Connecting people through his unique music identity: ABANGSAPAU

Hip-hop rapper ABANGSAPAU reveals the secrets behind his inspiring positivity and individuality.

  • 13 Mar 2023
portrait shot of abangsapau

ABANGSAPAU is inspiring others through his authentically Singaporean music and positive outlook.

With a unique approach to music, ABANGSAPAU is on a journey to connect people and cultures worldwide. This is his story.  

A treasure trove of food  

Like many Singaporeans, food is part of ABANGSAPAU’s DNA. 

“Food is a very big part of my identity and it’s one of my favourite things I love about Singapore,” ABANGSAPAU says. “There’s just a treasure trove of food across all kinds of cultures that you get to enjoy.”  

illustration of Singapore's melting pot of cultures with rice dishes

Singapore: a multicultural melting pot of rice dishes.

Rice has a special significance for the bilingual rapper because of his family. Two dishes that mean a lot to him are his late father’s biryani and his grandmother’s nasi jagung.  
“There would be some days where my father would impulsively decide to start making biryani, and we would have this huge pot of rice cooking at home,” he explains. “That will always be a core memory for me.”  
While, unfortunately, he didn’t manage to get his father’s recipe, ABANGSAPAU’s grandmother’s dish is something he can always look forward to. “My grandma made a recipe book, Resepi masakan Singapura: Chef Faridah Hanum, of all her dishes. Her recipes seem to taste better as the years go by.” 

abangsapau's grandmother, chef Faridah Hanum, and her cookbook

ABANGSAPAU's grandmother, chef Faridah Hanum, and her cookbook.

All in the taste  

The key ingredient in both homemade dishes is love, according to ABANGSAPAU. “There’s something different about a dish that was made by someone who prepared it with love,” he explains. “You can just tell.” 

In fact, a song about rice could one day become a reality. “If rice was a rapper, I would definitely have them on a song as a featured artist,” he says. “The amount of cultures that rice represents would mean it could rap in a ton of languages. That would be pretty cool.”

A deep-rooted connection  

“Rice is something that really connects everybody locally and internationally because it’s such a neutral and malleable ingredient.”  
This connection and unity is something ABANGSAPAU is proud of as a Singaporean. “It [rice] has deep roots to the past and is something that can bring a lot of people together,” he says.  
One memory that sums this up is when he was outside the Sultan Mosque one Ramadan. “I was eating with a few local Muslims breaking fast and some tourists were there as well,” he explains. “We were all sharing one big plate of rice, eating it with our hands.” 
Illustration of people of all cultures sharing a plate of rice

Togetherness: people of all cultures sharing a plate of rice.

“If that’s not the perfect encapsulation of what rice is all about and how it connects people across cultures, then I don’t know what is.”  

Chain reaction of positivity  

As a musician, ABANGSAPAU’s Singaporean identity is about attempting to document how to navigate life’s problems, and the inherent beauty within them. “I try to represent the voices of people who are either too tired or just don’t have the capacity to think about the things they want to say,” he says. 

“Sometimes people are just too exhausted and tired from the daily hustle and bustle to bother talking about some of the issues they face. I feel that’s my privilege.”  

Whether it’s feeling represented, finding resolve, or being inspired, ABANGSAPAU wants to create positivity through his music. His recent single “I used to dream” is centered around reconnecting with the inner dreamer that exists within everyone, accepting the frailty of life and embracing mistakes.

“I believe everything is a chain reaction. So, if it’s just one person that does one thing or is positive after listening or paying attention to my music, that is a chain reaction of positivity.”  
abangsapau on stage at a performance

A voice for the nation: ABANGSAPAU’s music is inspired by every day events.

Join the #UnitedByRice conversation and read more stories about the memorable moments shared over this humble grain here