Malaysian rapper represents Japan, performs in Paris

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian rapper Namewee has said previously that music has "feet" and that "it can take us to lots of places".

Last week, he found himself in Paris performing as a cultural ambassador - not for his country but for Japan. The 35-year-old Muar-born singer (real name: Wee Meng Chee) was tapped to perform his viral hit Tokyo Bon 2020 at Japan Expo 2018, sharing the stage with DJ Koo, leader of Japanese techno rave unit TRF.

The annual event showcases Japanese popular culture and entertainment, with its 19th edition held at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre from July 5 to 8, reported Malaysian newspaper The Star.

In a video posted on Tuesday, Namewee reflected on the universal appeal of music: "I feel that music is a magical thing that can take you from one country to another, and then from that country to yet another."

The 2020 in the title of the catchy pop song written by him refers to the year Japan will host the Summer Olympics. The five-minute music video for that song, released on his YouTube channel in November, has chalked up 30 million views.

Back home, the rapper has had run-ins with the authorities over his videos, with complaints from some people that he is not sensitive to others' religious beliefs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian rapper represents Japan, performs in Paris '. Print Edition | Subscribe