Myanmar’s second generation hip-hop singer and
rapper J-Me has recently become a father for the third time and, a reformed
man, went on to release a new album Ah-mwyay-sar ah-myay-khan (Heir). He was
just 14 years old when he joined the hip-hop music world and now, at the age of
32, this is his third album after Ko-bawa-Nae-Ko (In My Own Way of Life) in
2007 and Bawa-Ye-Neibban (Paradise in Life) in 2012.
This third album name means a lot about ideological ways
of thinking and life for sons or daughters who will enjoy inheritance in cash
and kind or reputation from their parents. He especially focuses on what kind
of genius a child has had since born.
Sitting comfortably in an office at his father’s house and
appearing to be in a happy, fresh mood, the rapper said, “There are different
stages in a man’s life. Their level of maturity depends on how he goes through
these stages. There might, however, be some stages in life we cannot
successfully grow through.
In life, one is born already having a sort of genius
to become a photographer or artist or a nation’s leader or something like that.
But despite being born a genius, if he or she has no value on the particular
abilities, skills, good heart and attitude required for him or her in the
position where he or she is, they cannot become a genius.
many children a father has, a child cannot inherit traits from their father if
they can’t win their father’s heart and approval. We can only rise to inherit a
sort of genius if we have the right level of maturity to deal with it. When I
know that I am now, I entitled this album “Ah-myay-sar Ah-myay-khan.”
Regarding his life back around 2012, the rapper was losing
his way and found it hard to stay on the right track, to lead a good life.
that time, some people in his circles lead him on the wrong path and he began
finding himself caught in unfavourable positions in never-ending circles of
bars and night clubs. Despite this, he tried not to lose focus on his
profession. But in 2013, thanks to his father’s encouragement, he determined
not to quit his career and to keep working hard on a new album to meet his
fans’ demand for his music. All the while, however, as with many other
celebrities, J-Me faced challenges.
“I was trying to focus on making this one album since 2014
but there was no real development. I felt this album should be the best of my
work but that period was a mix of productivity and ineffectiveness. What I was
making wasn’t a flow of music I liked. I wanted it to be something different
from my previous albums: I wanted it to be an upgrade from my previous work.
reviewed and remade all but three of the songs on the album. Only the lyrics
and melody made with Kyar Pauk remain as original. While making it, I faced
some challenges: I experienced some groups of people spreading gossip and
saying that I had done some cheating and was dishonest to them. I did not reply
and just wished for them to be able to escape just like me. People suffering
unhappiness inside tend to search for solutions through women and drugs. Some
think they want to be in the circle of wealthy people with expensive houses and
cars as a kind of prestige and ostentation. The perfect man needs nothing. They
were angry when I said I was happy just drinking water.
If you sing a song that
reflects your truth, you are really happy. Most artists know what I mean. I did
not care and was never shocked about people who left me as I knew that better
things would come to me in time,” said J-Me.
He sees his third album as a simple one and avoided
including anything controversial.
“People misunderstand the nature of hip-hop: it’s not just
a type of music used for insulting words or being against others or defiant or
rebellious. Hip-hop is a blessing on the community, and those who destroy their
own community are not the hip-hop musicians. That is why I made this album as
simple as I could.
Some might like it but some not, but I did my best and made
something I like and enjoy.”
One concept behind the album was to share an ideological
message focusing on the thought ‘cowards die and the brave stay alive.’
“With this album, I have escaped from fears and sins that
I have been running from all my life. Fear is not a sin. There are those who
feared ghosts in childhood and still fear them now but they might be most brave
during wars. We are sort of slaves who fear each other and it’s not easy to
change that. But I tried and can show that I escaped from fear.
I will not go
back to fear because there is no fear to go back to,” he said.
As one of the icons in Myanmar’s hip-hop world, he wants
to share some experiences and messages to the youth who are crazy about music
“I have not become a new J-Me in 2017 and 2018. Roughly
speaking, I have become clean in thought. Some say my change is connected to
religion but truly, it is not concerned with any one thing at all. The thing is
if you have freedom inside you, your appearance says you are free. If you live
in a village, you cannot see what is really going on in the village until you
look at it from the outside.
When I saw myself from the outside, I realized
that I wanted to upgrade myself. In 2014, I was finally able to escape drugs
when I got the chance to get closer to Jesus Christ as a Christian and then I
accepted that He is my savior. As mentioned in the seventh song on this album,
I escaped not only from a being a victim of drugs but from being a slave of
sin,” J-Me said.
Today, he sees the quality of rap music is much better
than before. In the past, rap music was made with a lot of software but now the
industry’s hardware is good enough.
At the same time, some musicians still tend
to follow the wrong route.
I say why they are on that track, I might be unfair. If you sing a hip-hop song
in an American style, it is wrong. They didn’t know enough and even copied
American-style singing and nothing improved in their career. Genius is inside
you, so see what you are best at and use it appropriately. The day you make
honest work, your will be known to the world.”