By Shazwan Zulkiffli

Thousands of hip hop fans flooded The Bee Publika to watch their hip hop idols perform live on stage for the currently-prestigious, much-talked about hip hop-centric programme, 16Baris. The show, that is based on rapping in 16 bars, influenced many social media users to put on their own efforts to rap in 16 bars accompanied by backing tracks and has since became a phenomenon in the country’s music landscape. A part from the large turnout, broken doors and police sirens, here are 5 things we can learn from 16Baris.

  1. Malaysian Hip Hop gives us a reminder of its might

It’s given that the hip hop scene has never faded since Too Phat disbanded. Joe Flizzow carried that torch with Kartel Records that gave birth to so many successful products and campaigns including HAVOC, Altimet’s Kotarayaku and a platform for Sonaone to bloom. The prowess of the giants gave out an effective counter response to other alternative groups to rise up the ranks, including Rogue Squadron, Lawalah Familia, The Bat Cave, and other individuals like Gard and B-Heart.

Jin Hackman’s This Way Up and Raising The Bar also made their own marks in the scene, as This Way Up help paved the way for Airliftz to rise while RTB provided a huge space for legends and newcomers to chow down together – it was never to keep the scene alive, because the scene never showed signs of slowing down.

    2.The Bee is the prime gig venue

Many people who couldn’t get in the venue asked the organisers why The Bee was chosen to be the venue of the event. It’s simply because the Bee is the prime venue for live shows in KL. Whether the Rocketfuel and 16Baris team underestimated the crowd turnout or not, The Bee is simply strategic: affordable, equipped with a built-in stage and soundsystem and also probably the only venue of this caliber to provide both food and drinks. The Bee has even hosted international acts like the Temper Trap, Cigarettes After Sex, Neck Deep, Tennyson and The Vaccines.

     2. Hooligans exist in every scene

Whether you’re in the hip hop or the indie rock scene, hooligans will still exist. Like the unfortunate event that led to the mid-show cancellation of 16Baris Live where a number of people broke the door of the venue out of anger, this is not something new. From crowd killing to post-gig brawls, hooligans are violent regardless of genre, and these people should be dealt with in the best manner possible to avoid unnecessary casualties.

    3.Organisers should do more hip hop gigs

16Baris shows that organisers are able to make profit out of hip hop shows, considering that thousands of hip hops fans showed up for a show in a 600-pax capacity venue. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of hip hop shows around before 16Baris. Raising The Bar is still the number one hip hop showcase but Clumsygang and other new, independent organisers are gaining momentum. However, we need more organisers to set up events every now and then to meet the crazy demand for good beats and bars.

   4.The Prez is a genius

When Joe Flizzow first came out with the 16Baris trailer, everyone knew it was going to be a success one way or another – and good heavens, it did. Their first ever video received more than 600,000 views on Youtube and now, the official 16Baris channel has over 42,000 subscribers.

But what’s really interesting is how Joe arranges the lineup for the live session by balancing legends and newcomers: MC Syze next to Ashtin, Airliftz next to Altimet and not forgetting the Singaporean duo, Fariz Jabba and Yung Raja. The Prez didn’t just cherry-picked the rappers to his liking, but the selected few are the most-suited to perform in the first ever showcase. Whether making the show free and for all ages is a good decision or not, in the end the numbers don’t lie and it got everyone talking. That’s Flizzow’s magic.

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