Prolific recording and performing artist, bi-lingual lyricist, published book author, radio host & producer. The self-proclaimed Reggae Ambassador of Indonesia, Ras Muhamad has relentlessly and ceaselessly spread the message of Reggae from the aspects of culture and history throughout Indonesia and to the likes of South East Asian regions.
Indonesian-born and raised, educated in New York City for over a decade-long, Ras Muhamad born as Muhamad Egar aspires to re-introduce Indonesia on a global scale, to put back “on the map” specifically in music, arts and talents that Indonesia has to offer to the world. With a career that spans a little over a decade ago; as of July 2014, Ras Muhamad steps into the international scene with a brand new album, his fifth studio album entitled “Salam” produced by Germany’s Oneness Records.
Ras Muhamad believes that through the power of music especially Reggae, people can share and learn of each other’s cultures through the message. To find similarities and common ground, setting aside petty differences and finally celebrating life and all its dynamics through music. Such as the core and heart of Reggae, it’s a universal expression and a message of love.
Even though hailing from a predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia has a vast diversity that prides in a rich multi-cultural, plural faiths, moderate, progressive and multi-ethnic backgrounds. Such as the National creed of Indonesia “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” meaning “Unity in Diversity”, Ras Muhamad as an Indonesian reflects his nation and upbringing through personal expression and song. Evident in his countless of tunes where he effortlessly is capable of switching diverse lyrical deliveries from English, Jamaican Patois and Bahasa Indonesia the Indonesian language.
Ras Muhamad musical influences other than Reggae, Ska, Dancehall and Rocksteady ranges widely from Hip-Hop, Indonesian traditional and pop music, Jazz, Metal and World Music. Besides Bob Marley, his Reggae “heroes” are Lee Perry, Peter Tosh, Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Sizzla, Garnett Silk Gregory Isaacs and a very long-list of others. Lyrically, he draws many inspirations also from Hip-Hop icons such Rakim, KRS-One, Nas and Wu-Tang. If a listener would have listen closely to any of Ras Muhamad’s tune his rhyme structure has subtle undertones and akin to a Hip-Hop lyricist. As he once stated that the first artists he heard when he reached New York as a child in the mid-90’s were Buju Banton, Wu-Tang, Shabba Ranks and the Fugees. To simply put his vocal and lyrical style is that of a HipHop emcee molded by the spirit and energy of Sizzla Kalonji and Garnett Silk.
Not just active in the Reggae Culture, Ras Muhamad challenges himself to collaborate with other genres in the Indonesian music industry. To express himself as an artist and give the “Reggae breath” to other forms of music is challenging to an ever-growing and evolving artist. Predictability, clichés and being generic is not in Ras Muhamad’s vocabulary as a form of expression. To give a short instance, he collaborated and recorded music with Indonesian Pop Icons such as Glenn Fredly , Tompi and Element. Indra Lesmana, a jazz legend in Indonesia also had experience in working with the Reggae Ambassador of Indonesia. Reknowned, Indonesian Punk Band Superglad also collaborated with him in 2013 for their album. Ras Muhamad doesn’t stop there, countless collaborations with his Reggae “brethren” in Indonesia can be heard. He even lent his voice to Malaysian artists such as the R&B crooner, Nadhira and the Rock band PopShuvit. And naturally obvious, he has recorded a handful of songs with HipHop artists such as the most popular rapper in Indonesia, Saykoji.
His first nationally distributed album “Reggae Ambassador” in 2007, heavily experimented with Dancehall riddims. Ras Muhamad wanted to show a underexposed aspect of Reggae culture to South East Asia, the Dancehall culture. Ras Muhamad was the first of its kinda in SouthEast Asia, exposing the music industry to Dancehall Reggae music. In 2009, releasing his 2nd album “Next Chapter”; he continued on his duties as the Reggae Ambassador by collaborating with Norway’s Admiral P, Kenya’s KaSimba and the Malaysian-based Senegalese King Lhota. Musically, the direction of the “Next Chapter” album was inspired by Sizzla’s “Praise Ye Jah” and “Black Woman and Child” album and the “digital Roots Reggae” productions of Bobby Digital.
In 2012, Ras Muhamad saw the release of his 3rd studio album “Berjaya” where most of his lyrics are in Bahasa Indonesia. 2013 was the year when he became the first Reggae musician to ever written and published a book, “Negeri Pelangi” or Rainbow Country. His book became a national best-seller.
Not just a performing and recording artist and also a writer. Ras Muhamad is a radio announcer and radio-program producer in one of Jakarta’s most popular radio station, Mustang88fm. “JamaicanSound” airs live every week, the Reggae Ambassador plays, updates, shares news, culture and historic values with his numerous amount of fans. He deems it as a responsibility like the duties of Mutabaruka and Sir Rodigan broadcasting of Reggae culture.
So forth, the Reggae Ambassador is armed with experience as of a veteran to step into a new scene. Hailing and roaring with his brand of Indonesian Reggae music to any part of the world.