Always on the hunt for hot Chinese rap? Here’s pointing you in the direction of Humble Swag, the new solo album by Higher Brothers member Masiwei. The album dropped on April 13, about a month after the artist released his opening single ‘Streets Need This Shit,’ a whimsical reflection on the contrast between work and play.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by MASIWEI (@masiwei1993)
A post shared by MASIWEI (@masiwei1993)
Humble Swag is Masiwei’s third solo album, and it solidifies his status as an influential rapper in both the Chinese and international music scenes. Its 16 tracks range from trap to old school and melodic R&B, and Masiwei’s signature rapping — flavored with the Sichuanese dialect and crisp beats — acts as the thread that holds them together.
Released concurrently with the album, the official music video for the LP’s namesake track serves as a ‘lookbook,’ as garments from high fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and the artist’s own brand, A Few Good Kids, are paraded in succession.
A homage to hip hop classics, the ‘Humble Swag’ music video opens with a glitchy vortex — an allusion to A$AP Mob’s Yamborghini High — while the video’s whirling effects and shifting frames bring ‘A$AP Forever’ by A$AP Rocky to mind.
In another scene (shown below), Masiwei hangs upside down from the ceiling — a shoutout to 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ music video from 2003. One of the rapper’s outfits, a striking white tuxedo and matching hat, is also clearly a tribute to hip hop legend Puff Daddy (or Puffy, Diddy, Puff Daddy, or whichever of his names you prefer).
A frame from Masiwei’s ‘Humble Swag’ music video juxtaposed with an iconic scene from 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club.’ Screengrabs via Weibo and YouTube
For fans of Higher Brothers, Humble Swag proves that the rap group’s members are still making music together — if Chengdu Corp’s lit 2022 cypher wasn’t proof enough.
Masiwei’s fellow Higher Brothers members — KnowKnow, Melo, and Psy P — appear on the album’s 14th track, ‘你我几兄弟’ (‘You and Me Are Brothers’), which is also the group’s first joint effort since their 2020 single ‘Empire.’
The album also boasts other notable collaborations with artists such as rapper thomeboydontkill from rising collective DigiGhetto and pop singer Tia Ray.
As a pleasant surprise, the end track ‘Atlantis’ features Shanghainese rapper Gali, who enjoyed a quick rise to fame thanks to the talent show Rap of China in 2020.
Although Gali only released his first solo album, also titled Atlantis, last February, his appearance on Masiwei’s Humble Swag proves that the artist is far from a one-hit-wonder.
Stay up-to-date with China’s hot music releases via RADII’s SoundCheck podcast:
Cover image via Weibo
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