You’ve met the talented Singaporean rapper, Yung Raja, for our May cover issue. The 27 years-old artist who rose to stardom with his 2018 track Mustafa, garnering over five million streams.
To end the month of May which focuses on the ‘Young Wild Things’ pictorial, FirstClasse opted to honour and delve inside the mind of Malaysian-rising rapper, Asyraf Nasir, who revealed his love for the music industry, his sense of style, and we made him choose ‘this or that’.
Asyraf Nasir came into the industry after appearing on “16 Baris,” a YouTube cypher show produced by Joe Flizzow that attracted millions of views. He then soared to popularity after collaborating with award-winning DJ and composer, DJ Fuzz, on his song “Self Reflect” before securing a string of additional self-written tracks.
In 2020, he launched his debut single “Virus,” a song that poked fun at the Coronavirus outbreak and quickly racked up over 800,000 views. In 2022, Asyraf Nasir’s name became familiar to Malaysian Hip Hop fans when he made an appearance in the smash tune “Tak Sangka” alongside label mate Yonnyboii, which has earned almost 10 million views to date.
How did you eventually get into the music industry?
I was the first to actively come up with 1-minute rap content the moment Instagram decided to switch Video postings from 15-seconds to a 1-minute duration. The differentiating factor was that more than just a selfie-mode camera in my bedroom, my longtime schoolmate and friend, Nicholas, decided to make mini-music videos. So we’re talking about DSLR cameras with multiple locations and props. I didn’t call myself a rapper back then. I solely did it cause I wanted to create content, so my lyrics were thematic based on different festive seasons.
You have always embodied that ‘young, wild, and free’ personality. How did it come about?
I think for a long time I had lived with self-doubt and a lot of ‘what ifs’ in my head. Back in school I wasn’t the most ‘carefree’ person, just an observer with low confidence in bringing himself up. That somehow changed in my later years of putting myself out there online. So what if people think you’re “trying too hard”?
The point is you tried, gave a good run, and now you will never have to have that epiphany where your bitter older-self starts saying the ole’ “I could’ve done this’’. I think my outlook on life has opened up to really not having to wonder if what you’re doing will fit in or not. The truth is, if you don’t fit in with them, they are not your crowd.
What’s best to describe your fashion sense?
My outfits tend to be loud, because that’s just my energy as an individual. All the details from my oddly-shaped rings to my Spongebob-printed socks, are all the things I love, so I just translate that on the outside of how I feel. Tyler The Creator’s Golf Wang is a good idea of my taste in outfits.
What and who has always influenced you when it comes to this industry?
I have my holy trinity of rappers I look up to; Chance The Rapper, Aminé, and Tobi Lou.
If you could dress in one brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?
At this point in time, I would have to say Golf Wang.
How do you think the internet has impacted the music industry?
Massively. The internet has paved the way for so many new talents in today’s era and no one has a disadvantage to one another anymore. You are not restricted to putting out your creations only to certain platforms anymore traditionally. Since it is now an unstoppable wave of discovery, some may argue that the market is oversaturated with new artists that sound the same.
To that I say, so what? Originality will be the tool that sticks you out from the crowd so just be true to you. I think the standards overall for our homegrown talents have been amped up, so as a whole industry, we can expect to have a pool of quality musicians. Malaysia is ready to hit the world by storm.
THIS OR THAT:
A$AP Rocky or Kendrick Lamar?
A$AP Rocky. I relate to him more and he has proven to become a credible figure of contemporary fashion.
‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ or ‘Yeezus’?
Undoubtedly, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It has a cohesive sound with so many different elements that I love.
‘Keep Ya Head Up’ or ‘Big Poppa’
Keep Ya Head Up! This anthem embodies the outlook I have in life. You can have your downtime, embrace the fall, but keep that head up. And I have a strong appreciation and love for the women in my life, so lyrically from the first half of the song are words I really look up to. West Coast baby!
The Kardashians or The Hadids?
Kardashians! They are obviously the most influential family in the world, having stamped the biggest impact on the world of reality television, that it has greatly influenced the pop culture we know. They always have a place in the world of fashion, social media fads, and even the vocabulary we use referencing their mannerism.
Attend a party or host a party?
I love hosting. I genuinely love making people feel entertained, thrilled and just have quality time in the space I have carefully put thought into. What you give, you get back.
Eating out or ordering in?
I think it has to be eating out. Solely because of the quality of the food. As a foodie, the potential of your dish needs to be optimised as soon as they take it out from the kitchen. Dining in is the best way to do that!
Passenger or driver?
Driver I think. Similar to hosting a party, I aim to provide comfort to others. I don’t think I’m a bad driver, I’m quite cautious.