Independent rapper MC Syze talks about how his latest track ATCL is something that is close to his heart

MC Syze (real name Ashish Rajahser) first made an impact when he appeared on R&B group VE’s single called Message Girl in 2006.

The rapper then released his first solo track, Dancin’, which further propelled him into the public consciousness. He was also a familiar face in the local club scene up to 2014.

MC Syze told theSun that he first got into rap after he heard Vanilla Ice as a child.

“When I was in my first year in college, my friends said I could rap very well.”

At the time, he was slightly overweight, and when he told his friends that he was struggling to find a rap name for himself, a friend noted that “despite his weight”, he was a very good rapper.

“So I just switched the alphabet ‘i’ to ‘y’ and that is the story behind my name,” he explained.

“I have always been a rapper. I got involved in the club scene where I would host the nights along with the DJ. I was like a hype man MC, you know. I was doing it from 2006 to 2014. That was a very good way to make money.

“As an independent musician you have to hustle, and go through every nook and cranny for dollars and cents.”

$!Mc Syze’s latest singles Jatuh and ATCL started out as one song, but ended in two very different arrangements. – Courtesy of Roshan Menon

His career as a rapper has given him the opportunity to travel abroad, and he has also been back-up for Joe Flizzow (of Too Phat and Kartel Records fame) for many of his shows.

“That has taken me to places like Bangkok and Jakarta. We even performed in a maximum security prison in Jakarta!”

MC Syze has also been featured on Joe Flizzow’s hit barbershop cypher show 16 Barisan, in which his freestyle verse was considered the best in season one.

In February, MC Syze released Jatuh, a Malay song that not only featured him singing in Malay, but also rapping in that language. The song also features DeFam’s Sophia Liana.

Jatuh was initially an English song called A Thing Called Love. I wanted to try a different market, I just wanted to test the waters of a Malay market. I had already written [the English version] and so I approached (rapper) Altimet, and he helped me translate the English verses to Malay.

“After much discussion, I was advised that the song sounded very ‘one-way’, with the guy spilling out his emotions. So what about the female? That is when we hit on the idea to feature a female rapper, and I approached a couple of them.

“It was Sophia Liana who hit the spot. The whole song became a two-way conversation.”

On June 25, Mc Syze released the English version of Jatuh, which is called ATCL (A Thing Called Love). Although both singles initially started out as the same song in different languages, they ended up sounding different due to the musical arragements.

Jatuh was unique because it deals with the subject of depression, and how loving yourself will help you conquer it.

The subject of depression really hit home for MC Syze, as one of his close friends took his own life in the middle of May this year.

“It is kind of serious because a lot of people don’t know how to handle depression. I have been through depression, and I also found the cure which is supposed to be love.”

$!Mc Syze’s latest singles Jatuh and ATCL started out as one song, but ended in two very different arrangements. – Courtesy of Roshan Menon

MC Syze is also working with Singaporean producer Fauxe on his upcoming 13-track album titled Syze Does Matter, and Fauxe suggested a rearrangement for ATCL.

“He wanted to change the chord progression. He wanted to change the dramatic, cinematic feel into something alive that represents light.

“Fauxe played the same guitar and changed the chord progression and created a different riff. He restructured [the] chord progression and ... when I heard it I thought: ‘Wow!’”

MC Syze says the song’s entire vibe changed, and ATCL embraces joy more. “I bring light to the word ‘love’. I am saying love can cure depression.”

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