Acid (hip-hop)

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Acid (often written ACID; Burmese: အက်စစ်, Burmese pronunciation: [ʔɛʔ sɪʔ]) is a Burmese hip hop group often credited with releasing Burma's first hip hop album, Beginning, in 2000. Two of the group's founders were later imprisoned for the group's allegedly pro-democracy lyrics.


Acid was founded by Zayar Thaw, Annaga, Hein Zaw and Yan Yan Chan.[1][2] In 2000, Acid released Burma's first hip-hop album, Beginning. Despite predictions of failure by many in the Burmese music industry, Beginning remained in the number one position of the Burmese charts for more than two months.[2] A Democratic Voice of Burma reporter described the group's music as blending a "combative, angry style with indigenous poeticism".[3]

The band's repertoire has been said to contain many "thinly veiled attacks" on Burma's military government, the State Peace and Development Council.[4] The Independent stated that while the band "focused on the mundane, their lyrics inevitably touched on the hardships of life in Burma, drawing them into dangerous territory." [5]

Arrests of Acid members[edit]

On 12 March 2008, Zayar Thaw was arrested at a Yangon restaurant with friends on charges relating to his involvement in the youth pro-democracy movement Generation Wave.[6] In April, Yan Yan Chan was also arrested.[7] Although it was widely reported in English pro-democracy papers that he was arrested in relation to democracy activities, he actually arrested on drug charges. (Acid's 4th member Hein Zaw also died from a drug overdose)

Zayar Thaw was allegedly beaten during his interrogation.[8] On 20 November 2008, he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for breaking State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 6/88,[6] "illegal organizing under the Unlawful Association Act".[9] Amnesty International described this statute as "a vaguely worded law whose sweeping provisions can be interpreted as making it illegal to set up any kind of organization".[8] He was given an additional year's imprisonment for possession of foreign currency, as he had been carrying approximately $20 USD in Thai baht, Singapore dollars, and Malaysian ringgit at the time of his arrest.[8] He served his sentence at Kawthaung prison.[6] Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release.[10]

After nearly a year's detention, Yan Yan Chan was released without charges on 7 January 2009.[11] Zayar Thaw was pardoned and released on 17 May 2011.[12]


  1. ^ "ACID Hip Hop Group". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Alex Elgee (26 March 2010). "Another Birthday behind Bars". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Joseph Allchin (30 December 2009). "Fresh blood for a new decade". Democratic Voice of Burma. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Junta imprisons Yan Yan Chan". 18 April 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Burma jails comedian for 45 years". The Independent. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "AAPP Case No. 0062" (PDF). Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Min Lwin (18 April 2008). "Popular Burmese Rap Performer Arrested". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "MYANMAR: Hip-Hop Artist and Student Activist Jailed for Peaceful Protest" (PDF). Amnesty International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "5 Generation Wave activists sentenced". Mizzima News. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Myanmar, Unlock the Prison Doors!" (PDF). Amnesty International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Than Htike Oo (7 January 2009). "Detained Hip Hop singer Yan Yan Chan released". Mizzima News. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "ပြည်သူ့ နာကျင်၊ခံစားမှုကို အနုပညာဖန်တီးချင်တယ်". မဇ္ဈိမသတင်းဌာန (in Burmese). 29 July 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.