BIG SPOON is about to be popping.
You wouldn’t know it from his view counts (modest but climbing quickly), but the Hong Kong producer-turned-rapper is confident.
“I started making beats in high school, but producing got played out so I started rapping instead. Poppin is my first track.”
The track and video are dope. Not in a masterful, impeccable quality kind of way — but in an effortless, “I do this for fun, yuh yuh yuh” kind of way. BIG SPOON — “All caps like MF DOOM,” he tells us, adding, “actually stylize it how you want, I like all caps ‘cause it looks bigger” — seems to be channeling the holy energy of Lil B, who he shouts out in the opening of the video. Lil B, if you’re not in the loop, paved the way for current, “homemade” sounding artists like Lil Yachty and Yung Lean. He hit a meteoric rise to fame on a strategy of inundating his audience with countless, seemingly slapped-together raps and music videos. For years, critics wrote off the Based God, on the grounds that his lyrics and rapping were subpar. But through consistent output, bravado, and the battle-tested formula of remaining true to oneself, Lil B’s sound went on to define a generation of artists.
“I want to help take Hong Kong rap to the next level… We got the food game on lock, the airsoft game on lock, the e-commerce game on lock, the banking game on lock, time to take the music game over like we did in the ’80s and ’90s” — BIG SPOON
Lil B appealed to fans and up-and-coming rappers because his self-confidence and laid back approach to the rap game spoke to a disillusionment with the status quo, and a refusal to play someone else’s game. In Poppin, BIG SPOON seems to embody the same feeling. The video is shot with basic camera quality, and seemingly zero effort on location, the shots themselves, or overall visual message. BIG SPOON raps lazily, squatting down with an A$AP Yams hundred dollar bill in his hat and dancing happily while his crew plays with Dragon Ball Z action figures. He hits such memorable lyrics as “yeah my girl a scholar, drink Evian water” and “Giordano boxers, they keep me cozy.”
But — and this bears repeating — the product is dope. On a highly bumping, dirty south style beat produced by The Beat Cartel, BIG SPOON talks the talk just for the fun of it. The thing that wins you over is his authenticity. He’s not trying to be anything else. The lyrical content matches that sound, with the lyrics largely addressing his lack of need to purchase high end brands and other rap-culture status symbols. Another key element of the song is that the hook is just an objective slapper. BIG SPOON raps about not needing to rock chains, wear Yeezys, or do drugs — and you still want to bop your head to the song. If that’s not an indicator of the track’s quality, we don’t know what is.
The video (shot by local Hong Kong team Goldfish TV, apparently their first music video) is a great complement to that. The low-effort shots are balanced with heavy effects and glitchy editing. It’s something we’ve covered before, in YoungQueenz and Fotan Laiki’s video, Fotan Laiki:
So we start to see a little bit of the difference between Hong Kong and mainland China’s rap scenes. The mainland is only now starting to find its place in the unique American subculture — lyrically powerful rappers like Higher Brothers are rising to the top, and the wildly popular reality show Rap of China pits rappers against each other, measuring their technical skill at an almost quantitative level. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has been steeping in global pop culture influence for decades. YoungQueenz (who makes a guest appearance in the video, along with fellow Hong Kong rapper Dough-Boy) and his WILD$TYLE collective are distinctly “post-rap” — and BIG SPOON seems to fall into that category too, just with an admittedly different style. His sound comes across as a product of the southern trap takeover, despite having never spent any time in a southern state.
“I just want to make fun music, because who doesn’t like to have fun?” — BIG SPOON
But BIG SPOON is eager to represent his home.
“I’m trying to put Hong Kong on the map. I want to help take Hong Kong rap to the next level. We got the food game on lock, the airsoft game on lock, the e-commerce game on lock, the banking game on lock, time to take the music game over like we did in the ’80s and ’90s. Eskeddit, shout out Lil Pump.”
(Author’s note: that’s “let’s get it”, as spoken by 17-year-old SoundCloud rapper Lil Pump.)
What’s next for the uber-relaxed BIG SPOON?
“There’s gonna be more songs and videos coming out. Might do a country song. Might get more ignorant, or might mess around and get my conscious, multisyllabic New York rap on. Too early right now for an album or a mixtape.”
The future is bright, if unclear, for BIG SPOON, and we’re psyched to see what’s next.
As a footnote, here are all the shoutouts given by BIG SPOON in the video and in our interview, in chronological order:
Kool G Rap
Jedi Mind Tricks
God (the deity)
Quantum Physics (the science)
Archaeology (the study)
Dragon Ball Z
Space (outer space)
Three 6 Mafia
Goth Boy Clique
Fresh Kid Ice
Thugger (Young Thug again)
Lewis (My guy Lewis was hating hard, he posted like four times in the comments saying I was dumb and I should be more like J Cole. Lewis, I see you, might name a song after you, make sure to show your friends.)
Be an early adopter and follow BIG SPOON on Instagram: @bigspoonbigspoon