SINGAPORE - Malaysian duo Too Phat may be best known for bringing Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles together on the single and music video for Just A Li'l Bit, which featured US rapper Warren G.
Joe Flizzow and Malique Ibrahim were also behind the 2001 hit Just A Friend and Dua Dunia (2005), which featured Siti Nurhaliza. But since 2006, Too Phat have been on a hiatus.
Flizzow has been flying solo, releasing an album, The President, in 2008.
Now, ahead of the release of a Malay-language album, due in November, he'll be performing at the MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia at Sunway Lagoon, Kuala Lumpur, this weekend, alongside Blurred Lines hitmaker Robin Thicke, hip-hop quartet Far East Movement and hot K-pop newcomers Exo.
It's exciting stuff, but Too Phat fans need not worry that the group is finished.
Speaking to LOUD over the phone from Kuala Lumpur, Flizzow referred to the break as an "undefined hiatus". He remains optimistic that the hip-hop duo will come back "some day".
Said the 33-year-old: "We're still very close friends and I met him a month ago when I paid his family a visit.
"Our families are still very close, especially Malique and my mum, so when people say Too Phat are not on good terms, we just laugh at it.
But Flizzow assured LOUD that despite the long hiatus they've had, the duo isn't dead
"I hope it won't be too long from now till Too Phat hit it off again. For now, we're planning to get back in the studio together next year."
Hard at work
Flizzow, who claims he will never work in another group besides Too Phat, has been hard at work on his hip-hop and R&B label Kartel Records, which he started in 2005, and his solo career, touring different countries - "25 cities last year alone" - for an array of events.
MTV World Stage is set to be one of his biggest shows yet, and Flizzow said he's planning "an all-round explosive show for the fans".
He said: "I'm very appreciative of MTV for allowing me to perform at such a huge event.
"When I started out 14 years ago. I wouldn't have dreamt of performing on the same stage as these acts at a venue that's just two minutes away from my neighbourhood.
"I'm not going to let the fact that the gig will be aired live in 156 countries affect me. I'm taking extra steps to make sure that everything is delivered at 110 per cent, from the DJ to the dancers to the featured acts (from Kartel Records) that will be appearing on stage with me for my 25-minute set."
The Live Cut premiere of MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2013 will air at 10pm on Sept 11, with the full show following on Sept 21 at 11.30am on MTV SEA (Starhub Ch 533).
When asked if one of those acts will include a surprise appearance by his long-time music partner Malique, 36, he laughed: "I can't tell you who will be appearing because then it won't be a surprise any more, would it?
"I can tell you that I'll be having guests for sure. But, if you know Malique well enough, you'll know he won't be there."
What is certain is that he will be featuring the first single from his untitled upcoming album in his set.
After that, Flizzow hopes to hit the road to promote the album.
He said: "After the release of the album, I hope to host a tour in Malaysia, and we're in talks with a record label in Indonesia.
"We have some great fans in Indonesia and since it's a Malay album, it would make sense to release it there too."
When asked if he has plans to include Singapore in his upcoming album promotional plans, Flizzow said: "Of course! Singapore is like my second home. When I say I'm touring at home, Singapore is there on the list right next to KL.
"Even before Too Phat became famous, we've always had steady support from the Singapore scene, and I still work closely with the likes of Sheikh Haikel and (street dance crew) Radikal Forze.
"Singapore definitely has an influence on the Malaysian hip-hop scene and I'm taking my music there, for sure."
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