A hip-hop social media series that has aired regularly on YouTube over the past few years has caught the attention of rap legend Snoop Dogg.
The show – titled 16 Baris (meaning 16 bars) – was created by Malaysian hip-hop mainstay Joe Flizzow (real name Johan Ishak) with the aim of promoting the rap scene in Southeast Asia, with regular episodes featuring featured unknown talents from different parts of the region, namely Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Typically, the episodes were shot at Joe’s own hair salon in Subang Jaya, and saw unsigned rappers come together to freestyle in one figure, each with 16 bars to strut around.
The show’s success ultimately drew millions of followers and subscribers, with each episode easily reaching hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – of views, with spinoffs now taking place in regions like Australia, New Zealand and Thailand.
Incredibly, the show’s popularity has even managed to grab the attention of some very big names in hip-hop, most notable being iconic superstar Snoop Dogg himself.
On the morning of September 15, Snoop posted an Instagram story directly shouting out the show’s official profile, with its caption saying 16 Baris was an “dope show with unsigned international rappers.”
In the same story, he also added a link to an older segment of the show hosted on YouTube, which contained performances by Southeast Asian rappers Bunga, Noki and Wo Shi Jay.
Obviously, the scream absolutely delighted the show’s producers and a number of other hip-hop supporters in the area, including Joe Flizzow himself.
Soon after, the Malaysian rapper posted his own series of Instagram stories that showed a conference call involving himself, a few other prominent members of Def Jam Southeast Asia (which is the regional arm of the famous hip label). American hop), and Snoop Dogg.
In another story, Joe thanked the hip-hop icon for giving the show his stamp of approval and called the scream “the ultimate co-signing.”
Now it was unclear what the conference call’s rationale was, but such recognition from an absolute authority on the industry has undoubtedly rocked many local hip-hop fans. First, the Snoop-linked episode of 16 Baris immediately exploded in viewership, with many commentators claiming it was the superstar’s scream that got them there.
Then other news portals in Malaysia hoped for a possible collaboration between Snoop Dogg and local hip-hop artists, in hopes of a throwback to the days when Too Phat – the duo consisting of Jow Flizzow and Malique – had conquered international hip-hop with their smooth singles at the time.
Whatever the reason for the video encounter, it’s pretty awesome to see the regional hip-hop scene more alive than ever. Hopefully, shows like 16 Baris will only serve to spotlight more underrated hip-hop artists who aspire to be the next big thing.
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Cover image from 16 BARIS on YouTube and Battery.