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Inspired by the critically-acclaimed musical, we reimagined how a local version would pan out. IMAGES: INSTAGRAM/@HAMILTONINTERNATIONALTOUR (LEFT), @THELIONCITYBOY

What If Hamilton Was Made In SG? 5 Pitches For A Local Historical Rap Musical

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know that Hamilton is one of the most critically acclaimed musicals of this generation. Since its premiere in 2015, it has entered the cultural zeitgeist, thanks to its revolutionary blend of theatre, R&B, hip-hop, jazz and Broadway. Not only did it introduce one of the lesser-known Founding Fathers of the American Revolution in Alexander Hamilton, it catapulted Lin-Manuel Miranda into worldwide stardom.

As a fan of rap and history, I had to experience the show live when I found out the international cast of Hamilton was going to put on a 7-week run at the Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Theatre. TL;DR… the hype was worth it. Hamilton was AMAZING! I even managed to drag along my girlfriend, who had no clue what to expect going into the show, but who ended up becoming a fan afterwards.

“I’m just like my country/I’m young, scrappy and hungry.” I couldn’t help but relate My Shot’s famous refrain to our own Little Red Dot, and to reimagine Singapore’s historical events via the same rap musical format as Hamilton. Despite our relative youth as a nation, we have an inspirational story of independence that we can call our own. Even more so, we have a burgeoning local hip-hop scene with talented rappers who can distil these historical moments into show-stopping performances. Here are my 5 pitches for local musicals that should get the Hamilton treatment.


Elevator Pitch: Rap retelling of Sir Stamford Raffles’ life and founding of modern Singapore

Starring: THELIONCITYBOY as Stamford Raffles

THELIONCITYBOY is a homegrown rapper, producer and songwriter. He is no stranger to composing songs about Singapore’s political figures. He is best known for the insanely catchy rap tribute to our former President Halimah Yacob, aptly titled “HALIMAH” as well as “HRLY - Harry Lee”, his homage to Lee Kuan Yew. There’s no one better to play the eponymous Sir Stamford Raffles in the vein of Hamilton, than the multi-talented wordsmith.

Title: The Price of Peace

Elevator Pitch: Set in Japanese-occupied Singapore during World War 2, it centres on Chinese resistance fighter Lim Bo Seng and his tragic death as a POW.

Starring: Shigga Shay as Lim Bo Seng

Singapore rapper Shigga Shay is no stranger to big stages, having performed in multiple National Day Parades. He is also hugely proud of his heritage, regularly infusing Hokkien and Mandarin in his songs, such as LimPeh and Lion City Kia.

Most recently, the hip-hop artist is trying to make inroads into the Chinese music industry as the first Singaporean to enter The Rap of China, which is a reality TV competition series that looks for the country’s next rap star.

With his multi-lingual lyrical prowess and tough-as-nails demeanour, he could easily portray the toughness and reliance of a war hero like Lim Bo Seng.

Title: The Battle of Bukit Candu

Elevation Rap: Rap narration of Lt Adnan’s Malay Regiment & their last stand against the Japanese

Starring: Fariz Jabba as Lt Adnan

Fariz Jabba is known in some circles as the Chris Brown of the Singapore R&B and hip-hop scene. The younger brother of comedian Fakkah Fuzz, he would seem at first glance to be more at home crooning earworm melodies and gliding on the dance floor than depicting a heroic war hero like Leftenan Adnan.

But then again, Andrew Garfield acted in both Hacksaw Ridge and Tick, Tick… Boom! So I’m not saying it’s impossible. This would be an epic story of a troop of young Malay men fighting/rapping with honour while making their last stand against the Japanese at Bukit Candu.

Title: 1965

Elevator Pitch: The story of Singapore’s independence retold in rap throughout a history-altering calendar year of 1965

Starring: Zadon as Lee Kuan Yew

Who else can forget that iconic scene when Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew broke down in tears on national television when our island-state was separated from Malaysia and suddenly found ourselves facing the prospect of independence?

Now, imagine that whole scene as the pivotal climax in a dramatic, hip-hop Gangster’s Paradise-style number. I’ve got goosebumps already just thinking about it.

Zadon would add charisma and flair to the role. Not only is he an amazingly talented singer and rapper but he is also one of the best beatboxers in the game. Having cut his chops in the Music and Drama Company, he knows what it takes to deliver a heartfelt performance that resonates with a local audience.

Title: The Life & Times of S.R. Nathan

Elevator Pitch: Singapore’s First Indian President

Starring: Yung Raja as S. R. Nathan

Most Singaporeans know the late S. R. Nathan as a former President of Singapore. But did you know he led a pretty eventful and amazing life, from leading the Straits Times to willingly being held hostage by terrorists (legit, go read up about it!)?

He was a beloved figure in the Tamil community. It’s fitting then that a rap narration of his life should be performed by none other than Tamil rap superstar Yung Raja. He is one of biggest names in the Singapore hip-hop scene, collaborating with the likes of Snoop Dogg and A. R. Rahman. His music was even played on the Jimmy Fallon Show at one point! With the street cred and talent to match, he is a shoo-in to play the former President in a Hamilton-style musical.

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