Aire and Nawukere weren’t the first rappers from Xinjiang to make it to the Rap of China finals. After Journey, a Han Chinese MC born in the region, finished third at the end of season one of the hit show, bringing him nationwide fame.
Recently, he took a trip to London to discover more about the UK capital’s grime scene. After Journey’s, err, journey was documented by a film crew and you can now find the results on YouTube with English subtitles. The four episodes (all embedded below and only around 5 minutes each) follow him as he hangs out in stairwells, visits pirate radio stations, and generally discovers more about the “cousin of hip hop” made famous by the likes of Wiley and Skepta.
He also records with a couple of grime MCs, including Blakie — who he teaches a few words of Mandarin to at Lolingo’s Bed Room Studio — and Cadell (Wiley’s younger brother), making for some interesting cross-cultural collaboration. His work with the latter results in “2 Much”, a song that’s being called “the first Chinese grime track” and which gets played on the BBC’s 1extra radio station.
And here’s the final track with Cadell, entitled “2 Much”:
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