Changing The Game
Lineath Rajendran, Hip Hop music producer and rapper, is changing the game one beat at a time, revolutionising the hip hop scene in Singapore.
Article and Photos by Avril Sindhu
He produces, he raps, and he also represents the Grizzle Grind Crew. Lineath Rajendran is a talented 21-year-old aiming for new heights in the music industry. Having worked with ShiGGa Shay and producing theme tracks for the local box office hit, ‘Ah Boys to Frog Men’ and ‘The Lion Men’, Lineath strives to make Singapore’s hottest original hip-hop tracks.
It was the first concert he attended, and it was the famous band ‘Linkin’ Park’ that was playing in town. Lineath went for the concert and was amazed by the entire performance. “I was super blown away by the production and visuals. I came back home and told my mom I needed to learn music,” shared Lineath.
Little did anyone know that this concert would be the cannon that fired Lineath into the music world. He started attending guitar lessons, piano classes, and also music school where he learned the theory part of music. He then felt that he needed to go one step further and he started researching on how to produce music.
He was merely a Secondary 4 student who worked on a very simple and free music producing software that gave him a very long path to get to where he wanted. Lineath teamed up with some of the popular kids in his secondary school and he produced the music while the other kids rapped and sang. They uploaded the track on Facebook the next day and it immediately received 100 to 200 likes, an equivalent of going viral in 2009.
Shortly after, the newly formed boy band split and went separate ways but Lineath was still passionate about making music. But, he had one problem. “I could make the music, but I had no one to sing or rap for me. So I tried to rap.” That’s when Lineath realised his newfound strength. He made a CD with his music and he started passing it around to everyone he knew and wanted to know, including the famous ShiGGa Shay.
It was clear that Lineath’s music would catch the attention of hip-hop artist ShiGGa Shay, and discussions about collaborations began among the two. “I still remember the first meeting was in 2012. I met ShiGGa at Bugis Plus and he bought me hot chocolate, I still owe him for that,” Lineath reminisced.
Lineath’s music influences include Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Black Sabbath, after listening to them while he was growing up. He was not exposed to rap until he was in Primary 4, when he first heard Eminem’s ‘Encore’ album. “I was blown away,” said Lineath. He did his research about all the other rappers in the industry then and followed the hip-hop scene.
His decision to go into the hip-hop scene in the music industry was a well thought out plan. Lineath described the music industry in Singapore to have three sub-categories: indie music, rock music, and the ‘small and tiny’ hip-hop music. He didn’t consider pop music, explaining that one would need a proper budget and publishing. “Hip-hop is all about the grind,” Lineath said. “People want to see that this guy started from nothing, people want to see progression.”
Striving to make it in the industry wasn’t easy for Lineath. He thought back about the time when he was still a student in Nanyang Polytechnic, enrolled in the Diploma of Aerospace Systems and Management. After he graduated, he committed all his time into building new relationships with other professionals in the music industry and making a name for himself. “It was serious. Every night and every day, I would be working with different artists,” he said. Working with artists wasn’t always the easiest, he mentioned. “The artist will keep going, he will be yapping away and suddenly the inspiration will come through the song at 5am and you have to continue even though you’re dead tired. And the next morning, you have to go and clean up everything. But I enjoy doing that.”
Lineath is excited to see upcoming artists in the hip-hop scene in Singapore, such as Mediocre Hair Cut (MHC) Crew, a group of three students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s Diploma of Mass Media Management. He thinks back to the time when hip-hop was not known and local artists had to work hard to get their music out into the scene. “In 2012, the only hip-hop acts were ShiGGa Shay and Lion City Boy, and it was very tiring for them. They had to do something to make people know that there is something called ‘hip-hop’ in Singapore.”
To Lineath, being successful as an artist and producer in Singapore is not about being the best or being at the top of the game. He feels that for the hip-hop culture to be recognised in Singapore, all artists in this scene have to work together to make things happen. “It’s never about who can reach the highest peak, it’s about who can run the furthest race, so let’s all run together,” says Lineath.