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Higher Brothers Drop New Video, Announce February Release of 2nd Album “Five Stars”

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After a year spent building their brand overseas, Chengdu rappers Higher Brothers are kicking off 2019 with a brand-new, Made in Chinatown video for “Open It Up”, the second single off their forthcoming album Five Stars. Like the first single, “16 Hours”, the new track prominently features the group touting their frequent air travel between the US and China. Indeed, the dominant lyrical leitmotif on “Open It Up” is various observations the Bros have gleaned across their two North America tours last year. “I can watch YouTube without a VPN,” DZ Know acknowledges at the opening of the fourth verse, adding, “1, 2, 3, we have 3 Airbnb’s.” “Asian people only use chopsticks,” Melo notes a bit earlier on the track.

Masiwei, the group’s de facto leader, also rhymes Higher Brothers’ label “88rising” with “Michael Tyson” at one point, so there’s that.

“Open It Up” and “16 Hours” will both be included on Five Stars, the long-awaited full-length followup to HB’s 2017 breakout debut, Black Cab. Today’s video drop was accompanied by the formal announcement of a release date: February 22, putting the new LP out just as China (and presumably, San Francisco’s Chinatown, where the “Open It Up” vid was shot) pulls out of the Spring Festival freeze.

We’ll be here waiting for that with an ice cold Sprite in hand; until then, watch “Open It Up” and “16 Hours” below:

Cover image: 88rising WeChat

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.