from “Meet the MCs shaping South-East Asian hip-hop”, DJ Mag:
Starting as a YouTube personality, Singapore-based Preeti Pls has recently started rapping. Almost immediately, she came under fire when she released a song admonishing the use of brownface used in an ePay advertisement: Chinese-Singaporean actor Dennis Chew dressed up as four different characters in the commercial, including an Indian man named K.Muthusamy.
Initially, in a country that is 76% Chinese, this seemingly wasn’t deemed problematic. When Preeti saw the lack of public reaction, she was incensed. Though the company apologised afterwards, Preeti spoke with VICE after the commercial aired, citing racism as a personal and creative concern. “It’s been a lifetime of shitty apologies from people who have painted their face brown,” she said. “It’s been so exhausting. I wasn’t going to let another shitty corporate apology go.”
Along with her brother, Subhas, Preeti Pls remixed Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fuck It Up’. The song quickly went viral: discussed by celebrities, politicians, and the police; on websites, in TV interviews, and on social media. In turn, the Singapore government’s Infocomm Media Development Authority gave Preeti three hours to delete every trace of the video online before detaining her at a police station. Her laptop, phones, and hard drives were confiscated. Eventually, Subhas and Preeti were given a two-year conditional warning, after finding themselves in the middle of a firestorm of publicity.
Through all of this, Preeti’s talent as a rapper shone. The controversy put her talent into the spotlight, moving the image of her away from satire towards a more serious sound. Right now, she’s working on her production skills and is determined to take her music outside Singapore. “I think it’s important to have rap from South-East Asia that actually represents our experience and is authentic to who we are,” she tells us. “We have stories to tell.”