Expect to hear Chinese Rap on your radio soon..
China has never been known for its rap music - China + Rap = oxymoron.
There has been underground movement of sorts, but it's never gone near the mainstream and when it has it has been watered down. This has however changed and we are about to see a bunch of Chinese acts going internationally mainstream - with China's "Higher Brothers" leading the charge, it's a very exciting change - and there are two reasons behind it.
Back in January, in response to a rash of Chinese Rap acts appearing on reality TV shows in China, memos from the Chinese State authority were sighted that said TV programmes could no longer feature any hip-hop content or artists. It said that "All programmes shall adhere to the "four notes" …"Do not use celebrities with low moral values; do not use those who are vulgar and of low taste; do not use those whose thoughts and style are not refined; and do not use those who are involved in scandals."
This was in response to a reality TV show "The Rap of China" where rappers were becoming popular, and the "gangsta rapper" GAI, suddenly left the reality show he was appearing in, which was called "I Am a Singer"
So that's the background. Clearly there is no better a way to make something cool than banning it, and Chinese rap is now flourishing, but there is another reason. There is a collective in the U.S called 88 rising that promotes Asian acts, and they have done a great job of bringing Higher Brothers to the attention of the media, starting with the promotion of Higher Brothers "Black Cab" back in 2016 and they gone on to create a number of collaborations with U.S based acts to help build relevance.
Oh, and then there's the music, its really good, It's direct, unashamed, fun and clever.
The track that really rose Higher Brothers to prominence at the beginning of the year was "Made in China". Its a big long ode and message to the rest of the world which basically says everything you value, "WE MADE"!
It's funny, a good point, and has resonated with the chinese youth and beyond, they played it at SXSW and it went down a storm and next month they will be touring the US - and I think will go to mainstream airplay soon - so expect to hear Chinese rap soon - it's a beautiful thing.
Higher brothers "Made In China" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rILKm-DC06A
88 rising label https://88rising.com/