Talk:Chinese hip hop
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- Oppose move. All national hip hop articles are under the name of the country, then "hip hop." By the way, where did the term "xi ha" come from? Badagnani 00:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Merge HK+Taiwan hip hop articles to here
Chinese hip hop for me is Chinese language hip hop, not only hip hop from Mainland China. I also believe that due to the limited availability of reliable sources for all three articles, it would be better to compress them into one and work on that one, instead of trying to make each individual article Wikipedia-worthy. Poeloq 18:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
- I would not oppose to merge these article into one single article called "Chinese-language hip hop," but I am pretty sure that is not how other hip hop articles are named. "Chinese hip hop" on the other hand runs into the WP:NPOV issue (I'm only talking about Taiwan). I do, however, agree to merge the HK hip hop with this article.--Jerry 23:38, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
- Jerry, are you from Taiwan, also know as Republic of China and where the people are Chinese and speak dialects of Chinese. If this article was named Hip Hop from Mainland China, from the People's Republic of China or similar, I could understand your worries because of WP:NPOV. However, I believe that Chinese, as in Chinese hip hop refers to the language, obviously not the People's Republic. Would you agree? Poeloq (talk) 14:32, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
- I agree that it is used to refer to the language. However, it causes confusions as it people unfamiliar with the issue might not know. Also, I'm not sure, but I think Taiwanese hip hop also refer to the language.--Jerry 21:21, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
- Do not merge - These are different countries and the dynamics of their hip-hop scenes are different. We should not move Singaporean hip hop here either. The article is not about hip hop in the Chinese language, as none of the national hip hop articles group hip hop by language. "China" means "mainland China" in the English vernacular, and at Wikipedia. Badagnani (talk) 16:59, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
- Do not merge - The hip-hop in these countries differs not only in subject matter and cultural references, but in language as well (e.g. Hakka-Pac rapping in Taiwanese). I could possibly be convinced there should be an (East) Asian Hip-Hop article, with sections for each country. Chewyrunt (talk) 01:43, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
- Merge - Whether Taiwanese or Cantonese or Mandarin, etc. They're still dialects of Chinese. If the article was referring to Mandarin-language hiphop it would be titled as "Mandarin hip hop" rather than "Chinese hp hop". Lily1104 (talk) 11:53, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
- Do not merge - As stated by chewyrunt,the hip-hop in these countries are fundamentally different in many ways. Language should not be a consideration for merger as there are multiple hip-hop pages for different english speaking countries.English hip hop redirects to British hip-hop, and Spanish hip hop is limited to the hip-hop scene in spain. Consistency dictates that we leave them as separate articles Dogabutila (talk) 08:23, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Style and Gender
Notwithstanding, Chinese culture contrasts with many American values in terms of cultural and social arrangements, the need to express oneself, and reach the larger global public through that expression remains equitable in both countries. The juxtaposition of the two styles can be compared to the comparison of their painting styles. In Americans & Chinese Passage to Difference, Francis L. K. Hsu writes: “In western art the focus is on man or woman as an individual. In Chinese art the important thing is the individual’s place in the external scheme of things. In addition, American art often reflects the inner tension of the individual; this concern is practically absent from Chinese art”. To better understand the influence of the hip-hop scene in China it is imperative that we explore the qualities of this art form that give it shape, life and substance.
A factor that is rarely taken into consideration is the social and economic conditions that many American hip-hop artists come from. As a consequence of 500 years of white supremacy, systematic & institutional racism, the Black community in America has become destitute and dismal. Broken homes, drug infested neighborhoods, lack of well paying jobs, police misconduct & inadequate educational facilities are the standard for many of the communities that Hip-Hop artists are from. Insight into the theoretical framework of Hip-hop is illustrated by Theresa A. Martinez’s article Popular Cultural as Oppositional Culture. Martinez claims: “It is the central argument of this paper that present day African American popular culture that a present day African American popular cultural expression is yet another form of oppositional culture in the face of perceived institutional discrimination, racial formation, and urban decay... [It] was an ardent form of resistance and a definite expression of oppositional culture, bringing to light long perceived problems in our nation’s inner cities…”
In essence, the origin of the cultural expression known as Hip-hop is rooted in the civil discontent of a marginalized group. In the American context this art form is usually saturated with lyrics and visual depictions that emphasize the struggle of this minority group. A disconnect arises when the transnational exportation of this medium occurs, as this product as succumbs to globalization, and has been packaged and diffused through china. However, the main difference is that China does not define race in the context of American race discourse, in addition African American “blackness” is not something that is prevalent in their culture.
Notwithstanding, China has its fair share of social inequality as Gregory Lee writes: “Today China is suffering more and more from social and economic problems that once were only associated with traditional capitalist economies, and whenever there are social problems in China, in absolute terms of human victims, they assume enormous proportions. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, China had a population of 400 million. Now China has a population of 1,400 million, over three times the population of forty years ago”.
However, it is interesting that even though China has the condition that allowed for Hip-Hop to become so aggressive in the U.S. it has become a positive unifying force that holds at its center themes and value of a more endearing nature. It is the thesis of this paper that Chinese hip-hop is different from American hip-hop in that it deals with love, admiration of hip-hop as a musical form, and is infused with the monotony of everyday life, through the performance of gender.
From Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Alice Cooper, musicians have long tried to project a "bad boy" image, often to help attract public interest in their music. Traditional Hip-Hop themes depict notions of society that are often considered illegitimate, and counter mainstream. Discontent is depicted as a form of rebellion again hegemonic structures. For the purpose of this paper, Chamillionaire will be used as an archetypical example of the violent hip-hop referred to in the introduction. In his song Hip-Hop Police, Chamillionaire conveys two social inequalities, imposed congruently. The antagonists are both censorship and police, and each strive to oppress his agency. His video depicts two men who are suddenly profiled by the police and after a misunderstanding become suspects in a murder investigation. Images of swat-teams, police line-ups, profanity, and allusions to murder are repeatedly made to metaphorically protest the social intolerance of hip-hop. The story Chamillionaire depicts in many ways can be regarded as analogous to the hardships many marginalized individuals face, in their everyday lives.
Although Chamillionaire projects a hard image that is typical of American hip-hop artists, Dragon Tongues, a Chinese rap group, has been referred to as “polite rappers”. They are looking to inject Chinese culture into the Western style of music. In a video featured on YouTube the group rapped about their love for Chinese cooking than the more familiar western gangster themes. When interviewed the group expressed that they enjoyed rapping about “daily life, daily struggles… Emotion.” In addition a group member emphasized that their rap was “organic” because it lack the profanity commonly associated with a form of hip-hop called gangster rap. Lastly, a third member of the group stated “we rap about love, first love, love and peace” and that they keep it real. In the same fashion that the themes in American hip-hop are infused with rebellious lyrics and images, the themes in Chinese music tell us that these that love, peace, are the elements for which the artist are calling for. Surely these themes may sound generic, but it is most appliciable in thinking about the charaterist most prized by Chinese culture, honor and respect, elements that have cold emotional condentations.
But what to make of this emphasize on something not only counter American mainstream, but also counter hegemonic masculinity? The performance of gender is paramount in understanding the motivation for the soft quality of Chinese hip-hop lyrics. American popular culture is notoriously male-centered. For Asian Americans the situation appears to be reversed, which may be yet another reflection of the power of the dominant culture. Love has become a prevalent theme in Chinese Hip-Hop, because of the feminization that has imbued on to males in china. The stereotype that Chinese men are inferior is prevalent in American society. In his book Racial Castration, David L. Eng writes: "The west thinks of itself as masculine --big guns, big industry, big money—- so the East is feminine -—weak, delicate, poor-- […] In Looking for My Penis, Richard Fung summarizes the phenomenon even more bluntly: Asian and Anus are conflated [terms]”.
As a supplement to this notion of inferior masculinity Michael S. Liao writes in The Asian American Experience: “Asian masculinity is subtle, conveyed through artistic expressions. The aggressive, tough notions of masculinity are regarded as unrefined and an indicator of poor education and lower class. When I came to the United States, my practice of concession in the classroom was seen as a sign of timidity. My proper respect for elders and teachers was seen as an eagerness to please. My non-aggressive response ad silent endurance of harassments was seen as a sign of weakness. The traditional Asian notions of masculinity instilled in me were perceived unfavorably in the American context.”
This misconception is due primarily to the differences in culture norms and culture representations, but its impact, is perhaps why Chinese resort to the toughness of Hip-Hop and rap to covey the aspects of their lives that has caused them to be perceived as emasculated. What Americans fail to observe is a philosophical division between East and West frameworks of thought. As a culture that is rooted in love and great respect, the Chinese have no other options that to harness the testosterone injected Hip-Hop to secure any anxious masculinity. The need to be ontologically recognized as manly is is a struggle embedded in the discontent that Chinese men face, thus is why Chinese hip-hop so closely conforms to the American Style aesthetically
Hip-Hop is so strongly admired by its ability of providing an outlet for masculinity. In the American context, Hip-Hop has been adapted to serve as a platform for hyper masculinity or a medium for men (mostly) to illustrate the struggles they have faced in both their own life as well as the music industry, or a many arts do, they create fictitious accounts of these narratives in an effort to convey status, or hegemonic masculinity. In a youtube video by D-Evil feat Ossy labeled “Chinese Hip-Hop”, the video illustrated elements of American hip-hop that depict the aforementioned conveyance of hyper-masculinity. In the video Chinese men are dress in a Hip-Hop style, this includes baggy pants, loose fitting shirt, a fitted cap, and excessive and extravagant jewelry. The video is mostly in Chinese but is punctuate with segments of American idiomatic expressions. Its is interesting to note that although the video is Chinese and appears to be made in China, it features an unknown African American artist, who is repeatedly cameod, and raps a few lyrics. In another video featured on youtube by the name of “Chinese hip-hop sexi lady, touxin haidao” a female artist sings what appears to be a love song. In this video they again convey many of the idiosyncrasies mentioned in the first video commonly associated to American Hip-Hop, but what is different of this video is that the women in this video are more provocative, and are objectified similarly to the women of American Videos. Mimicry is a form of flattery; however Chinese Hip-Hope idolizes the norms of American Hip-Hop while breaking notions of inferior masculinity.
Chinese Hip-hop is also used as a form of expressing the monotony of everyday life. Chinese culture is very much alive; however it also remains stagnant in the sense that the past is still embedded in the present. Ansestory and history are elements of Chinese culture that are centralized in that culture. In an article in the New York Times, Nicolas D. Kristof writes “Most Chinese are taught in school that theirs is a glorious cultural inheritance, but since late in the last century a heretical strain of intellectual thought has attributed China's lack of economic and democratic development to flaws in its culture.” What occurs is the following, in a society that is deprived of cultural innovation it is not uncommon that feelings of monotony are expressed, or that the monotonous aspect of the ancestor and culture are taken and revitalized with an imported medium, such as Hip-Hop. This becomes evident in Kristof’s article where he also states, “Chinese civilization is stagnant and needs to be refreshed by foreign influences, is the most powerful statement of this heretical strain so far. It has come to symbolize the debate about how China should modernize and whether it should cherish or discard certain values and symbols of the nation's past” . It is this longing for cultural refreshment that has embraced Hip-Hop with open arms. Examples of the aforementioned monotony are illustrated in another youtube video yet again a food themed Hip-Hop Song. In “Morton in China, Chinese Hip-Hop” . In this video the lyrics to the song are also related to the praise of Chinese cuisine, but when interviewed, the group was asked why their lyrics were not more radical, to which the group responded that they weren’t allowed to be radical if they expected to make money off their music. The assumption here is that the “they” the artist referred to is the government, as it is a socialist country. The tight control of the media has definitely been at great contributor to the capsulated consciousness and culture evident in China today. However, it is important to recognize that the adaption of Hip-Hop illustrates the resistance to the government, while the content of the music conveys the conformity of the culture and governmental values. Notwithstanding, monotony is present but there are efforts to diversify Chinese society. In a speech by the Chinese minister of culture he addressed some of the accomplishments as wells as some of he needs of the culture in Chinese society. He writes, “The harmonious society that we're striving to build is one which respects the interests and appeals of all social groups, where people can fully realize their potential, get what they deserve, and live a well-off, peaceful and happy life. In terms of culture, this ideal boils down to safeguarding basic cultural rights and interests of all citizens, and addressing the multi-level and diverse needs for culture of all members of the society.”The fact that the Chinese government recognizes the lack of diversity in China, allows for the exploration of the notion that Hip-Hop as a cultural form is not fueled by the tension imbued in American Hip-op but more so acts as a release for the producers of this art form. The inclusiveness reflected by Chinese hip-hop, allows for the celebration of differences and a resistance against sameness, and without such differences, the world might become more peaceful, but at the same time, to a large extent, it would lose its glories and fall into monotony. Gender comes in to play, because Chinese men wish to convey something that is different from tradition, something that will allow them the cultural space to assert dominance while tailoring their lyrics to abide to the rich history of respect for elders and proliferation of tradition.
The difference between American hip-hop and Chinese hip-hop is rooted in the cultures of these strikingly different societies. Chinese hip-hop has taken form as a more positive approach will dealing with societal short comings of China, in contrast American Hip-Hop conveys a similar ideology but it is articulated in a way that can be perceived to be detrimental to American values. The themes in Chinese hip seem to be center more on the culture and less on the self. The struggle with the performance of gender and the illustrations of hegemonic masculinity is evident and many of the pieces examined. Love, Admiration, and Monotony are some of the driving themes in Chinese Hip-Hop, and perhaps they are rooted in traditions of the past, but nonetheless this style of expression gives Hip-Hop a new context for which one can further analysis social conditions of this particular country. In the wake of its globalization it become apparent that this product has taken a distinct form in China, but it is still rooted in illustrating aspects of society that are not commonly addressed.          
Interestingly, Chinese rap groups talk about very traditional topics such as food and cooking. In the commonly used entertainment media source known-as “YouTube”,  there are videos of other Chinese rappers. In the video “Merton in China”, there are two Chinese boys being interviewed by Paul Merton, who wants to know what they rap about. The two boys state that they are rapping about Chinese food and Merton comments that rap music is typically controversial because it discusses radical topics. Merton is insinuating that the topic of food isn’t exactly radical. The young man mentions that in China you cannot get too radical with your message because there is a good deal of social censorship. One young man states you have to “compromise with the system”, unlike American rappers who are governed by free speech and use music to speak out about social injustice.
Style and Gender
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- Jiazheng, Sun Chinese Culture Today: Aspirations and Dreams (Speech) November 23, 2005
- Hsu , Francis L. K. Americans & Chinese passage to Difference page 20
- Kristof, Nicolas China Calls TV Tale Subversive SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: October 2, 1989
- Lee, Gregory The 'East Is Red' Goes Pop: Commodification, Hybridity and Nationalism in Chinese Popular Song and Its Televisual Performance Popular Music, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 95-110 Published by: Cambridge University Press
- Martinesz, Theresa Popular Cultural as Oppositional Cultural Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 40, No. 2 (1997), pp. 265-286 Published by: University of California Press.
- Chamillionaire - Hip Hop Police http://youtube.com/watch?v=If8e1x-6Uds
- Merton in China Chinese Hip Hop http://youtube.com/watch?v=prt5OTalPN4
- Chinese Hip-Hop http://youtube.com/watch?v=QZ_AFW6BHpQ
- Hip-hop sexi lady, touxin haidao http://youtube.com/watch?v=FddcFdQQfB0
- D-Evil feat Ossy / Chinese Hip-Hop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ_AFW6BHpQ
- YouTube - Merton in China Chinese Hip Hop