Hip Hop Makes Rapper with Muscular Dystrophy Feel Equal

Written by
Sya Taha
Content via AbleThrive Original
AbleThrive Original
Written by
Sya Taha

“I've been inclined to music ever since I could ever remember,” said Danial Bawthan, thinking back to his childhood memories of watching Eminem rap on MTV. “I was awe struck with the entire get-up. From then on, I was already leaning towards hip hop and rap.”

The 23-year-old wheelchair rugby player was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy – a hereditary condition where muscles degenerate over time – at the age of four. Although he was not able to play drums, an instrument he was deeply keen on trying, he channelled that interest into beat boxing and rhyming as a teenager.

“I first got started with beat boxing at the age of maybe 15 or 16. I was mimicking drums patterns solely because I love drums but, unfortunately, I'm not capable of playing. [Beatboxing] got better after years of practising.”

rapper with muscular dystrophy performs on stage

“I started writing rhymes during my secondary school days. I would share it with my classmates.” When he continued his studies at an Institute for Technical Education (ITE) at the age of 17, he started singing a cappella. “I had seniors who taught me few tricks along the way,” he smiled.

One day, curious to find out how to make music, he did an Internet search and found out that some songs were made digitally. “I felt like I had the opportunity to dive into the realm of sounds,” he said.

“I self-taught with YouTube and [through] trial and error. I had a recording booth and a workstation built in my room.”

Danial’s autodidacticism has been recognised by the local music scene. In 2015, he won Best Producer for a hiphop and rap event, Enter the Void Deck. In 2016, he performed live on television alongside local celebrities for the nation’s biggest fundraiser, the President’s Star Charity.

rapper with muscular dystrophy performs with celebrities

After completing his ITE education, Danial soon had his first two singles out on YouTube within a year. Currently finishing up an EP called ‘The Roll Out’, he is working on all aspects of the production of four tracks: composition, lyrics, performing and recording.

“There's no such thing as ‘blind music’ or ‘CP music’. There's only good music or bad music. Because unlike other things, music doesn't label you or put you in boxes. People think I'm [able-bodied] until they see me performing. Music makes me feel like I am like anybody else: equal.” 

Check out two of Danial's music videos below.


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