中国嘻哈, Voices of Dissent

One of the things I admire about hip hop in general is its ability to give those who are disadvantaged a musical medium to tell their stories. But I think the Blue Scholars say it best in “Blink”:

It’s said talk is cheap, but war is expensive
I speak cuz it’s free and these words are my weapons

One reason why I’m into Chinese hip hop is because I’m looking for those voices of dissent. Frankly put, there are a lot of sociological problems in China that a very crafty PR campaign nullifies before we hear about it. And the relationship between those who are disproportionately affected by those problems and those who want to say something about it is directly correlated.

Strangely enough, you can get away with some stuff in China, but only if you’re a small fry – one of those kids recording in their rooms and sending it out on the BBS. But in general, the more people that listen to you, the less you can say. That being said, I didn’t find anything like that from China, but I did find it elsewhere.

The first one is from Malaysia, by Kawanku called “My Friends”. The sweet thing about this song is that he raps in Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay. I think the point of the song is to call out the social tensions between Cantonese Chinese, Singaporeans and Malays in order to move people towards resolving them (he literally says this at the end).

The part that I understood the best was the part where he dissed on Singaporeans for being a nation of spoiled and weak willed people. I remember a friend telling me that there was a lot of tension between the two countries, and the prime reason why Singapore has an army to begin with. If you flip through the comments, it created a lot of visceral reactions. But that’s the greatness of this medium.

The next clip is from a Mongolian group called LA Face titled “Fuck Them Chinese”. The little description on this clip talks about the abrasive relationship between the two groups that date back to the dynasty days.

I took a class about minorities in China in college and the Mongolian situation was eerily similar to the ethnic minority situation in America where there is massive pressure to assimilate and dump their cultural heritage. These sorts of things hit especially hard as part of the assimilation process involves the person believing the hype that their cultural heritage is second class, thus leading them to abandon their communities through the act of self hate and interracial racism (wow, did I just type that?).

I don’t understand a single thing in the song. But the fact that it exists is exciting. A lot of conscience hip hop – especially ones that are locally based – serve as a means to get people to move. It’ll be interesting to see how this moves the Mongolian community and perhaps other ethnic minorities in China.

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