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Hip Hop and Rap Music

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For the complete chapter, please download the PDF below

Also in China, hip hop is strongly associated with Afro-American culture, even though some of the influences are translated through Japanese and South-Korean artists. Nevertheless, more than any other genre, rap stresses its neighborhood and local environment.

  • Rappers express a pride in their local culture and comment on local issues.
  • However, the lyrics of hip hop are much more hybrid and localized than its music. Cross fertilizations with traditional and folk music genres such as kuaiban are rare, mainly because these folk traditions ‘rap’ in a very fast but nearly constant rhythm.

 

Recording artists

  • Hip hop, rap and r&b are central to the success Jay Chou since 2001. Chou is often criticized for not articulating clearly, but precisely his slurs enable him to avoid the problem that rapping in Mandarin Chinese can become monotonous because every syllable tends to be (almost) equally stressed.
  • Mc Hotdog is the most successful Chinese singer that self-identifies as a rapper. He broke through in 2001, appealing to youngsters with tracks about drugs, exams and urban ennui. Although he has famously eulogized his love for local girls, Mc Hotdog raps in Mandarin and stays clear from such sensitive issues as Taiwanese independence. Also his relation with mainstream pop remains (productively? comfortably?) ambiguous.
  • Other Taiwanese rappers, such as DogG and the group Machi rap in Taiwanese and are outspoken supporters of Taiwanese independence. The front man of Machi, Jeff Huang, was a member of Taiwan’s first hip hop group, L.A. Boyz. Since its begin in 1992 that group combined slick dance moves with a sense of pride over Taiwan’s success world-wide. The band members grew up in America. Jeff Huang’s brother, Stanley Huang became a successful solo singer after L.A. Boyz disbanded in 1997.
  • The rap duo Softhard introduced hip hop to Hong Kong in the early 1990s. The rap metal group LMF (Lazy Motha Fucka) has a longer career (from 1993 to 2003 and again since 2009) and stirred more debates. Whereas cantopop generally employs a highly stylized, poetic kind of Cantonese, LMF addresses listeners with their street language, full of foul expressions (cukou) and wordplay. Also in terms of subject matter they align themselves with the Hong Kong working class. This was not always well received by the (middle-class) music media and audiences also remained divided. Some of the members of this ‘music collective’ as they call themselves, also have recorded noteworthy solo material and side projects, including Mc Yan and DJ Tommy.
  • Edison Chen (since his 2004 album) and the somewhat silly group FAMA (since 2002) are two examples of Hong Kong artists that have been commercially successful with a hip hop sound. Both these artists have recorded albums in Mandarin as well as Cantonese.
  • In 2001 Yin Ts’ang was the first mainland Chinese hip hop group to sign a record deal. Three of the four members of Yin Ts’ang come from North-America, but the group rapped in Mandarin Chinese and eulogized Beijing. Since then a small scene has emerged, with groups such as Longjing, Xinjiekou and Dragon Tongue Squad. 

 

In recent years, the huge success of South Korean popular music further promoted dance moves and dress codes based on hip hop among general audiences.

For the complete chapter, please download the PDF below

In November 2012 the website www.hiphop360.cn went online. Adminstered by Dutch hiphop artist Deams, this website aims to be the prime platform for the hiphop world in China, including links to lifestyle, mixtapes, new artists, chinese venues etc.