ST Sessions: Rapper Shigga Shay uses Singapore lingo in his performances

SINGAPORE - He might have recently made his acting debut in the musical comedy movie 3688, but Shigga Shay is first and foremost a rapper, and one of Singapore's most prominent at that.

The 23-year-old rapper (real name Pek Jin Shen) kicks off the second season of live music video series ST Sessions.

This series aims to introduce to a wider audience popular local acts and bands, along with some international names that visit our shores.

Backed by DJ NashD, Shigga performs for ST Sessions, two songs off his self-titled sophomore album, which came out on National Day. The first song, Lion City Kia, was released in 2014 as a single and went on to top the local iTunes charts. The second tune, Red & Blue, features a chorus sung by The Sam Willows' Benjamin Kheng.

Watch Shigga sing about being born and raised a Lion City Kia, who uses local lingo to develop his rap art form.

Shigga, who is a member of local hip-hop collective Grizzle Grind Crew, has come a long way since his awkward beginnings as a 14-year-old mimicking the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls.

Watch Shigga talk about how previous generations of Singapore songwriters have informed him and how he intends to chart his own musical vision.

It took three years for the independent rapper to finish the new album and the result is a well-rounded piece of work that could have been made only by someone who grew up in the heartland, with an eye on the global, hip-hop world.

In the album, he raps in English and Mandarin and drops local colloquialisms in Hokkien and Malay.

His confidence has grown over the years, thanks no doubt to performances at major events like National Day Parades in 2010 and 2014 and mega concert Sing50 at the National Stadium on Aug 7 this year.

Serving his national service in the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company (MDC) has also taught him a lot about improving his showmanship, apparently.

As he told The Straits Times in a past interview: "Before MDC, I was just a rapper but my time there made me an all-round performer.

"Over there, I had to take a lot of classes such as vocal lessons and learn different types of dances such as retro, hip-hop and ballet.

"Doing ballet was difficult though, I don't think I'll be doing it again."

Watch more and connect with Shigga Shay:





ST Sessions official backline equipment provider: Ebenex

Full list of ST Sessions acts in Season One

List of ST Sessions acts in ongoing Season Two