Editor’s note: This guest mix is brought to us by Yeo, a Melbourne-based, Malaysian-Australian producer who’s made a name for himself in recent years through his unconventional keytar-and-bass setup and wry lyricism. RADII is happy to premiere his latest full-length, Recovery Channel: “a musical recollection of Yeo’s experience as a person of colour struggling to find confidence, a place to belong, and proof of his own humanity.”
In recent years, Yeo has increased pan-Asian and diaspora collaborations, exploring different music scenes across Southeast/East Asia, working behind the scenes with Charlie Lim and other Asian acts, and performing at festivals in Singapore, Iceland and Australia. Below, he shares with RADII an exclusive mix that touches on some of his pan-Chinese influences, from Mandopop to Australian DIY to 88rising group jams to one of our favorites in the game right now, Bohan Phoenix. Listen below and read on for an annotated tracklist from Yeo:
1. Tia Ray feat. Kehlani – “浪漫主義”
Ironically, my introduction to Mandopop began here, when one of my American R&B favorites toured through China and penned a duet in impressive Mandarin with one of China’s favorites from the new generation.
2. Milan Ring – “Drifting”
Milan Ring describes herself as Chinese, Indian and Australian. Upon hearing this song and reading her bio, everything was immediately relatable — her music, her influences, her work ethic and her story.
3. 88rising, Higher Brothers & HARIKIRI feat. Goldlink – “Nothing Wrong”
88rising is arguably the best-known current proponent of Asian artists in the Western world. This song pulls together a producer from the UK, a rapper from the US and rappers from Sichuan, sending them on a fast beat-switching journey.
4. Yeo feat. Charlie Lim – “By Myself”
Two sad Chinese boys from different English-speaking locales sing a duet about their feelings. Though we live far apart, it doesn’t feel that way. I’m connected to Charlie in many ways — culturally, philosophically, musically, and we love the same Asian junk food.
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5. Bohan Phoenix feat. Harikiri – “Bbssyygg”
By the force of his own existence, multi-lingual rapper Bohan Phoenix is hyper-aware of the complexity of an identity inherited by those in between Eastern and Western worlds. His bars exhibit contemplative depth, while his interviews imply a healthy understanding of the appropriation of Black music in Asia and the contexts in which it occurs.
6. Rainbow Chan feat. Moldy – Love Isn’t Easy
Rainbow is an inspiring figure amongst East Asian artists in Australia. This smouldering single is only a small example of the Rainbow’s DIY-driven, multi-disciplinary talents. She’s very open about her work being influenced by her heritage, and effortlessly vocalizes in Cantonese, Weitou, Mandarin and English.
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7. Melodia Kong feat. 鄧鼓 – “直覺”
This is my favorite song by an up-and-coming Chinese artist signed to Hong Kong label Fu Music. Melodia’s debut album was released earlier this year, and features the production and co-writing of Khalil Fong’s JTW.
8. Ty. feat. Higher Brothers – “功成名就”
Rappers from the recently-disbanded CDC (Chengdu Rap House) collaborate on a tune that has avoided China’s well-known censorship policies to hit phone screens and speakers across the globe. I’ve been listening to so much trap I almost forget they’re rapping in Mandarin.
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9. EXO – “Overdose”
A throwback to the prominent K-pop boy band featuring Chinese artists Kris Wu, Lay, Lu Han, and Z. Tao. At the time, EXO had split into EXO-K and EXO-M for the ambitious purpose of capturing multiple markets by releasing songs in both Korean and Mandarin, respectively.
10. Giraffage feat. Harrison Lipton – “19 Hours”
Charlie Yin grew up as a Taiwanese in San Jose, California. An unassuming electronic producer who started in chiptune, he now lights up huge rooms with the best of the West. His career reads enviably for budding computer music nerds of Asian heritage in Western circles all over the globe.
11. 88rising, Joji, Higher Brothers, Rich Brian & AUGUST 08 – Midsummer Madness
The breakout hit capturing the essence of this mix’s concept. Chinese rappers share a track with Indonesian, Japanese and American artists. There’s an amazing duality to this track — while it resonates with nostalgia and heady emotion, it still feels no deeper than a group of chill people getting together to do what they love.
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12. 唐貓SUGARCAT feat. Outlander – “12345”
It’s all about silky vocals, lush harmonies and live wonky-beat on this delicate R&B tune. Even though they’re halfway across the globe, SUGARCAT clearly grew up listening to what I did — glorious amounts of Mariah Carey and D’Angelo.
13. Kris Wu – “Hold Me Down”
Shuttled between Vancouver and his birthplace of Guangzhou, Wu Yifan aka Kris Wu eventually auditioned for SM Entertainment and moved to South Korea to be a part of K-pop giant EXO. Wu is now an award-winning actor and solo artist.
14. Vinida – “主角”
Vinida’s vocal tone drips confidence. She began her career producing her own music in the underground rap scene of Makeng before gaining a huge platform on music reality TV. Her work is vital in the slow transformation of a male-dominated music industry.
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15. Ren Kai – “Un Sueño”
Ren Kai is a Chinese-Ecuadorian artist residing in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. His lyrics are served in Spanish over Latin-flavored production, but it was performing in China that helped him realize his dream: to bring Latin music to the Asian region. Ren is fluent in English, Spanish and Mandarin, and has active listener-bases in Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Peru.
16. Karencici – “傻眼了”
A Chinese-American artist active in China, Taiwan, South Korea and now Singapore, Karencici’s experience belies her age. Introduced to the world of show business at a young age, her style has evolved in parallel with her self-discovery, from dark rock to hip-hop, R&B and dancehall.
17. Far East Movement feat. Lay – “Lovebird”
Lay reworks the melody from Spin Doctors’ Two Princes to make a simple, feel-good earworm with Far East Movement. Asian artists combining Western pop sensibilities with music that has Latin and Jamaican roots. What a world we live in.
18. Cloud Wang feat. Dragon Pig – “WANT IT”
This song, clearly borrowing from the American stylings of DJ Mustard, is reflective of Cloud Wang’s path. After graduating from New York University with a music degree, Cloud Wang turned down several offers from record labels and returned to China to work on his own projects.
Find Recovery Channel by Yeo on all channels here.
More RADII mixes:
City Mix: Heady Brew from Chengdu
Here’s Your Go-To Chinese Love Song Playlist
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