When I was young, I grew up listening to Malay songs. In fact, I like it very much that I still remember some of the lyrics of the legendary bands such as Search, Wings, XPDC and Alley Cats. In the mid-1990s, slow rock ruled the Malaysian airwaves. But somewhere around 1992, there was a group band dared to be different with their distinctive blend of pop, R&B and hip hop. KRU which consists 3 brothers: Norman Abdul Halim, Yusri Abdul Halim and Edry Abdul Halim - introducing hip hop and rapping in Bahasa Malaysia.
[KRU is an acronym for Kumpulan Rap Unggul (Unique Rap Group), but it is also the Malay spelling of the word "crew". Though it is pronounced "K.R.U." and not KRU. Source: Wikipedia]
Starting from just a small boy band, now KRU had became a big company in media production. In his interview with Malaysian Business magazine, Norman Abdul Halim, the president and CEO of KRU Sdn Bhd always looking to conquer bigger things, mainly in new media. He said, “The landscape for the media business is different than before… the younger generations are more IT-savvy… so it makes sense for us to focus on this new media.”
Unlike majority who want to settle for average in music industry, KRU didn’t follow the trend to become popular once and end up in ‘silent bush’. They seek opportunity to grow and always find ways to explore possibilities that most people thought it could not be done such as producing first local movie ‘Cicakman’ in extensive CGI and visual effects. Besides all the critics they received from this movie they take it as a challenge for them to go for more. (Esmond Kho reminded me yesterday about their upcoming movie Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, ‘I just can’t wait.’ he said.)
These 3 lessons that I’ve learned from KRU can be applied to everyone regardless of your religion, race, status or gender;
- Develop a creative thinking. When everyone is doing a ‘slow rock’, blend your ideas with ‘pop, R&B, and hip hop’.
- Do not settle for average; always looking for opportunities to grow in whatever you do. Say no to ‘boy band’ only, says yes to ‘company’.
- And lastly, don’t forget to help others on your way to the top. Norman said, “We must also look into students who are SPM dropouts. They might not be academically inclined but they can be talented visually and brilliant with computers.”