Hidden in the vast forest of randomness on YouTube, all it takes is some digging to find some well thought-of, properly produced and directed Malaysian music videos.
Initially, our idea was to come up with a list of best Malaysian music videos as a whole but we soon discovered we’d be doing absolutely no justice to a lot of videos.
So instead, we’ll be splitting them up according to genre instead and for starters, here’s our list (in no particular order) of what we consider to be some of the best dang Malaysian Hip Hop music videos – with insight into the production and conceptualization from some of the artistes and directors themselves!
Kaka Azraff, Noki, Loca B – ‘Gila’ (2020)
Kaka Azraff, Loca B and Noki from K-Clique really dropped a bomb with this goosebump-inducing single that would very likely leave you wanting to have a listen again. We know we were certainly hooked and it’s easily one of the most memorable locally produced music videos of 2020. We almost can’t fault it – the meaningful lyrics, the breathtaking view… and just looking at the comments, many others share the same sentiments.
The video was directed by Adriana Tunku. A name that you’ll soon realize (if you haven’t already), pops constantly when it comes to really kick ass music videos.
Dose Two – ‘Fine Wine’ (2020)
The song is an ode to the women in our lives and the accompanying music video perfectly depicts that. Shot over a full day at Janda Baik, QBe of DoseTwo tells Gendang that they were very conscious to work with a woman director from the get go. “We felt a celebration of women should not only be presented in the song but also in the ideation and production process.”
We got in touch with the said director, Amani Azlin, who shared with us a little about her journey into music videos. “I’ve been working as a photographer/creative director for the past two years! After shooting the cover artwork for a friend, she decided it would be a great collaborative project to work on a music video together. This friend is our local talented singer Lunadira. She gave me my first music video project and ever since then, I’ve found the fun and excitement in storytelling via moving images. Nowadays, all I want to do is direct music videos!” she excitedly tells Gendang.
Her first attempt was Lunadira’s ‘Stuck With You’.
For DoseTwo’s ‘Fine Wine’, Amani was provided the song and lyrics along with the idea and their thought process behind it which included an expression of their interest in incorporating some traditional Malay batik designs for the visual elements.
“If you listen to the song, they talk about their views, reflection and relationship with women. One thing I knew was that I had to feature a variety of them including shapes, colours, backgrounds etc. The experience of being a woman is the key point that I focused on while brainstorming and conceptualising. The passing of knowledge and magic between women through generations was the whole concept that we decided to pursue for the mv. Intuition and a woman’s gut feeling is out of this world and I wanted to hint at that as well,” Amani tells us.
“Being a woman myself, I looked inwards at the themes and conversations that I personally experience and tried to apply that into the story. After discussing with my stylist, a good friend of mine as well as an inspiring artist herself, we realized that this concept was definitely very relatable and applicable to the universal experience of being a woman — learning/ gaining knowledge and basic instinct from our mothers/aunts/sisters etc… which was the whole concept for the Fine Wine music video,” she continues.
Jin Hackman – ‘2018 Malaysian Rap Up’ (2018)
Take someone who is lyrically blessed and hook that person up with the folks from Netflix who obviously know how to produce kick ass videos and Jin Hackman’s ‘2018 Malaysian Rap Up’ is what you get. From the Malaysian Tourism logo, crispy rending, nasi lemak burgers, the 14th General Elections and of course, a whole lotta Netflix show plugs. We wonder what he’d have to say about 2020? It’s been 2 years, Jin. We’re still hungry for more.
Balan Kashmir – ‘Start That Thiruvizha’ (2016)
If you’re looking for a music video which does an amazing job at representing the beautiful, rich and vibrant Indian culture of Malaysia, look no further than Balan Kashmir’s ‘Start That Thiruvizha’. It was his first proper music video release, he tells Gendang, with a proper crew, a team and evidently, an amazing direction. “I didn’t want a typical video with cars, girls, skimpy outfits, in a club and all that. I wanted to do it like a Holi festival.”
“I wanted to embrace the Indian culture a little more, coming from Malaysia. It took a month of planning with so many considerations like the dancer choreography, we had to source out that old school Ferris wheel but the production team did an ace job at sourcing out all the necessary elements in the video. They really went out of their way,” continues Balan.
Here’s a fun fact: there’s a scene where Balan is getting his hair cut by an uncle and he was actually just a random curious guy who came over to watch the shoot from the estate. “We saw him and saw his misai was damn dope, so we gave him a Zara jacket and he nailed the part,” Balan tells us.
Also, the Bharatanatyam dancer is actually a student of the legendary Ramli Ibrahim.
This is one video that will undoubtedly go through the test of time. The vibrance, the colours… it’s a proper video that does a lovely job at showing the beauty of our Indian culture – with a banger of a song to complement it all.
SonaOne – ‘Bomba’ (2020)
Remember Adriana Tunku? Well, she’s behind Sona One’s ‘Bomba’ as well.
“’Bomba’ is about visualising Sona’s personality, his world-view and perspective, as well as his unique upbringing; spontaneous, fun, and freeform. This project was a true collaboration between Sonaone, Dhani Illiani – the artist behind some of the art compositions, Always Saturday – the duo in charge of the VFX and 3D renders, and the team at Denhouse (Razlan the producer, and myself).
“We basically sat down with Sona for hours and just talked about his writing process, listened to some of his crazy stories, his bond with his cat Nemo, favourite childhood pastries, etc. From there, we built the compositions and the scenes just came together naturally. You can look at the music video for ‘Bomba’ as an uninterrupted train of thought,” Adriana graciously shares with Gendang.
Shot entirely against a green screen in just a day, some of you may have noticed the few scenes that were recreations of Salvador Dali paintings. And if you listened to his latest single, ‘Kuey Teow’ with Kidd Santhe, there’s a line where he says “everything ‘round me lookin’ like lukisan Salvador Dali’’ – we’re guessing he’s a huge fan. With the amount of effort and attention to detail put into the video, it’s unsurprising that post-production took about 2 whole weeks of tireless work.
Poetic Ammo – ‘Who Be The Player’ (2000)
Ah, who can forget that intense, sci-fi’ish character introduction at the start of the video? Yogi B points at the camera and goes “Bringing noise like thunder” and that’s about the point most people lose their shit. Half way through, they’re speaking a new language and at the end comes a huge revelation. Released in 2000, this highly entertaining music video was refreshingly ahead of its time, especially when it came to locally produced music videos.
Unfortunately, our sleuthing skills came short when trying to dig further on the production and team behind the video but we do know that (unsurprisingly), Poetic Ammo’s music video for ‘Who Be The Player’ bagged the Best Music Video award at the 2000 AIM awards and shall forever remain a timeless classic.
Luqman Podolski – ‘Sorang’ (2019)
While our general perception of Luqman is this absolutely-all-the-time-funny guy with an impressive collection of wigs, this song captures and in a way, sheds to light, another side of Luqman Podolski. “He’s the kind of guy who has a lot of depth, very introspective and reserved in real life, but at the same time is already establishing himself as a funny online personality. So it’s really about capturing these two contrasting sides of Luqman in a way that respects him as an artist, as well as the music,” Adriana (yes, that Adriana again) tells us.
Oh and the “ghosts” in the music video all have different personalities and some of the wigs used were customised to mirror the actual hairstyles of the extras who played the role – as well as a nod to Luqman’s liberal use of wigs in his skits. He loves wigs, ok?
More importantly, the three goldfish (aka stars of the video) were named “Pol” “Dol” & “Ski” by the Prod. Assistant and he took them home after the shoot. According to sources, they are now happy and living la vida loca.
Too Phat – ‘Anak Ayam’ (2001)
Sometimes, one should push their luck. And that’s just what we did when we asked around if anyone knew the guy behind this very iconic music video. His name is Peter Chin and yes, he did kindly respond to our questions with some really interesting insight!
During the late 90’s, when the music scene was getting really interesting with labels like Positive Tone coming up with brand new artistes, Peter felt it was the right time to get into his long-time desire of working on music video projects.
“This was also at that time that I had just finished my first 3D-animated music video for a Nasyid group called NowSeeHeart for their track ‘Damai Yang Hilang’. You know what’s funny? That was the last video that Tony Fernandes sat in for a final preview before he informed me, he was leaving Warner Music for an airline business venture,” Peter tells Gendang.
He started building a creative production reel for himself through music videos and through some friends from the music industry, eventually ended up working on ‘Anak Ayam’.
Too Phat, as we know, were huge and were naturally a big deal to the Positive Tone family. “They were getting some serious attention to their music with their entry into english-based hip hop category in Malaysia. Positive Tone wanted to really get these guys out front so that sponsors will also take notice. When I heard the ‘Anak Ayam’ opening prelude from P. Ramlee, I thought that was pure boldness there and I was hooked to the track. The executives decided to have me hang out with the boys just to see the chemistry and for me to really understand what the album means to them and get schooled on the four elements of hip-hop. They wanted me to integrate these hip-hop elements; DeeJaying, Rhyming, Graffiti, and B-Boying into the video” shares Peter.
“I referenced the old PS2 logo and I then imagined P2 (representing Too Phat symbolically) with the ‘2’ replacing the ‘S’ design. So I pitched the idea of the whole music video being a ‘PhatStation’ video game challenge between Joe and Malique. The original concept was actually a holographic silat warrior character as the gamemaster in the padi fields. Malique wanted Joe to ride a buffalo as a scene request as he wanted Too Phat’s image to be fun. Because we were limited by logistics and budget, I had to replace the gamemaster and the buffalo with an animated dinosaur in the mix. Why a 3D dinosaur? Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park was a big leap in believable CG dinosaurs and I wanted to also pay homage to him for the inspiration.
“The track had these sound bites that I thought would play out quite nicely with the dinosaur saying them as well. So the dinosaur solution was actually a gamechanger. Joe and Malique also contributed really cool ideas of what kind of resources they could help with. I created scenarios where I could feature all four elements of hip-hop but was also mindful of the whole sequence having a fast paced visual story flow. My treatment was to have it with strong colours and a lot of movement, whether it be from the performance, the camera or visual effects to create an energetic fun piece.”
Ah yes, who can forget that iconic raptor? Which, fun fact, was animated by Peter himself and the opening scene of Malique and Joe on a dinosaur was actually them sitting on a guy covered in a green matte suit at a public playground.
The shoot was spread across 22 hours and had cameos by Sazzy Falak, Natasha Hudson, Ferhad, Radhi Razali, Rashid Salleh and the whole thing was shot using a BetaCam camera instead of film!
Know of any other music videos you feel we should check out or deserves to be in Part II of this list? Hit us up in the comments!