Exclusive Interview: Hitz FM Top 10 Malaysian Hip Hop Couple Talks about Success, Being Asian and the Future of Asian Hip Hop Part II
We are back with part II of the interview. If ya haven’t read part I go read that ish rn. Malaysian Hip Hop artists Maruxa Lynd and Reckless Escapades have been cookin’ up some stuff since we last kicked it with them. Reckless started a new series on YouTube called, Behind the Beat and Maruxa has been sharing some of her favorite Filipino recipes on instagram. Ya might know that their songs ‘Say a Prayer‘, ‘In the Clouds‘ and Reckless Escapades’ latest single, ‘Call 911‘ has topped the charts on Hitz FM Malaysian English Top 10.
This talented couple ain’t stopping there. They got more hits coming your way as they plan to reach audiences around the globe.
Maruxa Lynd, you were in an alternative/ indie band. Why switch to hip hop?
MARUXA LYND: My teenage days were literally full of angst just like any other teen, but that was also the phase where I found admiration towards poetry/spoken words. Every time I was mad at my dad (don’t know why I even had issues with him) or when I’m having immigrant kid issues (trust me I had to deal with a lot of racist shit), I would write about it in my book and I write it in rhymes. I guess that’s why hip-hop was always close to my heart y’know. Cause to me hip-hop was and always have been poetry with beats.
Switching to hip-hop, it has always been on my mind but I never really had the opportunity cause also back then, hip-hop in Malaysia was not as big as what it is now. Back then the ‘IN’ thing was rock bands and I thought to myself that being in a band would be my stepping stone. That was also what my band mates said. They knew I loved hip-hop but they also understood my plans. So when I was in the band, I slowly collaborated with other acts to kick-start my solo career and the rest was history.
I did post spoken word vids on my personal YouTube around 2011 and did rap verse vids around 2017 on my Instagram just to see people’s feedback back then and I said to myself, “If I don’t do it now, I’ll forever regret it”. I did record a few songs back in late 2017 – Feb 2018 but they weren’t released.
Who were your music influences?
MARUXA: I gotta say the major ones would be Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Future, Drake, Qveen Herby, Tommy Genesis, Ty Dolla $ign, Beyonce, Doja Cat, Lil Debbie, Kali Uchis, Lana Del Rey andddd C Breezy!
RECKLESS ESCAPADES: My biggest influences in music are Drake, Young Thug, Future, Frank Ocean, Title Fight, Glassjaw, At the Drive-In. I listen to a all kinds of genres but mainly hip-hop, R&B and alternative rock.
What song are you binge listening to right now?
MARUXA: A lot of some RnB stuff but I got LSS on FKA Twigs – Holy Terrain atm. That lady never fails to impress me. I wish I was as cool as her. I’ve been her fan since LP1 came out in 2014. She’s just so ethereal I CANNOT!!
RECKLESS: Never Bend by 03 Greedo. Free 03 Greedo!
If you could collaborate with any rapper or producer, who would it be and why?
RECKLESS: I really wanna collaborate with Juicy J, cos he’s such an OG and I wanna soak up all the game he has as a rapper and as a producer/writer.
MARUXA: Now this might not be an answer that you’d expect but it is none other than DIPLO!! Aside from the fact that he is a motherfuckin dope ass prod that specializes in combining different genres into a booty poppin billboard topping song, he has always been my fave DJ/ Producer so if somehow the universe works in my favor, I’ll ink his name on my body IF that ever happens haha!
How does your Asian identity influence your music?
MARUXA: As a Filipino that grew up in Malaysia, I want to continue raising my flag as a Filipino and at the same time show the world that I’m proud to grow up the Malaysian way. I love both my Asian identities equally, FR. I like having to talk about Pinoy things in my music and I also like rapping in Malay. I certainly wanna continue reppin my two flags in the international scene!
RECKLESS: It informs a lot of what I do musically. I always keep my roots in mind and make sure to stay true to myself. The best thing I can do when making music is to be myself, be true to my experiences as an Asian kid from South East Asia. I’m proud of my Asian heritage. I’m a biracial kid, my mom is Chinese and my dad is Indian and they’ve shown me the best of what both cultures has to offer. I’ll keep doing my small part to represent Asians in music.
From your perspective, what is one difference between hip hop in Malaysia and hip hop in America?
MARUXA: In terms of context, we’re still a little conservative. We don’t really talk about guns or gangs, violence and vulgarity is sort of kept on the minimum. Like you wouldn’t really hear so much of cussing especially if the song was in Malay because the language is quite metaphorical.
When it comes to communication, the Malaysian culture is not quite the in-your-face / confrontational kind so we tend to express our music in a similar way. You won’t really hear songs that talk about fuckin bitches or anything sexual on a regular either like in the west tho it still exists (just not as prominent as in the west).
What do you think the future of hip hop for Asians look like?
MARUXA: Brighter, bigger and there’s definitely no stopping us, fam! Our various unique cultures and backgrounds add more color to the hip-hop culture because Asians will always put their cultural identity first.
For instance, here in Asia, it’s very common to incorporate Asian music sounds/instruments into a song and it would sound dope AF! See what the Keith Ape and Higher Brothers did for us! They remained true to their cultural identity!
And also, Asian hip-hop movements in the West definitely helped out a lot like what 88rising did and we know they’re onto something greater. As far as I know, in Malaysia and SEA countries like Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, hip-hop is definitely bigger than ever. Excited really for what’s to come!
Your song Say A Prayer was one of the top hits on one of the most popular radio stations in Malaysia, Hitz FM. How does it feel to have a top hit on Hitz FM Malaysian English Top 10 Chart?
MARUXA: Such a blessing and it means the world to the both of us because the song carries so much of meaning in our life as a couple. For people to continue putting it to number one for almost a month (we thought it would at least last for a week), that was big enough for us! So far, our songs after ‘Say A Prayer’ have been garnering attention from the station too cause not long after that, Reckless’ ‘On My Grind’ debuted, followed by ‘In The Clouds’ and this week, Reckless’ Call 911 debuted at number 8!
Anddd I get to tick that off my bucket list haha! Fam, I’ve been hoping to have a number one song on Hitz since I was a teen! I didn’t know how it would happen but God is amazing!
What are some challenges/ struggles you face as an artist?
MARUXA: There’s definitely a lot! It comes with being an artist but my biggest one/the thing that bothers me most is being taken for granted for being a female artist in the hip-hop scene. FR this shit still exists and it ticks me cause it gets the best of me at times.
When I release a song and I show too much skin, people comment that I’m using my ‘assets’ to my advantage and when I don’t show anything, no one really wanna fuck with it. I hate that. Like WTF you want from me?
I guess I just have to mute those sort of comments and just continue being me. I’m comfortable in my own skin but where I live in and just the region that I’m in, body shaming still thrives.
RECKLESS: Being independent means having to fork out our own money for promotions, we make the most of out of our situation and we have a very DIY mindset. But it would be amazing to have a 6 figure budget to spend on marketing! Anybody wanna be an investor for me and the artists on my label hit me up! Haha
What does success mean to you?
RECKLESS: Success is having the music connect and impacting people. If a song I made helps someone get through a rough time, or motivates them to go on their grind, then I’ve succeeded.
MARUXA: Gotta agree with my hubby! But to add to that, success is also defined by the level of growing up a person achieves. When you’re way beyond the things that brought you down, when you’re not fazed by the unnecessary and you achieve things you dreamed of through your own hustle, overcoming your own weakness along the way, that’s success.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
MARUXA: Be on the lookout for more solo and collab singles, more videos, more shows. Then mid way thru next year its gonna be time to drop longer form projects like EPs and albums. Hopefully we’ll get to perform shows regionally. Bigger fan base too! Hehe!
If you were a sneaker, what kind of sneaker, color/ style would you be? Why?
MARUXA: Out of all the questions, this has got to be the hardest! I’m not a sneakerhead but if I was a sneaker, I’d wanna be Off-White cause of it’s value $$$ and cause it’s a fashion statement. Nah mean? Haha!
RECKLESS: I would be the Nike Cortez in Black cos I’m versatile and I stood the test of time.
What’s your favorite food/s?
RECKLESS: Nasi Lemak with fried chicken. If you’re in NYC, try the Nasi Lemak in Laut (restaurant located in Union Square) or Nyonya (restaurant located in Manhattan’s Chinatown).
MARUXA: Fun fact, we are both foodies! We’d rather stuff ourselves with food than go out doing adventurous things! But when it comes to my fave food (s), best believe Filipino food is number one (shout out to SINIGANG and LECHON )!
Second would be Chinese food and then Malay/Indonesian/Thai food! I cannot live without chilli though! It’s a staple when I eat. Gotta have a tiny saucer filled with chili pepper soaked in soy sauce and also, the spicier the better! Hahah I’m too ASIAN! Oh oh BTW, I LOVE CORNBREAD!
What is next for both of you? What do you want your supporters to know about you?
MARUXA: We’ve got more music comin your way that’s for sure!! We’re releasing solo and collab singles within the next few months. We’re also open to collaborations with other artists around the world so just drop us a message on our social media if you wanna link-up and to our supporters, thank you for listening to our music! Shout out to Daasianhiphop for featuring us! Much love from us!
DAHH: Respect and shout out to Reckless and Maruxa for sharing their journey and thoughts. Make sure y’all follow them for new music. Check out Reckless’ new single, ‘Call 911‘
What do you think the future of hip hop for Asians look like?
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