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Travis Scott Picks Higher Brothers for “2K19” Soundtrack as Group Faces Basketball Beef Back Home

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Travis Scott is currently chilling. The rapper’s third studio album Astroworld was released to critical acclaim, and is now riding out the number two spot on iTunes. Things with baby mama Kylie Jenner are all good at the moment. And to top it off, Travis has been named Executive Producer on the NBA 2K19 soundtrack, having curated the playlist for the newest iteration of the iconic basketball game. One track on there that we weren’t necessarily expecting is “Chanel”, by Chengdu’s Higher Brothers.

Not like the Higher Brothers needed any boost to their culture cred, but the Travis Scott co-sign must still be a welcome surprise.

Higher Brothers have been rap’s favorite Chinese act for a long time. They’re the only ones that regularly hit collabs with America’s top rap talent (Famous Dex, Ski Mask the Slump God, Blocboy, etc.). Their mainstream industry approval really started with 88rising’s now-infamous “Rappers React to Higher Brothers” video, where Migos, Lil Yachty, and a host of other heavyweights geeked out watching the music video for “Made in China”.

Yet on the home front, rather than 2K19 accolades, the Brothers are facing basketball-related unease. It seems the HUPU sports forum is back (that’s the one that recently went viral for its community’s beef with Kris Wu), this time taking aim at Higher Brothers.

It started when HUPU posted a video to Weibo of the group at a Tencent event, featuring behind-the-scenes, unused vocal takes.

If that sounds eerily familiar, it’s because the format here is pretty similar to HUPU‘s recent criticism of Kris Wu for using autotuned vocals — just this time, without a juicy, controversial, ear-splitting track. HUPU‘s been getting a lot more attention since Kris Wu responded to their call out, and there’s speculation that this second beef might just be a publicity move trying to recreate the first one.

Alas, the Higher Brothers pretty much ignored it. Group member Melo was the only one to respond in earnest.

“Take care of your own business and leave us alone,” he wrote. “If you look down on us, you’re just there trying to douse us with cold water.”

After that, things just kind of kept devolving. Melo called out HUPU for deleting comments after the fact, and HUPU somehow counter-called-out Higher Brothers’ fanbase. Then Melo is like “nah don’t act all innocent, you know what you did”. It might be the most underwhelming whimper of a rap beef we’ve ever seen.

Seems like HUPU‘s just trying to stay in the limelight, and it’s kind of a reach. The international basketball community may be divided here, but maybe we can all just put our problems aside and come together over a warming game of NBA 2K19, featuring smash hit “Chanel” by the Higher Brothers.

Also check out:

Tone-deaf Kris Wu Vocal Track Ravages Chinese Social Media

China’s Hottest Female Rapper Makes Hollywood Debut on “Crazy Rich Asians” Soundtrack

Higher Brothers Unveil Remix by EDM DJ, Prepare to Board Luxury Cruise

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.

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