Rise of Chinese Hip Hop

better than what you expect

Gabriel Lai
Jul 20, 2017 · 3 min read

Recently a reality TV show “The Rap of China” (中国有嘻哈)hit the airwaves in China. Subsequently began an explosion of hip hop culture in the mainstream that has been underground for quite some time. With known producers/judges in the show, people like Kris Wu, originally from EXO, MC- Hot Dog, a staple of rap culture in the Greater China area, and Wilbur Pan(潘玮柏) a pop-star during the early 2000s; naturally the show would generate buzz. Call it a ripoff of “Show Me The Money” from Korea but “The Rap of China” has put hip hop and rap on the the map in China. This culture explosion has been pushed by significant acts to eventually make hip hop a mainstream culture in China.

Kris Wu

Once upon a time part of the pop group EXO, Kris Wu has left and became an artist thats shows a very pop side of hip hop. Being part of the “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” cast certainly boosts his profile on the international stage.

Clearly polished because of record companies and being a pop star, Khris does not reflect the true cadence of hip hop culture. However there was an individual that stood out the most on “The Rap of China”. Self-proclaimed as “hip-hop man” (its really cringy, but people seem to dig it) on the show

His name is otherwise known as MC Jin

MC Jin

A legendary rapper among the Asian-American community, once known as the rapper that battled in “106&Park Freestyle Friday” and dominated for weeks. Now he finds himself in China participating in “The Rap Of China” showing an authentic flair of rap.

(fast forward to 1:20)

(106&Park days)

Higher Brothers

These guys were the main reason for writing this. As Asian hip-hop suddenly invaded the Internet in 2015 with “IT G MA” by Keith Ape, then spawned the Youtube channel 88rising which later brought “Dat $tick” by Rich Chigga. Higher Brothers were the next to hit the airwaves and all of a sudden gone are image of old attempts of Chinese hip hop. The authentic cadence and trendiness was new for an act from Asia. In a similar fashion, Higher Brothers have grown in popularity with cosigns from established artists and producers.

(production from Charlie Heat)

Needless to say they are currently the most well known Chinese group around the globe.

Masiwei (马思维)

Above highlights the sound of trap rap, but Hip Hop does not simply include Trap. Masiwei of the Higher Brothers used to stand out as an “Old School” rapper.

and more from others

Overall hip hop culture as a whole is growing in China, through the promotion of “The Rap in China” to the Internet culture that spreads ideas from across the globe. Even though at times the hooks or lyrics are really cringy, but the cadence ,the flow , and the authenticity is undeniable. Not expecting people to say that Chinese hip hop is great, but it is definitely better than what people expect.

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