Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

Taiwanese-American singer Miss Ko lives up to her rap

New York-born artist Miss Ko put on a smooth-flowing set with an easy, laidback vibe.
New York-born artist Miss Ko put on a smooth-flowing set with an easy, laidback vibe.PHOTO: ALVIN HO

Taiwanese-American rapper Miss Ko's first gig in Singapore is a testament to her love of the hip-hop genre

REVIEW / CONCERT

MISS KO: HERE COMES THE QUEEN

Esplanade Annexe Studio/ Last Friday

Hip-hop is pretty much a niche genre in Mandopop and it is one largely dominated by men.

So Taiwanese-American rapper Miss Ko knows she has to be an example for women out there.

She said at her first gig in Singapore: "We're just as equal as men and that should be celebrated."

She certainly embodied that equality with a set that flowed smoothly with an easy, laidback vibe.

Wearing shades and an orange-and-white checkered hoodie with her dreadlocks under a cap, she kicked off the evening with Follow The Rhythm.

It was the opening track from her debut album Knock Out (2012), which had earned her a prestigious Golden Melody Award for Best New Artist.

She had since gone on to put out two more albums and pen tracks for the likes of Mandopop queen A-mei - electro-dance track Jump In on 2014's Faces Of Paranoia, which she reclaimed here for her encore.

Mandarin is not the first language of the New York-born artist, but you would not know it from the way she rapped with authority in both English and Mandarin.

It was clear that she enjoys making music, from the wide smile and the way she moved to the groove.

She also promised to showcase a variety of hip-hop from "exercise songs to songs with attitude".

On tracks such as Slide and Started From Scratch, she had quite a workout as she moved about the stage and got the audience to move as well.

The party-meter was cranked up high when she did a medley of hip-hop classics comprising House Of Pain's Jump Around, Montell Jordan's This Is How We Do It and Bell Biv DeVoe's Poison.

She joked at one point: "Are your hands super tired (chao suan)? My new song will be called Chao Suan."

Concertgoers also learnt about her love for sneakers in the playful number, Athletic Shoes Centipede; and for fashion in Stylin, an English track she wrote in high school.

There were more serious moments as well.

Let It Go was about domestic violence and she wrote it so that those trapped in such a situation could "experience some hope and guidance from it".

Till Next Time was in memory of a friend who had died.

By the time she performed Queen Of Queens, the title track of her 2016 album, Miss Ko had warmed up the crowd nicely.

When she exhorted "hands up", it was as though they were hailing their queen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2018, with the headline 'Miss Ko lives up to her rap'. Print Edition | Subscribe