KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — His more than two-decade journey as an artiste witnessed Joe Flizzow’s sheer passion and perseverance, as he paved his own path to get where he is now, carving a name as a famous rapper and music producer in the hip hop music genre, both in Malaysia and abroad.

Through the ups and downs, the singer of the song titled Satu Malam di Temasek, who was previously part of the Too Phat group, Joe, whose real name is Johan Ishak, had to go solo in 2017 after his partner, Malique, disappeared because he was more comfortable moving alone behind the scenes, even though their popularity was at its peak at that time.

It was an unsettling time following Malique’s decision, which greatly impacted his life and artistic career. Still, this Johor Baru native’s love for the world of hip-hop strengthened Joe’s spirit to carry on, to continue pursuing his love for the genre, and finally, one success after another was drawn by this prolific man.

The lyrics of the song titled Apa Khabar, by Joe and SonaOne, became the first in the hip-hop genre to be crowned Juara Lagu in 2014. Joe was also named Best South-East Asia Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) in 2018. He also collaborated with Snoop Dogg in 2021.


Even so, not many know about the struggles that he had to go through to continue to remain relevant in the hip-hop scene until now, despite the various new names of rappers popping up in the local entertainment industry.

Because of that, Joe finally decided to document the ups and downs of his life as a musician and rapper in the autobiographical documentary, titled This Is Johan, which takes the audience to witness his journey, from childhood until venturing into the entertainment world.

The two-hour documentary gives his fans a glimpse into the life of this creative man from various perspectives, including family and close acquaintances, from his school days, before becoming popular, and also features his ups and downs in the industry, which can be used as a source of inspiration for fans and those who want to follow in his footsteps.


Joe said that he was happy after the filming process, carried out by the film production company, Mojo Films, which took about two years and six months, had finally managed to complete an interesting autobiographical documentary film with edited footage.

“The filming process of this documentary was supposed to take six months, but there was a time when the production crew had to fly to Singapore, and Bangkok, Thailand, just to get reaction footage from the artistes in these countries to say something about me.

“...and also the recording when I did a solo concert and competed at Anugerah Juara Lagu. Hence, we are not in too much of a rush to complete this documentary, because we want it to be viewed as the best script, and ensure that the storyline is accurate,” he said in a recent press conference.

Wanting the story of his career as a rapper to be produced while he is still around, with words coming out of his own mouth, Joe, who is also known as Mr President, does not want the story of his career to be told by a third party, which is usually made after an artiste has died.

“The narration of this (documentary) comes from my own narrative and not from a third person, like most artiste documentaries made after their death. Hence, at least I am telling stories about my work when I am still alive,” he said.

He also expressed deep gratitude for still being able to survive and produced songs, which can be therapy for some after going through a difficult life.

Meanwhile, the documentary director, Barney Chua, said that This Is Johan was his first experience, as well as for the production house producing a documentary film, as opposed to the company’s main focus of producing short commercials since it was established 17 years ago.

“The total original footage to produce this film is around 400 hours, and it is really difficult for us to put it all in just two hours.

“...the most difficult part is after Joe is no longer with Too Phat, (the second part) was Joe was really struggling at that time, and many people interviewed also didn’t know what Joe was doing then, but eventually we completed the filming and when I look back it’s all there, intact,” he said.

This Is Johan parts 1 and 2 have already premiered, and can be watched on streaming platform Viu. — Bernama