Rap­pers bring real China to the world

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHENNAN in Bei­jing chennan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

CD Rev, a rap group from Chengdu, Sichuan province, is ex­pected to re­lease a new sin­gle, This Is Our Gen­er­a­tion, in Oc­to­ber, a sign of the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of us­ing rap to ex­plain China to the out­side world.

The group’s ear­lier song, This Is China, be­came an online sen­sa­tion af­ter it was re­leased in June.

This is China, in which group mem­bers talk about why they love the coun­try, has been viewed more than 10 mil­lion times. The fourmem­ber hip-pop group also has about 100,000 fol­low­ers on Sina-Weibo, China’s Twit­ter-like social plat­form.

“Re­gard­less of all the prej­u­dice in the past, to­day I wanna re­store the im­pres­sion you have onmy coun­try, China.” So be­gins This Is China, which touches on is­sues that China faces, such as air pol­lu­tion, food safety and cor­rup­tion, and de­clares: “We love the coun­try. … The red dragon ain’t no evil, but a peace­ful place”.

Some view­ers have com­mented on how they are im­pressed by the group’s mu­si­cal tal­ent. Oth­ers say it is laud­able that the group speaks the truth about the coun­try’s prob­lems while re­main­ing pa­tri­otic.

For the up­com­ing sin­gle, CD Rev has gath­ered six ad­di­tional rap­pers, rep­re­sent­ing six Chi­nese cities, to spot­light the coun­try’s youth.

“Our goal is not to be­come big stars or celebri­ties. What we want is to set good ex­am­ples of the post-1990 gen­er­a­tion, mem­bers of which will be­come China’s driv­ing force,” Wang Zixin, the band’s 23-year-old singer-song­writer, told China Daily over the week­end.

Hip-hop bands such as Dragon King, a Bei­jing­based trio, will per­form on CD-Rev’s This Is Our Gen­er­a­tion.

“We didn’t ex­pect all the at­ten­tion. We joked that ifwe could pre­dict the pop­u­lar­ity, we would have shown our faces clearly in the video,” said Wang of This Is China, in which he and his fel­low rap­pers ap­pear with their faces painted in the style of Pek­ing Opera masks.

“We love the coun­try and we want to make a change,” Wang said.

Li Yi­jie, an­other CD Rev rap­per, who grad­u­ated as an English ma­jor from Sichuan Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity, wrote the lyrics in English be­cause the band wanted to di­rectly com­mu­ni­cate with for­eign au­di­ences in the four-min­utesong.

CD Rev uses rap to show the world the real China, Li said. The band wants to de­liver more than pa­tri­otic songs, hop­ing to re­flect youths’ at­ti­tude to­ward social is­sues.

Other than This Is China, the group has re­leased a dozen songs since its in­cep­tion in 2015. Wang, who grad­u­ated from Sichuan Uni­ver­sity of Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, had the idea of found­ing the rap group with like­minded friends, all of whom

"...What we think in a pos­i­tive way shows in our rap.” Wang Zixin, singer-song­writer for rap group CD Rev

are in their early 20s.

“How we look at the world and what we think in a pos­i­tive way shows in our rap,” Wang said.

“Rap can be so cool, even when it’s about a se­ri­ous is­sue,” he said, adding that he lis­tens toWestern rap­pers such as Jay-Z and 2 Chainz.

With the ex­po­sure toWestern cul­ture, young peo­ple in China have in re­cent years used rap as a way to ex­press in­di­vid­u­al­ity and iden­tity.

“In­stead of us­ing ex­plicit lyrics, young Chi­nese rap­pers write in a unique style, telling sto­ries about their daily lives,” said Li Haiqin, founder of Hip-Hop Fu­sion, an or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong province, that pro­motes Chi­nese hip-hop.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chengdu-based rap group CD Rev has be­come an in­ter­net sen­sa­tion with This Is China.

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