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Controversial Rapper PG One Returns… Kind Of

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PG One! Long time, no see. The co-champion of iQIYI’s first Chinese hip-hop music variety show, The Rap of China, who boasts 4.09 million followers on microblogging platform Weibo, had disappeared on the internet for over three months after his 2015 track was criticized by the Communist Youth League in January following rumors of a tryst with actor Li Xiaolu, wife of actor Jia Nailiang.

On April 21, PG One deleted all of his posts on Weibo. Three days later, on his 24th birthday, he posted a video of a new a cappella rap, officially announcing his return.

“It’s been so long. And there were a couple of times that I wanted to say something, wrote it half-way and deleted it in the end. I was lost and confused for a while, back then I had so many questions, I didn’t know who to ask; I didn’t know if they would be answered, either. The a cappella was written on my way back to Xi’an [the city where PG One’s rap crew, HHH is from], and it’s been three months since then. Now my mindset has grown a lot […] I gained so much popularity and support, but I didn’t know how to put the influence in a positive direction, and just focused on my own professional improvement, to let Chinese rap be heard by the whole world. When I could do nothing but think, I understood that I should take more responsibility; I should guide the fans who like for me to do something for the world besides focusing on music […] Let go of the things I cannot figure out, and ignore the people who I can’t see clearly. Persevere in the thing I work hard for, all my life till the end. Let’s meet in my music — let it speak for me.”

In his a cappella, PG One raps about his family, school life, his poor economic situation in early life, and all he went through after he became famous and was on the receiving end of a swift and severe backlash:

Maybe you don’t know me at all, and you only know me through the online scandals

No one wants to know the truth, after all, it didn’t happen to you

I’m just an ordinary rapper who is still learning and growing… After I became famous, in which song did I curse? Which song is not positive?

Dirty mouths underground; Evil hearts on the ground

Good person does a bad thing, and is criticized by ten thousand people; Bad person does a good thing, and the whole world moves 

It’s a heartfelt track. But unfortunately not everyone seems ready to “meet in the music” or “let it speak” — his Weibo post, along with an accompanying video, were quickly taken down by the platform, “according to related laws and policies.”

Although not before the video had made it out onto YouTube:

Back on the Chinese internet, Uncle Xiaoqiang, a professional hip-hop music blogger, writes about how difficult it is to post anything related to PG One and his music online here in a recent article (link in Chinese): “It’s impossible to upload his music on big platforms like 163 Music, Xiami, or QQ Music. It doesn’t even work to upload his music video on Sina Weibo or Tencent Video.”

Ironically, the official Sina Entertainment Weibo account reported PG One’s return on Sina Weibo, although that post cannot be found anymore, either:

PG One’s fans have stood by him anyway. They recently followed in the digital footsteps of TF Boys fan groups by getting their idol’s photos onto the NASDAQ screen near Times Square in New York as a birthday present:

Source: Weibo

It seems PG One faces a tough comeback trail, if he can come back at all. But we wish him luck with it — and to Chinese hip hop in general in these trying circumstances.

More background on China’s hip-hop “ban” and the subsequent fall out:

“Rap of China” star BrAnT B Goes Solo as His Former Crew Beefs with Label Modern Sky

After the “Hip-Hop Ban”, Chinese TV Turns to Street Dancing Shows

Rapper GAI Abruptly Removed from Reality Show Following Reported New Hip-Hop Ban

Has China Really Banned Tattoos From Music Festival Stages?

Fan Shuhong
    Shuhong (aka Rita) is a language instructor, English/Chinese translator, writer, and proud bunny owner based in Beijing. She's previously worked in Washington D.C. and IUP at Tsinghua University. She loves Chinese language, Japanese arts, post-rock music and good English TV series. Instagram: rita_van