Kristian is a close friend of mine. We go to the same school and stay in the same hall. In the local rap scene, he goes by the name P_NEDA. His independent collective is called UGLY BOYS, consisting of a team of rappers, producers and videographers. I demanded an explanation from him as to why he called his label that though.
“It was actually a joke at first,” he said (I rolled my eyes). But as much as it started that way, it became a badge he wears with pride. The irony of it all, I thought.
They held their first-ever gig at Decline on 19 October, and the UGLY BOYS called it ‘One Night Only’. My school friends and I referred to Kristian’s Instagram stories to navigate our way from Aljunied MRT. It was about a 7 minutes’ walk, and we ended up inside an industrial building. The abandoned space had been completely converted due to the addition of a stage and lightings. The line-up certainly gave us a night to remember, and we went on singing “HOTEL HEARTBREAK” during supper.
P_NEDA’s music hits differently for me. Seeing him live for the first time made it clear that he was in his element, and it was rubbing off everyone in the best way. The lyrics he wrote and rapped came from a place we could all connect with.
“It doesn’t try to glamourise sadness or exaggerate it,” Clarice, our mutual friend added. “His lyrics sound like an inner monologue of many peoples’ insecurities and anxieties when faced with heartbreak, especially in his latest album.”
While most of us are friends-turned-fans, P_NEDA makes it clear that he wants people to turn up to his gigs because of their passion for his music first.
He said, “I never wanted people to go just because they knew me personally. To see so many people singing the lyrics—the same ones I wrote on the phone I use to text them… Insane.”