When Kevin Lester decided to rap under the name THELIONCITYBOY, he also decided to wear his love for his native Singapore – derived from its Malay name Singapura, which means “lion city” – on his sleeve. For NME Radar Sessions, he performs two songs that demonstrate how he’s turned his music career into a showcase of Singaporean storytelling: ‘YAYA’ and ‘2 THE MAX’. Watch his live set above.
- READ MORE: Subsonic Eye, THELIONCITYBOY, Khally and Fariz Jabba – watch the NME Radar Sessions trailer now
THELIONCITYBOY is the second of four artists from Singapore who take the NME Radar Sessions spotlight this month, sharing how the country and their surroundings have informed their music and their lives. Joined by DJ Shai and Mr Boo, THELIONCITYBOY delivers his pumped-up performance of ‘YAYA’, a love song (originally featuring Benjamin Kheng) for an old flame from “the east side on the green line”, and ‘2 THE MAX’, a celebration of his own rap come-up in Singapore.
Check out his nighttime performance filmed at The Cage – an indoor football facility at Turf City in the north of the city-state that has seen THELIONCITYBOY and his friend while away many sweaty hours on the pitch.
‘YAYA’ and ‘2 THE MAX’ are just two examples of how THELIONCITYBOY has woven Singapore into his art. He will share more about his hip-hop journey – and, if you were wondering about The Cage, how his winding path led to a creative role in a local football team on the rise – in another video for NME Radar Sessions. Watch it here:
This season of NME Radar Sessions premiered last week with indie rockers Subsonic Eye, who performed songs from their album ‘Nature Of Things’ and told us more about their love of the great outdoors. In the coming weeks, hear from earnest singer-songwriter Khally and rapper Fariz Jabba, who will each perform and tell their stories for NME Radar Sessions. Keep an eye out!
This instalment of NME Radar Sessions was produced with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board’s SG Stories Content Fund Season 2
Want more NME Radar Sessions? Find the full series – both interviews and performances – here as new weekly chapters are premiered this month