Lion City kid

Lion City kid
Shigga Shay is acting in Royston Tan’s new film.

SINGAPORE - It might be hard to imagine him in tights but street-wise Singaporean rapper Shigga Shay took ballet classes during national service.

The 22-year-old, who completed his national service last month, said his time in the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company (MDC), where he served, taught him a lot about showmanship.

"Before MDC, I was just a rapper but my time there made me an all-round performer," the artist, whose real name is Pek Jin Shen, tells Life!.

"Over there, I had to take a lot of classes such as vocal lessons and learn different types of dances such as retro, hip-hop and ballet. Doing ballet was difficult though, I don't think I'll be doing it again."

The member of local hip-hop collective Grizzle Grind Crew is riding high on his latest single, Lion City Kia ("kia" is Hokkien for "kid"), an English rap tune about growing up in Singapore with Hokkien and Singlish phrases as well as verses from fellow rapper Lineath in Tamil and Akeem in Malay.

Like his multilingual rap single LimPeh released last year, his latest song topped the local iTunes charts and its video has clocked more than 120,000 views on YouTube to date.

The multi-talented rapper directed and edited the video himself, which features cameos from celebrities such as actress Patricia Mok and actor Dennis Chew, as well as singers and musicians such as Project Superstar winner Daren Tan and Alyph from hip-hop outfit Sleeq.

Earlier last month, he was also one of the artists featured at the National Day Parade, his second time as a rapper after first appearing in 2010's NDP.

He is busy working on his debut full-length album, set to be released next year, and will also travel to Los Angeles next month to record a song and music video with American rapper and YouTube star Timothy DeLaGhetto.

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