“The hip-hop scene is in good hands”
Singaporean hip-hop icon Sheikh Haikel released “So I Say What’s Up” with Charlie Lim, the first single from his fourth and final album.
‘So I’m saying what’s up’ finds Haikel with a heart on his sleeve, addressing an old friend and reflecting on how they’ve drifted apart – and, whatever their relationship is now. , Haikel’s willingness to speak and “say what’s upâ.
âOur relationship was very much based on music,â said Haikel. NME of the friend who is the subject of ‘So I Say What’s Up’. âWe did a lot of good and bad things together. We have changed moments in time, and we have stopped the clock before. Not really nice the way things endedâ¦ I hope he hears the song. He will know right away that it is him.
In the clip, directed by Zim Goodman, the duo together perform the melancholy, heart-to-heart song on an empty field. “Love it or lose it, don’t let me hang here / Forgive and forget, I remember what we had / Have all the moments we shared been lost, may I still call you a friend ? / Do I take it or leave it, so you won’t help me understand?Lim sings.
And Haikel raps: “Will always have a moment to talk about you / Tell them how good you were and the bad things we do / Let me see, would you have a moment for me / ‘Because the times we spent together were the better, so I say “what’s up?” ““
Watch it below:
It has been 30 years since Haikel marked the history of Singaporean music. In 1991, he and Ashidiq Ghazali won the Japanese music competition Asia Bagus like the duo Construction Sight, which has been hailed as Singapore’s premier hip-hop group. Catapulted into musical careers as a teenager, they were given huge sums of money as recording progressed and were trained by mind-blowing tutors instead of going through the Singapore school system.
It was a âfun life,â says Haikel, but as pioneers, Construction Sight was in a landscape where there was no organic hip-hop scene to be difficult. âWe rapped on costumes. We were rapping in front of our boss’s office workers, you know? No fans, no young people. Just run – ‘you’re cute, you’re talented, we pay you’.
Hip-hop in Singapore – and Southeast Asia in general – has grown tremendously since then, with rappers creating passionate fanbases and pushing boundaries; several labels, majors and independents, operating in the region; and artists developing their own idiosyncratic styles and flows.
This is why Cheikh Haikel has decided to take a step back from the rap game with this latest album (which has a title that he currently keeps close to his chest). âLooking at the people, boys and girls who are on the scene now, it’s in good hands, man. I can only see it take off even further from here, âhe remarks. âAnd we have to understand that times are changing. If you can’t keep up, stay outside and enjoy the show.
âWe had a lot of fun doing it, we paved the way for them and it’s their turn to step upâ¦ Yeah, it’s time to take a step back from the hip-hop scene. It’s beautiful now, and it can only get better.
In recent years, Haikel has become better known only for entertainment (in addition to rap, he has also made forays into animation and theater, the latter notably in the 1996 comedy. Army of Daze). Many know him today as a restaurateur, who in 2017 partnered with Fatboy co-founder Bernie Tay to open Fatpapa’s, a halal branch of the burger restaurant, and two years later, Wakuwaku Yakiniku (Fatpapa closed temporarily in September, but will be back with a new restaurant concept, promises Haikel).
For Haikel, food is more than a business – it’s a way to bond and form community. He sees his restaurants as a way to feed the people who have supported him and his career. Haikel becomes moved when he talks about meeting fans in his establishments, among them the one who said that his song “Ode To My Girl”, from the album “For Sure Too”, prompted her to reconnect. his father after 30 years.
âI have my problems, like everyone else. But those moments are the kind you live for, you know? he said wiping away a few tears. “You sure have your stockings, but I meet the people who made it possible for me to be me and spread my wings, and I can thank them personally.”
Haikel loves to eat with people – which is what he did with Charlie Lim, which he raved about. He’s been a fan ever since a friend gave him a copy of Lim’s double EP “Time / Space”, and they later met at the wedding of Singaporean artist Sezairi. Lim was open to a collaboration, and when Haikel finally wanted to make it happen, he had dinner with the singer-songwriter and producer of âSo I Say What’s Upâ Flightsch to talk about the stories he wanted to tell.
Haikel, who has collaborated with SleeQ and Joe Flizzow (both on his 2010 album “10.10.10”), knows that he and Lim make a strange couple at first glance. “I just had to get Charlie to be [on] the first song, because of exactly that reason: the fact that people will ask, ‘why Charlie Lim?’ It’s a good start to the album, swan song, to say goodbye.
‘So I Say What’s Up’ is the first of four songs in what Haikel plans to release over the coming year, culminating with one last drop on his 47th birthday on October 10, 2022. This 10-song album will mark the end of a rich rap journey for Cheikh Haikel, who is filled with gratitude when he looks back on his career.
âI have played all over the world wearing the Singapore flag, but I have been allowed to be by my people, by the people. You are only as good as people say you are, and Singapore let me be me. They allowed me to be Sheikh Haikel, and I am very, very grateful to them.