
    Shina dah promote blog amien kt dia…ye dia baik….Rupanya ade story between amien ngn dia ye…Tp x leh cite kt sini…Biarlah rahsia…tak gitu amien??

  10. November 24, 2006 at 12:06 AM

    w’salam cik shina..
    story between me n her? ye ke?
    tak penah tau pun psl apa2 story, pepandai je cik shina ni nak mengkenenkan org ek?
    takpe la cik shina, kalau ada rahsia2 yg nak diberitahu secara private n confidential hantar la e-mail ke: amien_x7@yahoo.com.my.
    segala kekeliruan anda akan terjawab….
    sekian, terima kaseh (copy ayat Mr. Nandre)

  11. November 25, 2006 at 6:00 AM

    salam amien,
    sy just main2 je, jgn amik hati ye…

  12. pRiTa...
    November 30, 2006 at 9:52 AM

    saya salah satu pencinta toophat dari Indonesia. Ntah lah, setiap dengar lagu toophat saya serasa lahir kembali. Mungkin dalam wadah ini, saya bisa bergabung dengan para pencinta toophat di Malaysia terutama. Dan juga berbagi pengalaman dengan para hip-hop mania di mana saja…

    Salam Kenal….

    yoo… yoo… toophat… yo….

    hip-hop wanna be…
    toophat forever….

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