Interview: SSK

Until recently the only local rap trio to come to JUICE‘s mind was the now-legendary KRU. But new editions SSK ain’t no pop. Short for Serius Selamba Krew, SSK released their much-anticipated EP RM Rap Melayu in August 2009. A well dope production with mad lazy hooks, its killer rhymes also happen to be in Malay. Part of the Rogue Squadron crew that has jettisoned into our midst MCs like Jin Hackman and Schizzow, SSK first came to JUICE‘s attention following their appearance on The Rebel Scum single ‘Bakdatang’. JUICE rolled out the tikar and sat down with MCs Saph and NBE and latest addition DJ Jocular, also of DJ collective Headshell Heroes.

Okay Serius Selamba Krew, explain yourselves.
It’s the way we write our lyrics and the vibe that you’d feel from listening to our songs. We are serious and selamba at the same time.

You’re a tight crew, there must be something you can’t you stand about each other.
Saph: DJ Jocular’s mouth. He talks too much. A DJ who talks too much….
Jo: Everything.

Yo, let’s not knock the DJ, the DJ is one of hip hop’s 5 elements. How important a part does it play in your music?
NBE: It’s important to make our songs sound complete. Jo’s doesn’t just scratch, he also produces beats and is the crew’s resident a$$hole. Turntablism also makes our performance more versatile and interesting. That’s what hip hop was founded on – two emcees and one DJ, num’sayin? DJs came first before rappers.

What was your first introduction to hip hop?
Saph: Too Phat’s Whuttadily. Yes I’m so lambat. (laughs)
NBE: Local internet forums like The Bazement and Divine-Aura.
Jo: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and hip hop videos on TV. The first hip hop video I watched was Kriss Kross. That was when we had Mega TV.

Props for producing a Malay rap record we can be proud of. How has the response to RM Rap Melayu been?
NBE: It’s good but it can be better. We have sold the album to friends and fans. Now we just need to push it so that more people can get to listen to our music.

What kind of radio airplay is it getting?
Jo: Sadly still not as much as I’d want. Call in people!!! Thanks!!!
NBE: It’s hard to get our music played by radio stations, which could be because we’re new to the industry. The only airplay we currently get is from XFM. Shout out to Adly Syairi for believing in us!

What is the most frustrating thing about the local hip hop scene?
Jo: It’s still a small scene.
NBE: Lots of people in the industry say support your local hip hop music and what not but they themselves don’t support it. If there’s no change to that, the hip hop scene will suffer.

The death of the CD is nigh. Or so they say. What say you?
Jo: I don’t know what the effect is. This is the first CD I ever sold.
Saph: We still print CDs because we want people to have something that’s physical.

In the last 2 years we’ve seen a lot of solid local releases. Which stands out most to you?
Saph + NBE: All of Rogue Squadron’s releases – Jinius At Work by Jin Hackman, The Wrecktifier by MicWrecka, Schizzowphrenic by Schizzow and yes, Malique’s stuff too. They need recognition!
Jo: Albums from Love Me Butch, Seven Collar T-Shirt, 40Winks, PureVibracion, Republic of Brickfields and Koffin Kanser. ‘Soul New Agenda’ is the bomb!

JUICE is the collaboration fairy, we’re here to grant you one wish, who will it be?
Jo: The Roots.
Saph: Primo! Now, that’s real hip hop!
NBE: Sage Francis and Atmosphere.

What film title best decribes your life?
Saph: Dazed and Confused.
Jo: Seniman Bujang Lapok.
NBE: Pirates.

If you were marooned on an island, who would you take with you?
Saph: Seth Rogen or Anthony Anderson. (Laughs)
Jo: WordsManifest. (Laughs)
NBE: My wife.

What’s next for SSK?
Jo: Cash pleaseeeee.
Saph: The album! Yes sir, we ain’t stoppin’ yet!
NBE: We will stay focused on making good music and spreading it to lots more people. All your bases are belong to us!

Check SSK at SSK’s EP RM Rap Melayu is out now at all record stores with soul.