Six years in the making, Ah Boy is finally ready to release his first solo album Tayoutetan (Chinatown) on August 3. The album includes collaborations with 18 singers, including Tun Tun (Example), Kyo Kyar and Cindy. Timeout had a quick chat with the hip hop star and his pop singer wife, Cindy, at the album launch.
Timeout: Why did you call the album ‘Chinatown’?
Ah Boy: I’m both Myeik and Chinese. J Me said ‘you are Chinese, so use a title connected with being Chinese.’ So this is why I chose it.
Why did you choose a career in hip hop over other types of music?
I like every sort of music and am a big fan of bands like Iron Cross and Big Bag. I don’t know why I stuck with hip hop. When I started to get into the music in 2001 I was the only rapper in my school. Everyone in the school looked down on me.
You took six years to finish the album. Did you have many difficulties in releasing it?
Yes, of course. During my first recording I didn’t know how to sing. All I knew was that I was really happy being in a recording studio. When I sang, I would be in the wrong key so I had to repeat over and over again verses that should be really easy for a rapper. But everything is okay now thanks to J Me and Kyat Pha who have been patient and great mentors.
Do you think that hip hop has changed you?
I’ve changed a lot. I love the music so I’ve tried to understand the exact styles of hip hop artists. In the past it wasn’t easy to buy hip hop music so I had to order stuff from abroad. But I have gradually realised that appearance is not that important and the most I need is microphone skill. So my rapping style has changed and I hope to present my new style in the upcoming album for VIP, my family band.
How do you find being married to a famous pop star?
I’ve performed more than 50 hip hop concerts in Yangon so I now have my own fans here. But when we go to other towns, some fans say ‘It’s Cindy’s husband’. That really annoys me. I’m a hip hop singer and I don’t want to be popular because of her. So it bothers me but I don’t take it too seriously. Maybe I’m not as well-known but I try my best.
You have a baby daughter. How’s life as a Daddy rapper?
I never thought I’d get married so early. But I did and I have a daughter now. I think I’m more mature than before. I feel that I have to make a good living for my family so it’s not easy to spend time and money like in the past.
If someone said to you ‘Hey, Ah Boy, how have you become successful so quickly’, how would you respond?
I know myself how much I sacrificed to make it in hip hop. No-one can succeed easily. Although if there wasn’t J Me, there wouldn’t be Ah Boy in hip hop because he always helps me.
Timeout: How did you help Ah Boy finalise his album?
Cindy: He’d been making the album for so long and I suppose it was my duty to help him as much as I could. I helped him a lot.
How is it to be married to a person who shares the same career as you?
We don’t have any disagreements. At present, I can’t perform like before but we always go together to his performances.
How does it feel to be a young mum?
I’m so happy. My baby daughter is nearly six months old. She’s my first baby so I’ve had to learn a lot from her grand-mothers. I hope I can manage everything when we have more babies. I want to have twin boys.
What d o you think of your marriage?
It’s our life and very important to both of us.
Ah Boy will hold a special promotion of his album including a group perfor-mance on August 10 at Happy World. The artist will sign autographs for his fans.