The king of Thai rap, Abhisit Opas-iamlikit aka Joey Boy, tells us the story of how he came to fall in love with hip hop and about putting on a new hat, that of director, for his new zombie movie, Gan Core Gad (in theaters Jul 21).

My childhood wasn’t as cool as people might think. I didn’t do many activities or make any trouble at school. But I did love listening to music, anything from pop to Carabao.

One day my mom took me to the ice skating rink. She wanted me to play hockey. I became pretty devoted to it, and was able to play at a national level.

Then I dropped out because I felt it wasn’t really part of our normal life. It’s ice skating, and Thailand is a tropical country. I also wanted to help my family, hockey skates were B5,000, and the clothes were more than B10,000.

Then I got interested in skateboarding. My close friend, who was rich, bought me a skateboard worth B5,000. He just did it because he wanted somebody to skate with.

It brought me into a whole new world and a new circle. I met so many friends like Tee or Khan who is now with Thaitanium. We did a lot of things together like dance competitions and wakeboarding.

Realizing I wanted to be a rapper was very sudden. One of my skateboarding friends, Carlo, asked me to listen to Peter Piper of Run D.M.C. and that was the first time that I heard hip hop.

I then tried to make my own music by writing lyrics and by being a DJ. Boyd Kosiyabong, who is my friend’s brother, let me rap in Somkiat Z-Mix’s song “Ta In Ka Ta Na” and even offered me a chance to be an artist at his Bakery Records, but I felt I wasn’t ready so I turned down the offer.

I went to Hong Kong to work as a DJ and visited the US for the first time as an exchange student. When I was there, I felt so happy. I was in the country where hip hop originated. All I did was skateboard and listen to hip hop.

When I came back I told my mom that I was going to drop out of school and be a rapper. She didn’t really believe me, so the only way that I could prove it to her was to be a rapper for real. No way back.

I went back to Boyd and this time he and his colleagues took me to tough auditions, where I had to rap in front of a crowd at Siam and go on stage at a concert at MBK Hall. People loved me so I got a contract and made several albums.

Now music isn’t just my career; it’s my life.

What’s brought me this far is the fact that I never throw away opportunities. And this time, I grabbed the opportunity to direct a film.

I wanted to try to make a movie because whenever I write songs, I always have a picture in my head. This time I can show what they are like, too.

Being a director is so hard. In Thailand, it doesn’t get you much fame or money, like being an actor or a singer does, but many people still love to do it. It’s the happiness of doing what you love. Those people are all my inspiration.

I have so many dreams that I want to achieve but I never make big plans on how to go about them. I just do it.

I want to be a billionaire. It would be fun. Money can’t buy everything but it can make things easier. You can do anything without worrying whether or not it would make a good living. And I would have money to help others who are in need.
I don’t care that people think of me as a playboy. People can’t distinguish between me and the hats that I wear. It’s just my musical persona and the press that brands me. If you compare me to other playboys, I am so inexperienced.

I think Bangkok is like a movie. Every time I walk the streets at night it’s like I’m on the set of a movie where I am the lead character.

The image of Thailand in Hangover II is something we Thais helped created. Hollywood doesn’t know much about us. They’re just like some journalists who are only seeing one angle.

If I could turn back time, I would want to do it all over again. It’s been so much fun! Now I am focusing on making my life as worthwhile as possible. Except for death, nothing can stop us.


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