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“It’s a win for everybody”: Yung Raja on being featured on Fallon, his latest release ‘Spice Boy’, and his new clothing brand Peace Oeuvre

“It’s a win for everybody”: Yung Raja on being featured on Fallon, his latest release ‘Spice Boy’, and his new clothing brand Peace Oeuvre

2021 has been a prolific year for rising star Yung Raja, and he’s only just getting started.

After lighting social media abuzz with his unexpected feature on American late-night show ‘The Tonight Show’ hosted by Jimmy Fallon last month, the rapper dropped an addictive single titled ‘Spice Boy’, and is now gearing up for his newest venture – his very own clothing brand that goes by the name ‘Peace Oeuvre'.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by YUNG RAJA (@yungraja)

“This is a brand that has struck a chord ever since we thought of it. ‘Oeuvre’ means art – it’s like a collection of art; like a body of work, and ‘Peace’ – in a body of work it has to be built off peace, right?” explains Raja, as he shows off his sweatshirt over a Zoom call. “The logo is such a universal symbol where I always wish is like me trying to tell you that I wish there's peace in your heart forever. That’s the symbol and it speaks deeply to me.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Peace Oeuvre (@peaceoeuvre)

Launched on 6 August, the brand’s first release comprises three t-shirts and a hoodie designed by Yung Raja himself. “I've been working on it for a couple of months with my team and it's finally launching. I'm so excited for it. It has all-round good energy, good vibes, very high-quality clothing.” 

The rapper showcased his multi-cultural roots in an addictive new single titled ‘Spice Boy’ – an ode to Indian actor Rajinikanth. Diving into a series of rhythmic rhymes where he raps about a ‘spice boy’ who’s “flyer than a kite, boy”, he once again delivers his signature mix of English and Tamil raps effortlessly. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by YUNG RAJA (@yungraja)

When asked about his expectations for the new track, especially after his success with past singles like ‘Mustafa’ and ‘Mami’ that have garnered millions of streams on Spotify and YouTube combined, Yung Raja’s response is: “There are bigger fish to fry.”

“These days, we move with faith and we don't have much expectations. We don't try to put ourselves in a space where we are looking to hit this number, that number – we will not do that,” he explains.

“We are just hoping for the best possible outcome, but even if it doesn't get the best possible outcome, we also get to understand why it didn't do well and then rectify the plan or rectify the mistakes in the next song. It doesn't stop here.”

Accompanying the new single was its zany music video which has already racked up 150k views since its release less than a week ago. The video features Yung Raja as a janitor who slips into a dream where he engages in a series of quixotic acts including fighting his boss in a sumo costume. 

The eccentric visuals and storyline are courtesy of filmmaker Jasper Tan, also known as Vadbibes, who’s worked on numerous music videos for local artists including Shye, The Sam Willows, Tabitha Nauser, and more.

“He is one of my closest friends in the industry. And he’s also been one of my closest collaborators since ‘Mustafa’ days. You know, it really helps when you're friends with the people that you work with. Because the process becomes something that is authentic, and you don't have to force or try very hard,” explains Raja.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by YUNG RAJA (@yungraja)

Elaborating on Tan’s quirky ideas, Raja looks back on when the filmmaker first shared his vision for the music video. 

“Like – ‘Did he just say that all my friends will be in the video eating spices?’” laughs Raja. 

“It puts us in a place where we don't feel comfortable with the idea as soon as we hear it. And that is fantastic. Because that's how you know that you're trying some things that your mind is not accepting straight away, which is great, because every time you get to do something that you don't understand immediately, that goes to show that it may be an original idea.”

Raja also scored an unimaginable feat last month – his track ‘Mami’ was played on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’. However, the unexpected feature received mixed reactions online as the song was part of a segment named ‘Do Not Play’, where host Fallon recommends a list of songs that he tells viewers to avoid.

“For me, I think I've always been blessed with a pretty positive disposition in life. This whole thing was one of the most unexpected things, most random events that happened in my life and nobody saw it coming,” explains Raja. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by YUNG RAJA (@yungraja)

“And on top of that, he introduced me as a Singaporean rapper, which I feel that he hit on the nail. He could have said Southeast Asian artists, demo artists. Asian artists, like all of these would have still been true, but it wouldn't have hit home as much. He said ‘Singaporean rapper’, which is so wild because I don’t know if everybody from America knows where Singapore is. There's a stigma, right? Where people mistake Singapore being somewhere else. They never know Singapore is part of Southeast Asia. And the fact that we got recognized on one of the biggest TV shows on Planet Earth and [I] was introduced as a Singaporean artist, it’s not just a win for my team. I think it's a win for everybody that's in this region.”

The late-night show host later followed and messaged Raja on Twitter, saying that they "loved that jam".

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by YUNG RAJA (@yungraja)

When asked what he had to say to those who had negative comments about ‘Mami’ being part of the controversial segment, the 26-year-old said, “What I would like to ask them is, how do you think they would even banter about you if they didn't know you existed? I mean, Jimmy Fallon knows that we exist, and we're here, we're doing music. And that is beyond our wildest dreams – we have never thought that it would reach that far. So I mean, this entire experience was a testament that artists from this part of the world – we can make waves."

"And we must have faith. That’s what we need for the scene to elevate.”

Watch the full interview here:


Listen to 'Spice Boy' below and leave your review on Hear65. 


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