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Well, Migos are Now Judging China’s Biggest Rap Competition

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It’s the curve ball no one saw coming.

In an unprecedented meeting of international hip-hop currents, smash hit TV show Rap of China has just unveiled trap supergroup Migos as judges on its comeback season.

The American Idol-style rap competition smashed records and surprised everyone when it debuted last year. It single-handedly launched a renaissance of Chinese hip-hop culture, and jump started the genre’s momentum in the mainland.

But despite its overwhelming success, Rap of China’s renewal for a second season was up in the air for a long time. The show fell directly under the weighty axe of government culture mandates (honestly, it was also the catalyst for those mandates) during the much-talked-about “hip-hop ban.” Artists deemed in conflict with the Party’s values, and specifically those who represented hip-hop music, were removed from TV. Performers or guests with tattoos were also victims of the wide-reaching ban.

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Well, look what we have here. Not only is Rap of China back in full force, but it’s back with MIGOS. The tattoo-clad representatives of hip-hop culture make it pretty much clear: the hip-hop/tattoo ban should be taken with the grainiest grain of salt.

The US trio will be casting their collective eye over the contestants in the “North America competition section” – because, yes, for its second season Rap of China is going international, at least in the search for contestants. For the main show, a few judges from season one will also return (Kris Wu, Will Pan, and MC Hotdog are all back), along with some new faces (MC Jin, who appeared in season one as a competitor, and Shanghai-born Hong Kong-based pop singer G.E.M. are both on the roster).

The show’s English name is staying the same, but the Chinese name is changing from 中国有嘻哈 (“China has hip hop”) to 中国新说唱 (“China’s new rap”), most likely as some off-angle way to stay on the good side of China’s moody media arbiters.

Whatever. The point is, MIGOS ARE JUDGING RAP OF CHINA. It’s wild. It’s lit. Pipe it up. That way. We’ll update you as soon as we hear more.

Related:

The Rap of China Exposes Generational Fault Lines Among Chinese Youth

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.