From the Red Rap Vaults: “I don’t read magazines, I read Marx”


This week’s photo theme is Red Raps: stills from recent hip-hop videos with “red” (read: patriotic) themes.

This sleeper hit has made the rounds a few times since dropping last year, but we feel it fits our weekly theme too snugly to avoid mentioning now, even though the title, “Marx is a Post-’90s (馬克思是個九零後)”, is a little awkward in translation.

Post-’90s (90后) refers to people born after 1990, and is a commonly used generational marker in Chinese society, distinguishing the youth of today from those post-’80s and post-’70s dinosaurs. (In fact, things are moving so fast that it’s common now to see the phrase “post-’95” thrown around, really driving home the granularity of China’s youth micro-cultures.) In very loose terms you might also understand the title as something like “Marx is a Millennial.”

Anyway, the “Marx is a Post-’90s” rap was initially posted to an official social media account of the Communist Youth League (where all these songs seem to originate) last March, and written by a young woman named Zhuo Sina, who told the paper Beijing Youth Daily at the time (as translated by Sixth Tone): “If this song could change students’ attitudes toward Marx and prompt greater willingness to learn about Marxism, then I think that’s a good thing.”

The song includes lines like I don’t read magazines, I read Marx and I was born in the 1990s / I am your Bruno Mars / But you are my Venus / My dear Marx, and you can stream it in full here:

RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.
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