Rappers bring real China to the world

Updated: 2016-09-13 12:32

By Chen Nan(China Daily USA)

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CD Rev, a rap group from Chengdu, Sichuan province, is expected to release a new single, This Is Our Generation, in October, a sign of the rising popularity of using rap to explain China to the outside world.

The group's earlier song, This Is China, became an online sensation after it was released in June.

This is China, in which group members talk about why they love the country, has been viewed more than 10 million times. The four-member hip-pop group also has about 100,000 followers on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social platform.

"Regardless of all the prejudice in the past, today I wanna restore the impression you have on my country, China." So begins This Is China, which touches on issues that China faces, such as air pollution, food safety and corruption, and declares: "We love the country. ...The red dragon ain't no evil, but a peaceful place".

Some viewers have commented on how they are impressed by the group's musical talent. Others say it is laudable that the group speaks the truth about the country's problems while remaining patriotic.

For the upcoming single, CD Rev has gathered six additional rappers, representing six Chinese cities, to spotlight the country's youth.

"Our goal is not to become big stars or celebrities. What we want is to set good examples of the post-1990 generation, members of which will become China's driving force," Wang Zixin, the band's 23-year-old singer-songwriter, told China Daily over the weekend.

Hip-hop bands such as Dragon King, a Beijing-based trio, will perform on CD Rev's This Is Our Generation.

"We didn't expect all the attention. We joked that if we could predict the popularity, we would have shown our faces clearly in the video," said Wang of This Is China, in which he and his fellow rappers appear with their faces painted in the style of Peking Opera masks.

"We love the country and we want to make a change," Wang said.

Li Yijie, another CD Rev rapper, who graduated as an English major from Sichuan Normal University, wrote the lyrics in English because the band wanted to directly communicate with foreign audiences in the four-minute song.

CD Rev uses rap to show the world the real China, Li said. The band wants to deliver more than patriotic songs, hoping to reflect youths' attitude toward social issues.

Other than This is China, the group has released a dozen songs since its inception in 2015. Wang, who graduated from Sichuan University of Media and Communication, had the idea of founding the rap group with like-minded friends, all of whom are in their early 20s.

"How we look at the world and what we think in a positive way shows in our rap," Wang said.

"Rap can be so cool, even when it's about a serious issue," he said, adding that he listens to Western rappers such as Jay-Z and 2 Chainz.

With the exposure to Western culture, young people in China have in recent years used rap as a way to express individuality and identity.

"Instead of using explicit lyrics, young Chinese rappers write in a unique style, telling stories about their daily lives," said Li Haiqin, founder of Hip-Hop Fusion, an organization based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, that promotes Chinese hip-hop.


 Rappers bring real China to the world

Chengdu-based rap group CD Rev has become an internet sensation with This Is China.Provided To China Daily

(China Daily USA 09/13/2016 page1)