Chinese hip hop
|Music of China|
|Media and performance|
|Music festivals||Midi Modern Music Festival|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
Chinese hip hop (Chinese: 嘻哈; pinyin xīha) is a relatively new phenomenon; in Chinese music; “hip-hop in Beijing emerged around the year 2000 from African American culture, but it has been part of Chinese culture since the 1980s.” Some of the earliest influences of hip-hop in Beijing came from movies such as Wild Style (1982) and Breakin' (1984), which arrived via trade and travel with Japan and Hong Kong. The Chinese term for rap is shuōchàng (Simplified Chinese: 说唱; literally "narrative," actually the name of a traditional genre of narrative singing).
Origins and development 
The first DJ's in China to play rap on a daily basis were without a doubt doing so in 1984 at China's first club "Juliana's" in Beijing, as there were no other clubs in China at all and Juliana's was receiving monthly deliveries of records from London featuring labels such as Sugarhill, Tommy Boy and Morgan Khan's Streetsounds. There was NO club before this in China and it wasn't until 1992 that China got its first regular Hip Hop nights (Fridays and Saturdays)at Beijing's Kunlun Hotel (DJ's Florient Obesse, Carol Lo). 1994 saw the first nightly Hip Hop club open in China (DJ's Jiggz and Mel"Herbie"Kent) at Shanghai's "Broadway" in the port area. This was the first phase of HIP HOP in China and was developed by DJ's, Rap enthusiasts and real B-Boys.
No outside influence on Beijing or Shanghai's Hip Hop scene came from either Taiwan or Hong Kong because absolutely no dj's were playing Cantonese or Taiwanese rap in clubs, however Ultimix and Funkymix are without a doubt the source of rap's distribution and this was via Crossline records, BPM and again Juliana's.
The first Chinese rap song was by Harlem Yu (庾澄庆) of Taiwan in the early 80s. In the early 90s L.A. Boyz started a trend that spread into Taiwan and the rest of China. Early Taiwan youth rap groups like The Party and TTM were both underground and mainstream. In the late 90s Hong Kong's Softhard and LMF were influential though their Cantonese dialect was foreign to Mandarin speaking regions, while Taiwan's MC HotDog, Da Xi Men, and Da Zhi were more widely intelligible in mainland China.
When Eminem’s movie, 8 Mile, came out in 2002 the art of freestyling was popularized in China. Movies have played a major role in fostering the growth of hip-hop culture in China; from the music itself to dance, the art of graffiti and style of dress. “In the wake of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989, interest in hip-hop waned as the government attempted to revitalize reverence for traditional Chinese culture and socialism” (Steele, 2006) and “the government still keeps a tight hold on radio licenses” (Trindle, 2007). However, there was considerable uptake of "Dakou CDs" - “surplus CDs created in the West that were supposed to be destroyed but were instead smuggled into China and sold on the black market” (Steele, 2006). The Lab is a “free studio to foster hip-hop culture and teach aspiring young MCs about the types of music that don’t make it onto the radio” (Trindle, 2007).
Yin Ts'ang (隐藏) was the first group in Mainland China to sign with a record label (Scream Records 嚎叫) and release a full length album, Serve The People (为人民服务)(2002), which was co-produced and engineered by Mel "Herbie" Kent. It also contained China's first Jungle/drum'n'bass track, also written by Herbie. The pioneering four person rap group which consisted of MC Webber, Sbazzo, 老郑XIV, and Dirty Heff, continued on to make appearances at The 2003 Pepsi Music Awards, where they were nominated for Best New Rock-Rap Group and the China National Radio Music Awards, where they won Best New Group of 2003. In addition to full length articles by the LA Times, the China Daily, Music Magazine (China) and the NY Times, the group also made special appearances on CCTV-1, PBS, CTV and Stir TV (cable).
Dana Burton, also American, arrived in China in 1999, made connections at a club in Shanghai and in time was allowed to play more and more hip-hop in the club. Hip-hop began to develop a following at the club and eventually a new club was created to play only hip-hop. Since then more clubs playing exclusively hip-hop music have emerged (Foreign Policy, 2007). Burton also started the Iron Mic competition in 2001; an annual rap battle which encouraged more freestyling and less karaoke style performances (Foreign Policy, 2007). Burton recorded:
"The few rappers I met [initially] were rapping in English. I’d say, ‘Let me hear you rap’, and they’d just do a karaoke thing, repeating a few lines of Eminem or Naughty by Nature. As an American that was so odd for me; you can’t say anyone else’s rhymes, you just don’t do that. But it’s the culture here. They like karaoke and doing someone else’s songs." (Foreign Policy, 2007).
Chinese DJ V-Nutz (Gary Wang) notes: "I would say we don’t have a Chinese style yet. If you really want me to say, what is Chinese style, I would say it's young, local kids really enjoy Western things right now. Then maybe after 10 or 15 years, maybe they can have their own style." (Trindle, 2007). Hip-hop is often performed in English and many believe Chinese is not suitable; “people said, straight up, you can’t rap in Chinese, Chinese does not work for rap… Chinese is not suitable for rap music because it’s tonal.” XIV of the rap group Yin Ts’ang put it clearly. “I can tell you about what we don’t rap about: gangbangin', pushin' drugs, or the government, that’s a good way to not continue your career (or your life).” A big and important part of the localization of Chinese hip-hop “is encouraging Chinese rappers to rap in Chinese” (Trindle, 2007).
Rappers of Chinese heritage have achieved renown success in the United States, the most recent of whom is the Miami-born, NYs 106 and Park hall of famer Jin, who raps in both English and Cantonese.video Another Chinese American rap group was Mountain Brothers, based in Philadelphia in the 1990s; the group rapped in English. Florida's "Smilez and Southstar" under Trans Continental Records and Hong Kong-based hip hopper Edison Chen has also gained some popularity in the US.
One underground Chinese artist Hu Xuan recorded all of the tracks on his album in Kunminghua, the local dialect spoken in the area of Kunming (Go Kunming, 2007). "One rapper spits out words in a distinctive Beijing accent, scolding the other for not speaking proper Mandarin. His opponent from Hong Kong snaps back to the beat in a trilingual torrent of Cantonese, English, and Mandarin, dissing the Beijing rapper for not representing the people.".
As of 2011, popular artists and groups include N. Jersey Boy, MC Hotdog (哈狗帮), Sbazzo (from 隐藏), Young Kin, 噔哚 (Dumdue), 讲者 (Prosa), IN3 (阴三), Young Cee (from Bamboo Crew), 凤凰鸣 (PhoenixCry), Tim Wu, D Evil光光, AP Manchucker (满人), 老郑XIV (from 隐藏), MC Koz, Tang King (from Red Star), 天王星 (Uranus), 大狗, ABD, 大肆院, 龙门阵 (Dragon Tongue Squad), Sha Zhou (沙洲), JR Fog, Nasty Ray, 小老虎 (Lil'Tiger), the Uhiger minority group Six-City and the now-disbanded LMF to name just a few.
Big Zoo is another famous rap crew in China. Being a group from China's "Dirty South," Big Zoo represents its city Chengdu, which is the capital of Sichuan Province. In their recorded songs, most of them are rapped in their own dialect, Sichuanese. Just like their Sichuan cuisine, Big Zoo's style is hot and spicy, but in the meantime, they seek to use rap as a tool to speak their thoughts and problems within the society. There are totally four members in the crew. Three of them are now studying abroad in France, America, and Australia. Sometimes they rap in French and English as well. Their bio can be found in Baidu Baike, which is Chinese biggest online encyclopedia. However, in 2008, Big Zoo hit its rock bottom when one of the crew members, Mow left the team. Ever since, the team stopped making music due to this incident and busy works from school. In the midst of 2011, rapper Free-T released his song "Diary of Life," signaling the return of Big Zoo.
In addition to an official Annual Chinese Hip-Hop Awards Show (中国嘻哈颁奖典礼) there are a handful of websites serving as platforms to promote hip hop culture in China.
Pīlìwǔ 霹雳舞 (literally, thunder dance or breakdancing), is seen as a type of jiēwǔ (Simplified Chinese: 街舞) "street dance". Break dancing has been going on sporadically in China since the 1980s, but has never gained much attention. More recently, following the Korean wave, Western-oriented Korean influence has played a role in Chinese pop culture development, particularly in Beijing. Each regional breakdancing (or Bboy) scene is slightly different. Hip-hop culture came earliest to Guangzhou (Canton,) so its scene is consequently the deepest rooted. In Shanghai B-boying first became systematized with many local break dance schools.
See also 
- Steele, Angela Diane. Zai Beijing: A Cultural Study of Hip Hop. 2006. 9 April 2008 <http://dialogue.stanford.edu/zaibeijing.html>.
- “How a Muslim Convert from Detroit Became the Godfather of Chinese Hip-Hop.” Foreign Policy. Oct. 2007. 9 April 2008 <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4023>
- http://articles.latimes.com/ - You Can't Get a Bad Rap Here by R.Frammolino
- http://www.nytimes.com - Now Hip-Hop, Too, Is Made in China by J.Wang
- http://www.uschina.usc.edu -- Missionaries of Sound
- Chang, Jeff. “It’s a Hip-hop World.” Foreign Policy 163, Nov/Dec 2007, 58-65
- ["Big Zoo_百度百科." 百度百科――全球最大中文百科全书. Web. Apr. 2011. <http://baike.baidu.com/view/3658637.htm>]
- Zhou, Renjie. "Big Zoo." Web. <http://www.cloudpry.com:8080/showItem/showDetail/8979815.html>.
- 街舞文化的起源与发展 - 逸仙时空BBS
- Angela Steele (Fulbright Scholar Researching Chinese Hip-Hop)
- Hip Hop in China (documentary)
- Mogo.com.cn: Music, Videos, Interviews and Concerts from Mainland, China
- Wiki-China Page on Hip-Hop
- 林氏兄弟 LINS BROS.美国嘻哈资讯网站 | 美国嘻哈朝圣地登陆中国
- China Streetwear | A streetwear store form china
- Representin' the Dirty North - Rebecca Cowell