If you’ve following along with RADII’s coverage of the history of rap in China, you might remember that the first nationwide hip-hop event in the country was Iron Mic, a battle series launched in 2002 by Detroit native Dana “Showtyme” Burton. Beginning with MC Webber, Iron Mic has coronated an entire generation of pioneering hip-hop royalty in China, and Burton now looks set to jumpstart a second life for Iron Mic by introducing it to Stateside audiences.
Iron Mic will represent in Burton’s hometown for tomorrow’s 2019 Detroit China Festival, the second edition of an annual event presenting Chinese culture through food, drink, and “genuine modern Chinese music and culture.” The long-running Chinese battle franchise makes its US debut with a four-hour showcase of rappers from China and the US sharing the stage as Detroiters soak in other unexpected elements of contemporary Chinese culture. Speaking with local news publication Hour Detroit, Burton said:
“When people think Chinese culture, they’re thinking about the 19th century… We’re trying to show modern Chinese culture, and hip-hop is one of the fastest-growing genres in the country right now.”
Iron Mic makes its US debut at the 2019 Detroit China Festival on Saturday, September 21 — full info on that here. And click on the links below for more on this history of rap in China from RADII:
The History of Rap in China, Part 1: Early Roots and Iron Mics (1993-2009)
The History of Rap in China, Part 2: Hip Hop Goes Mainstream (2010-2019)
Cover photo: an Iron Mic battle at now-defunct Beijing venue Yugong Yishan (photo by Marcel Münch)
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