May 25, 2008

DòngTīng Song of the Week

Green Clan

Big Zoo & Green Clan: "Good Love"| "好爱"

This week’s song is a collaboration between Green Clan and Big Zoo. Green Clan is an up-and-coming Hip Hop collective in Kunming. Their crew has a dozen MCs, producers and beatboxers who are all passionate about making quality Hip Hop music. Formed by an original member of GUMBO, Kunming’s first rap group, Big Zoo is a Hip Hop crew in Chengdu. The two crews came together on “好爱” or “Good Love”, a cheerful, endearing love song.

本周的歌来自Green Clan和Big Zoo。Green Clan是个新出现的昆明
Hip Hop团体。他们有12多个说唱家, 制作家和口技家。他们都热爱Hip
Hop也想做好Hip Hop音乐。GUMBO是昆明第一说唱团体。他们其中一个
原来的团员建立了成都的Big Zoo. 这两个团体合作这首个叫 “好爱”,

May 21, 2008

MC Yan's Hong Kong Studio

MC Yan with MC Yan toy

During our time in Guangdong province we had the opportunity to take a day trip to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we met with Duncan Jepson (director of “Follow your heart.” For more, take a look at Angela’s previous post) as well as Hong Kong rapper and artist, MC Yan. MC Yan is former member of Hong Kong’s Lazy Mutha Fucka, or LMF, a Hip Hop crew active throughout the mid 90s to the early 00’s, making them one of the first Chinese Hip Hop groups. Though LMF disbanded in 2003, it continues to be regarded as one of most influential Chinese Hip Hop groups. Their provocative lyrics and attitudes set them apart from mainstream Canto-pop music and grabbed the attention of Chinese youth both in Hong Kong as well as Mainland China. Take a look at LMF’s music video for their song “大懒堂,” the group’s name in Chinese. MC Yan, with fake handlebar moustache and real pigtail braids, does the main rap verses.

So far, MC Yan is the only Hong Kong rapper that we have interviewed. With our project’s main focus being Mainland Chinese Hip Hop artists, trying to include Hong Kong’s Hip Hop scene, or similarly, the Taiwan Hip Hop scene, would in some ways take away from the unique themes and concerns that characterize each place. Though the “One Country, Two Systems” policy enacted in 1997 brought “Hong Kong home to China,” the vastly different social and political histories of the two places continue to make them feel like two completely different countries. Director Duncan Jepson explained his decision not to include Hong Kong in his film “Follow your heart” by pointing out that Hong Kong youth and Mainland Chinese youth face different issues in their exploration and development of Hip Hop culture. Access to Western music and culture came much earlier and much easier in Hong Kong than in Mainland China, having a major influence on how the respective Hip Hop scenes developed. Hong Kong’s Hip Hop scene came first, but at this point, Mainland Chinese Hip Hop is growing and developing at a much faster rate, similar to the Chinese economy.

In our visit to his studio, MC Yan gave us his personal take on the differences between Hong Kong and Mainland China’s Hip Hop scenes, shared his thoughts on current world issues that interest him, and gave us a look at some of his current projects. Post-LMF, MC Yan has a lot going on. From developing memory sticks as a new platform for releasing music, to making it into the Guiness Book of World Records for the world’s farthest tag (using L.A.S.E.R. technology developed by GRL), to developing his label “宁死不屈,” or “rather die than dishonor,” MC Yan’s is putting his personal motto of “keep being creative all the time” into action. Our visit to MC Yan’s studio reminded me how lucky I am to have this opportunity to meet such interesting and thought-provoking artists. Check out our visit with MC Yan.


May 20, 2008

Earthquake Relief

On the morning of the 13th I woke up to an ominous message on a friend’s instant messenger. It simply said “Bless Angela and her friend”. Although my friend is a sweet person, I didn’t understand her sudden concern. I didn’t even have time to drop her a line before I received several text messages and emails asking if I was all right and if I had been affected by the earthquake. I was still in Kunming and hadn’t even heard about it. But by the end of the day, reports from domestic and international media agencies were already streaming in about the level of devastation and relief efforts already underway. The shock, sadness and sympathy felt by all after the earthquake, has turned many to action. People throughout China and the world have supported government relief efforts through donations and volunteering. Members of the Hip Hop community have also responded by organizing and participating in benefit concerts and donating proceeds from performances. If you would also like to help, the New York Times has compiled a list of organizations that are currently engaged in relief efforts.

As the nation continues to deal with this tragedy, every day there are more stories of suffering and loss, but also stories of hope. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the earthquake - survivors, families, relief personnel and volunteers. Bless them.

~ Angela

May 17, 2008

DòngTīng Song of the Week

Co Op Sol: "The Work Song"

This week’s song comes from Kunming's Co Op Sol. Made up of American MC Mike Metcalfe and Kunming MC Hu Xuan, Co Op Sol has succeeded in creating amazing multilingual rap music. They experiment with the sounds and rhythms of English and Chinese to make their verses smooth and natural. Heavily influenced by Guangzhou’s Dumdue, Hu Xuan produces the group’s jazzy beats. Combined with Mike’s poetic lyricism, the result is soulful and cerebral songs like “The Work Song”.

本周的个来自昆明的邪作社。美国说唱家Mike Metcalfe和昆明说唱家Hu Xuan一起创造奇妙的多语种说唱。他们巧妙地结合英文和中文。结果是他们的歌又流畅又自然。广州的噔哚对Hu Xuan是很大的影响。他制作邪作社爵士性的音乐。再加上Mike诗意的歌词,结果是又灵魂又知识的歌,像 “The Work Song”。

May 6, 2008

DòngTīng Song of the Week

FK Moses and Cameraman

This week’s song comes from Beijing rapper FK Moses. He is one of China’s few hardcore rappers and his deep, resonant voice is perfect for this style. FK Moses has collaborated with rappers, vocalists and musicians from around the world. His latest project brought together 12 MCs from 12 different countries. This yet untitled track is a testament to the unifying power of Hip Hop.

本周的歌来自北京的FK Moses。他是个硬核说唱家。他的声音又低又
谐振,也适合这种风格。FK Moses跟一些全世界的说唱家,歌唱家
这首未名的歌证明了Hip Hop的统一力量。