Alif Abdullah on giving back to the hip-hop scene

Alif Abdullah (above) and Ahmad Syarifullah of now-defunct Sleeq will reunite to perform some of their old hits this Saturday.
Alif Abdullah (above) and Ahmad Syarifullah of now-defunct Sleeq will reunite to perform some of their old hits this Saturday.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Alif Abdullah and Ahmad Syarifullah (above) of now-defunct Sleeq will reunite to perform some of their old hits this Saturday.
Alif Abdullah and Ahmad Syarifullah (above) of now-defunct Sleeq will reunite to perform some of their old hits this Saturday.PHOTO: ESPLANADE

Hip-hop artist Alif Abdullah sees Raya Block Party as an opportunity to grow the scene

Defunct home-grown hip-hop duo Sleeq will reunite for one night to perform some of their hits at this Saturday's Raya Block Party at the Esplanade.

But instead of calling it a reunion, one of its members, Alif Abdullah, prefers to see it as an opportunity for him and his cousin Ahmad Syarifullah, Sleeq's other half, to give back to the hip-hop community and grow the scene in Singapore.

"When we were Sleeq, 95 per cent of the time, we were based in Kuala Lumpur. Now we have time on our hands to do this. I'm thankful that we can give back to the community in Singapore," says Alif, 27.

He is curating the event, which is free and also features performances by hip-hop artists from Singapore and Malaysia.

  • BOOK IT / RAYA BLOCK PARTY

  • WHERE: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Saturday, 7.30, 8.30 and 10pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.esplanade.com/pestaraya

Raya Block Party is part of the Esplanade's Pesta Raya festival, which celebrates Malay arts and culture through theatre, music and dance. It will be held at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

Sleeq, formed in 2005, have topped charts in Singapore and Malaysia with tunes such as Untuk Dia, which won the top Malay pop song at 2014's annual Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) Awards.

They called it quits last year, citing differences in vision and objectives, and are both forging separate careers, including running businesses outside of the entertainment industry.

Thankfully for Sleeq fans, the duo will perform some of their old material during the last set of the night.

Alif, who hopes to release his solo album at the end of the year, will perform his compositions as well.

Raya Block Party comprises three sets, which take place at 7.30pm (30 minutes), 8.30pm (one hour) and 10pm (45 minutes).

The first will feature popular artists such as Singapore rapper Akeem Jahat, Malaysian rappers Hunny Madu and Karmal.

These artists are part of Flow Fam, a hip-hop collective made up of about 20 artists from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, including the members of Sleeq. Flow Fam first performed at the Esplanade in 2006.

"It's been some time since there was a proper hip-hop show with a variety of acts. All the members have great acts, but we rarely perform on stage together," says Alif.

The second set, curated by Syarif, is dedicated to R&B, involving local singers who have an online following, but have not yet achieved widespread success.

Alif knows what it is like to be a struggling musician.

He says of his start as an artist: "In the beginning, we had to give out flyers of our gigs at polytechnics, it was like trying to sell tissue paper. Now, we hope to make Singapore a base for hip-hop."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2016, with the headline 'Giving back to the hip-hop scene'. Print Edition | Subscribe