Local rapper Altimet has chosen girl group De Fam to perform his hit Bunga at the upcoming finals of Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL).
“I chose them primarily because they have a good track record of performing. AJL is a songwriting competition but the live telecast is still an entertainment programme,” the 40-year-old, who recently chose to retire from performing, talks about the reason behind his decision.
“Secondly, I want to bring about a bit of change to AJL. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing rappers but we haven’t seen female rappers performing at AJL.
“If the guys can rap, the girls can rap just as well, if not better than the guys.”
AJL is a prestigious annual song competition which honours composers and lyricists. At the end of the night, one out of 12 songs will be crowned Best Song.
Historically, there have been a number of songs that weren’t performed by the original artiste on the AJL stage such as Terukir Di Bintang. Originally performed (and written) by Yuna, Aizat took up the mantle and Terukir Di Bintang was awarded Best Song in 2013. (Yuna had an overseas work commitment at the time of the competition).
“We’re very excited, we didn’t think we’d get chosen. We thought at first we’d be singing with him, not replacing him,” says De Fam member Azira Shafinaz.
De Fam is a hip-hop and R&B trio, comprising Cik Manggis, Sophia Liana and Azira, whose 2015 debut single #Supergirls put the group on the map.
Altimet says he didn’t need to audition the trio for the job. “I see them perform all the time. I know what they’re capable of. I know if you give them a major stage like AJL, they can reach their true potential.”
Azira says they are well aware of the responsibility they’ve been entrusted with and plans to do the song justice. But De Fam’s interpretation of Bunga will be markedly different from Altimet’s.
“We don’t want to be compared to Altimet. He chose us because he wanted us to bring something new and different to the song,” says Sophia.
Indeed, the biggest question in the audiences’ minds is how the song will sound like, seeing it is originally helmed by one performer instead of three.
“We want the true essence of the song to come through but we also want to present it in a fresh way.
“Instead of having one voice, now you have three voices. There are things that you can do with three voices, that you can’t do with one voice,” Altimet says, adding he is very involved with the process of developing the new arrangement.
Altimet is optimistic about the possibility of seeing more female artistes in hip-hop.
“It’s a question of evolution. This has traditionally been a male-dominated genre, but it’s changing. There’s a global trend of having more female rappers right now and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches Malaysia.
“I can’t think of a better place to kickstart it than at the biggest event in the Malaysian music calendar.”
Post-AJL, Azira teases De Fam will be releasing a new single some time this year.
As for Altimet, he will still be very much a part of the music industry, but focusing on his work as a songwriter.
“I don’t think I can stop writing songs. I’m going to keep writing and whether or not it gets used, that’s beyond my control.”
The finals of Anugerah Juara Lagu will air live at 9pm on Feb 3 on TV3.