Maybe it was all the lockdowns early in the year, but 2020 ended up being a highly productive year for Chinese musicians of all stripes — and if the first few days of the year are anything to go by, there are no signs of things slowing down for 2021.
The last few days have seen releases from controversial rappers Fat Shady and PG One, while Higher Brothers’ Masiwei has teased a new album, and Rap of China graduate-cum-RnB star Lexie Liu has also trailed a new single.
First up was Fat Shady, aka Bo$$ X, aka “that Chinese rapper who did the anti-foreigner song.” He dropped his Couple Hunnid Mixtape Vol 1 at midnight on December 31, marking one of the more significant announcements from him since he claimed to be working on a song with Eminem (still waiting on that).
Since then, he’s also offered a glimpse of a new music video to accompany track “4 Fingaz Up.” It’s as in your face as you’d expect given his previous form.
That was followed on New Year’s Day by another controversial figure on the Chinese hip hop scene dropping a new album. PG One, who was catapulted to fame as co-champion on the first season of Rap of China only to subsequently be scrubbed from the Chinese internet following a series of scandals, has been forced into releasing music pseudonymously via messaging app WeChat as routes to a comeback have been repeatedly blocked.
For his new album, Phaseless, he circumvented usual distribution channels again, this time releasing it as a limited edition USB over ecommerce site Taobao. The new 12-track “record” sold out in minutes.
We’re yet to track an official stream down, but here’s a slightly choppily-cut sampler:
Likely to follow more conventional release patterns is a new album from Higher Brothers heartthrob Masiwei. A post on the rapper’s Instagram promised a new single (entitled “Why”) on January 12 and a new album “real soon” as a follow up to last year’s Prince Charming.
Update: Here’s “Why,” which builds on the themes of Prince Charming with lyrics about lost love:
Chinese Rap Wrap: Higher Brothers’ Masiwei Drops Loved Up Solo Album
And also teasing new music via Instagram in the last couple of days was Lexie Liu. Although her big break came on Rap of China, she’s eschewed the “rapper” tag with her more recent releases as she gravitates toward pure RnB diva territory.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by ALGTR🐊 (@lexieliu_)
A post shared by ALGTR🐊 (@lexieliu_)
Her new track will be out January 11 and comes with the English name of “ALGTR,” though the Chinese name references stir-fried noodles (chow mein or chao mian). The cover image also looks like a Photoshopped film poster, so not really sure what to expect there, but Liu’s post also promises that a new EP is “coming soon.”
Update: Here it is — never mind RnB, she’s gone full electro-pop with this one, mixing in lyrics about going psychotic, stabbing eyeballs and macho men with typically arresting visuals courtesy of director Jeremy Z. Qin.
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