The Chinese Rap Wrap is a bi-weekly RADII column that focuses on the Chinese hip hop scene, featuring the freshest talents, hottest new tracks, and biggest beefs from the world of Chinese rap.
Boss X, aka Fat Shady or Xie Di — perhaps best known for his “Stupid Foreigners” track — and his Chengdu-based crew CDC, have been the center of attention this week. On May 22, completely out of the blue, almost all of the crew’s stars announced they were dropping out of the long-running rap crew to focus on “future development”. This included Higher Brothers member DZ KNOW, locally beloved group ATM, well-known rapper Ty., and Sleepy Cat.
Another prominent member, Wang Yitai (aka 3Ho), didn’t post the announcement like the others, but instead posted Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Weibo and wrote the lyrics “Carry on/Carry on as if nothing really matters/Easy come/Easy go.”
The CDC official account confirmed that the groups and the rappers will be responsible for themselves in the future, changing the CDC bio to simply read “Goodbye”.
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The underground scene reacted with shock. But it turns out Boss X was probably the one behind it, and this might just be the first step in a major plan…
Boss X has been actively responding fans’ messages on his Instagram account after moving to LA — apparently, a new page in his life and his career is about to be unfolded. The date of June 18 has repeatedly appeared in his public posts, as well as the legendary US hip hop label Death Row Records. Among the exposed messages, he mentioned a hotpot restaurant to be opened in Los Angeles, a CDC Cypher in 2020, a potential collab with Eminem (so Fat Shady x Slim Shady), and called out snitches who reported him for “Stupid Foreigners“, which caused him to be banned from performing in Chengdu after it dropped two years ago.
In the meantime, Boss X has revealed his next move — offering a 1,000,000RMB reward for anyone who can fully transcribe and subtitle the music video of his latest Sichuanese/English track “Still CDC.” The dialect makes it an almost impossible mission, but the cash is tempting enough to have the music reposted and heard by tens of thousands of people. Quite a few WeChat groups have been built to work on the task in teams. However, only one 25-person group has received any money so far — they were given a 10,000RMB reward for their work (which still included 30 mistakes).
No matter what Boss X gets up to next, he clearly hasn’t lost the art of promotion.
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Elsewhere, CDC’s geographical neighbors, Chongqing rap crew GOSH, recently joined Higher Brothers and Nanjing-based pop rapper Jony J on the stage at music festival Rolling Loud on May 10-12 in Miami:
Hong Kong-based label b2 Music released the second volume of Urban Asia, a collaboration with VIBE which started last year 2018, in which 15 tracks from Asian hip hop musicians are featured.
The compilation includes Shanghai-based American-born rapper Al Rocco and Hong Kong pop rapper Jackson Wang’s “Bruce Lee”; Mike Rebel from LA, T-Pain and Wang Yitai’s “Paint Me in God” (watch below); DJ/rapper/producer Dell Harris from LA, bi-cultural rapper Bohan Phoenix, PSY.P (of Higher Brothers), MDSK-signed artist BENZO, Bloodz Boi and Young Lyxx’s “Look at Em(Remix)”.
Sichuan rapper and inaugural Rap of China co-champion GAI used to speak boldly and to look down on idol-transformed rappers. But after a brush with the authorities and some nationalistic tracks, GAI now seems set on making his way into the mainstream. His latest move in that realm? Releasing a track with former EXO member Z.Tao, “P.N.G” (No Pain, No Gain), and calling the K-pop star “bro” now.
Rap of China judge MC Hotdog dropped a surprising trap track “No Hip Hop Party” recently, in which the OG hopes to prove that trap flows can say something meaningful.
Speaking of Rap of China, filming is underway on the new series. Although the show has not yet aired, spoilers are already everywhere on the Chinese internet.
The rappers who survived the first audition all posted videos saying which mentors they want to team up with and the same slogan “Just Lit, No Fear.” There were other social media clues to what’s going on in the show too, as rappers who were posting from their hometowns rather than iQIYI’s studios have clearly been eliminated in the 1V1 battle rounds. This is the side effect of rappers’ more prominent appearances on social media — and of course on restrictions surrounding live broadcasting in China.
More underground competition Listen Up was also hit by Rap of China in the last few days. Key NG, member of international Chinese rap crew Walkin Dad (Walking Dead) and the champion of Beijing section this year, pulled out of the Listen Up finale on May 25 due to a scheduling conflict with Rap of China filming. Nevertheless, the founder and organizer of Listen Up, Come Lee, expressed his understanding and sent his best wishes to Key NG.
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Popular Xi’an-based rap crew HHH (Red Flower) has long been in a complicated relationship with PG One, the co-champion of Rap of China S1 but a fallen rapstar who has struggled to make it back into the public spotlight in the last year.
His problems have spurred some PG One fans to accuse other HHH members of not helping him enough amid the scandals and rumors surrounding him. The situation is complicated by the difficulty other HHH members face in offering public support for such a pariah figure. PG One has never said anything publicly against the crew members, but it’s clear they’re starting to tire of the attention.
“I’m Not an Idol, Call me a Rapper”: PG One Re-Emerges on WeChat
Recently, HHH’s leader Danko officially said goodbye to PG One and wished him luck. The crew/label have now also changed their name to GDLF (Good Life) Music, with a new crew track “AZ” featured on 19, a compilation put out by streaming company NetEase.
It seems that PG One is now officially on his own.
Cover photo: Fat Shady (Instagram)
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