Higher Brothers

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Higher Brothers
OriginChengdu, Sichuan, China
GenresHip hop, trap
Years active2016–present
Labels88rising, Empire Distribution
Associated acts
Websitewww.88rising.com/higherbrothers.html
Members
  • MaSiWei (马思唯)
  • DZKnow (丁震)
  • Psy.P (杨俊逸)
  • Melo (谢宇杰)

Higher Brothers (更高兄弟) are a Chinese hip-hop group from Chengdu consisting of four members: MaSiWei (马思唯), DZknow (丁震), Psy.P (杨俊逸), and Melo (谢宇杰). They are signed with the record label, 88rising, whose roster of artists includes Asian and Asian-American artists.[1][2] The group is known for their songs in Mandarin and Sichuanese that celebrate Chinese culture, with songs such as "Made in China", "Black Cab" and "We Chat". Higher Brothers are notable as a high-profile rap group that has managed to avoid Chinese government censorship while still appealing to Western audiences, making this the first Chinese rap act to garner international success.[3][4]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Higher Brothers are part of a much larger Sichuan-based rap collective 成都说唱会馆 (Chéngdū shuōchàng huìguǎn, lit. Cheng-Du City Rap House, aka CDC). Psy.P and Melo performed as a duo called 天地会 (TianDi Clan, or TDC) before forming Higher Brothers.[2] Videos from as far back as 2012 can be found of Melo rapping alongside original CDC members such as Fat Shady and Sleepy Cat.[5] In 2015, DZknow released a song with MaSiWei and Psy.P called "Higher Brothers" (Hǎi'ěr xiōngdì) after the old logo of the Chinese electronics company Haier, which features a pair of brothers. After the song received a positive reception, the members decided to form a group and name it after the song.[6] Over time, the English form of the name became "Higher Brothers".[7][3] The group's music is inspired by 50 Cent, Migos and J. Cole.[8]

Joining 88rising and international success[edit]

The Higher Brothers joined 88rising in 2016 and are managed by Sean Miyashiro and Lana Larkin. Larkin also appeared on a few of their tracks.[9][10] The group first appeared on 88rising's YouTube channel in 2016 with the song "Black Cab".[6] Due to the later success of songs like "Made in China" and "Franklin", the Higher Brothers embarked on a tour through Asia alongside 88rising artists Joji and Rich Brian in late 2017. In 2018 the group embarked on their North American Tour "Journey to the West", named after their EP of the same name which was released in January 2018. The group released their second album Five Stars in 2019, and embarked on their worldwide "Wish You Rich" tour starting May 2019.[3][11]

Band members[edit]

These are Chinese names; surnames appear first.

  • MaSiWei, b.1993 (马思唯, Mǎ Sīwéi, also known as Ma Shi [马师] lit. "Master Ma", formerly known as OG Skippy), group leader, from Pixian, Chengdu.[6]
  • DZknow, b.1996 (丁震, Dīng Zhèn, also known as KnowKnow or simply DZ), from Nanjing.
  • Psy.P, b.1994 (杨俊逸,Yáng Jùnyì) from Chengdu.[12]
  • Melo, b.1994 (谢宇杰, Xiè Yǔjié) from Chengdu.

Discography[edit]

Mixtape: Higher Brothers[edit]

The group released a mixtape in 2016 entitled Higher Brothers Mixtape. It consists of 19 tracks including the "original" versions of two songs also featured on Black Cab - "7/11" and "Wechat". The original version of "7/11" featured a beat that was produced by Deko, while "Wechat" used the beat from Speaker Knockerz's song "Count Up". These beats were most likely changed for the re-released versions due to copyright concerns.[citation needed]

*Higher Brothers signifies that all members in the group performed on the song.

Track No. Track Name Artists featured Producer Beat Used
1 "Higher Brothers Intro" Higher Brothers* Masiwei N/A
2 玩耍 Psy.P, Melo and DZknow Swagg B N/A
3 "WeChat" / 我打开微信不是来听你BB这些的 DZknow, Psy.P and Masiwei Speaker Knockerz "Count Up"
4 "Facts Remix" Higher Brothers Charlie Heat, Metro Boomin, Southside "Facts"
5 可以 Masiwei, Psy.P and Sleepy Cat ITrezBeats "Cut It"
6 因为 Psy.P and DZknow Canis Major N/A
7 "7-11" Psy.P, DZknow and Masiwei Deko N/A
8 "Okay Remix" Masiwei Sonny Digital "Okay"
9 嫉妒 Masiwei, Psy.P and DZknow Flip "All That Matters" -Justin Bieber (Allegedly)
10 该挨 Higher Brothers livinlargeinve "Gang"
11 尴尬 Masiwei and Psy.P PDUB the Producer N/A
12 "Cosplay" Masiwei and Psy.P Simon Marcus N/A
13 中华小当家 "Interlude" Psy.P N/A N/A
14 "Black Cab" / 野猪儿 Masiwei, Psy.P and DZknow 2kOnTheTrack N/A
15 "Without You" DZknow and Psy.P Breezy N/A
16 冬眠 DZknow, Melo and Psy.P Flip N/A
17 小弟娃 Masiwei and Psy.P IGNORVNCE N/A
18 你, 我 Higher Brothers Bravestarr and Yamumoto N/A
19 谢谢 "Outro" Masiwei Masiwei N/A

Debut album: Black Cab[edit]

Their debut album Black Cab was released in May 2017. Members cited 50 Cent, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Migos as influences for this album. The album was named for the unlicensed black cab drivers of the Higher Brothers native Chengdu.[6] It features songs from the groups pre-88rising days, as well as new songs written after signing with the label. The album contains the Higher Brother's song "Made In China", which Noisey describes as their "most famous track to date".[6] The video for the song went viral, receiving over 15 million views as of March 2019.[13]

Track No. Track Name Artists featured
1 "WeChat" Higher Brothers feat. Keith Ape
2 "Isabellae" (蝴蝶) Higher Brothers
3 "Made in China" Higher Brothers feat. Famous Dex
4 "Franklin" Higher Brothers feat. Jay Park
5 "Black Cab" Higher Brothers
6 "Why Not" Higher Brothers
7 "Mine" Higher Brothers
8 "Wudidong" Higher Brothers
9 "Bitch don't kill my dab" Higher Brothers
10 "Aston Martin" Higher Brothers feat. Ken Rebel
11 "Ding Mogu" Higher Brothers
12 "Yah" Higher Brothers feat. J Mag
13 "Young Master" Higher Brothers
14 "711" Higher Brothers

On June 13, 2017, a Video on YouTube "Rappers React to Higher Brothers" was posted by label 88rising, featuring 13 rappers including Lil Yachty, members of Migos, Playboi Carti, and KYLE.

The HBO comedy Silicon Valley featured the track "Made In China" in the closing credits of the Season 5 episode "Artificial Emotional Intelligence", which aired on April 29, 2018.

EP: Journey To The West[edit]

Higher Brothers released a new EP on January 17, 2018, during their North American tour with the same name accompanied by other artists from 88rising. There are four tracks in the EP, one of them being "Flo Rida". Originally just a single before the official announcement of the rest of the Journey to the West EP, the song blends both the Chinese and English languages. The song is produced by Florida rapper and producer Smokepurpp and features Ski Mask the Slump God. The EP is named after the popular Chinese novel of the same name.

Track list:

  1. "Flo Rida" feat. Ski Mask The Slump God (Prod. Smokepurpp)
  2. "Room Service" (Prod. Icekrim)
  3. "Chanel" (Prod. BricksOnDaBeat)
  4. "Rich Bitch" feat. Ski Mask the Slump God (Prod.?)

Second album: Five Stars[edit]

On February 8, 2019, the group released their second album Five Stars. It was released on February 22, 2019.[14]

Five Stars is the Higher Brothers' sophomore album, and features collaborations with American rappers, like Soulja Boy, Ski Mask the Slump God and Rich Brian.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Why Higher Brothers Wasn't Censored by China's Government". PAPER. 2018-01-23. Archived from the original on 2019-02-19. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  2. ^ a b Nast, Condé. "The American Dream of the Higher Brothers". GQ. Archived from the original on 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  3. ^ a b c EST, Christina Zhao On 2/26/19 at 7:00 AM (2019-02-26). "From Chengdu with Flow: How the Higher Brothers brought Chinese hip-hop to Western ears". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2019-03-14. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  4. ^ "Higher Brothers". Spotify. Archived from the original on 2019-08-06. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  5. ^ Qin, Amy (October 26, 2017). "With Dreadlocks, Rhythm and Flow, China Embraces Hip-Hop". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Teixeira, Lauren; Ross, Alex Robert; Horn, Leslie; Friedlander, Emilie (2018-01-28). "Higher Brothers Are Chinese Hip-Hop's Greatest Hope". Noisey. Archived from the original on 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  7. ^ Hsu, Hua (2018-03-19). "How 88rising Is Making a Place for Asians in Hip-Hop". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Archived from the original on 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  8. ^ Agrawal, Nadya (16 June 2017). "Meet the Higher Brothers, the Rap Group Climbing Over the Great Firewall of China". PAPER. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Meet Lana Larkin, the woman behind Higher Brothers's global crossover". The FADER. Archived from the original on 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  10. ^ Wong, Alex. "The American Dream of the Higher Brothers". gq.com. Archived from the original on 2019-06-10.
  11. ^ "Higher Brothers on How Their Chinese Trap Sound Won America Over: 'We Can Do Some Swag S--t'". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2019-06-11. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  12. ^ Staff, X. X. L. "The Break Presents: Higher Brothers - XXL". XXL Mag. Archived from the original on 2019-06-03. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  13. ^ 88rising (2017-03-28), "Higher Brothers x Famous Dex - Made In China (Prod. Richie Souf)", youtube.com, archived from the original on 2019-03-12, retrieved 2019-03-15
  14. ^ Findlay, Mitch (2019-02-08). "Higher Brothers' Album Lands J.I.D, ScHoolboy Q, Denzel Curry & More". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  15. ^ Opie, David. "Higher Brothers Smash All Kinds of Barriers With 'Five Stars'". highsnobiety.com. Archived from the original on 2019-04-25. Retrieved 2019-09-29.

Further reading[edit]