Arafah, or better known by her stage moniker Arabyrd, is a humble, down to earth and serene person that wowed us 30 minutes later by absolutely owning the stage that she so humbly claimed minutes ago. Many compare her to newfound fame Iggy Azalea, but Arabyrd just wants to be herself, provoking her own sense of energy, moves and expressions just the way she wants to under the light. Off the light though, her demeanor plays down and she breathes a light sigh of relief from exhausting her senses for the crowd.
Having opened for Diplo a few years ago changed the game for Arabyrd as it pushed her career to a whole new level giving her the exposure and presence she needed to plant her feet in the scene. Completing a short stint in Europe, Arabyrd came home to work with the likes of Sonaone and our very own godfather of Malaysian Hip Hop, Joe Flizzow. When asked who was her favourite rapper to work with, her response, with no hesitation, was Sonaone. To quote, “That boy has got something up there (as she points to her head) that’s just different.”
Since then, Arabyrd’s career was bolstered to a whole new level where people took notice of her presence and agreed that she was here to stay. These collaborations created an avenue for her to work on her passion, which was music and that propelled her career in the local scene.
Hailing from the Eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak, the 30-year old rapper fought a hard battle to get to where she is today. Her ultimate goal is to provide a platform for Sarawakians to show their talent, which is “crazy good”. Arabyrd says that every time she goes back, she sees new grafitti work all around town and meets new people that have amazing talent that more often than not, gets lost in the clutter of KL’s big city life. She shares with us that this amount of talent cannot be contained in one place and people from major cities in West Malaysia will and have to slowly take notice.
The opportunity to build this platform recently presented itself in the form of No Black Tie – agreeing to host a monthly showcase of local hip-hop talents. The recent opening night saw a full house backing a strong line up of local talent that consisted of Tactmatic, R.A.S.H and local legend Reefa. Naturally, Arabyrd headlined the show to no disappointment – nearly tearing down the roof with her set.
Expect a raving year from Arabyrd in 2015 cos if you ain’t heard of her, you need to educate yourself and to quote the lady herself – “if you’ve never heard of hip hop, get outta here.”
Words and photos by Roshan Menon