Music scenester Junkie.T, along with local Hip Hop crew Wild$tyle Records put together a packed Christmas event at Kowloon’s underground music venue XXX on December 25th. The party brought together a new generation of Hong Kong MCs who performed their own original songs, freestyled over well-known instrumentals, and rhymed along to contemporary hits.
The recent success of artists like Seoul’s Keith Ape and Jakarta’s Rich Chigga have removed the glass ceiling for Asia’s Hip Hop artists and emboldened aspiring crews. Although frequently derivative of other MCs, the success of performers like Keith Ape are an important milestone that prove that an Asian MC can gain recognition on the international stage.
The journey to having your own individual style often begins by first emulating others. Hong Kong’s Hip Hop scene has been stagnant for many years, but it’s finally showing signs of life.
For some reason, MCs in Hong Kong rarely rhyme over popular instrumentals at parties – which is standard practice pretty much everywhere else in the world. Despite its early exposure to Hip Hop culture, for decades, Hong Kong has failed to develop on many levels. Perhaps Cantonese is more difficult than other languages, but that doesn’t fully explain it.
Maybe parties have previously been more DJ-centric, with less of a focus on MCs? The reason that rhyming over popular beats is a tried-and-true activity is that people naturally respond to instrumentals that they are familiar with. While you have them grooving to a well known beat, you can slip your own lyrics in.
Hong Kong Hip Hop is evolving… finally!
Recent years have brought more diversity to Cantonese Hip Hop. The Christmas party, which was actually billed as a Trap music event, demonstrated that the scene is finally evolving, reaching more people, and getting crowds excited. Check out a few scenes from the night in our exclusive video below.
The atmosphere at XXX was reminiscent of Seoul’s Cakeshop club, which is a popular proving ground for Korea’s next generation Hip Hop groups. The party had a strong posse-behind-the-decks vibe that’s similar to what Cakeshop is known for, with a dozen people partying and dancing in the DJ booth.
While Hip Hop is thriving in Asia, some places ‘get it’, localize it, and make it their own, but others offer little more than hollow caricatures of what outsiders believe Hip Hop is. Laden with cliches and stereotypes, they adopt the swagger and consumerist sentiment, without any of the innovative cool, creativity, or verbal dexterity that makes Hip Hop so appealing.
2017 may be the year that Hong Kong finally gets an act on the international scene. The right original beat along with a sophisticated video might just do the trick. We’ll keep you posted!
UPDATE: The second party in the “TRAP HOUSE” series is taking place on January 20th, with a major lineup of DJs! For more info, have a look at their new Facebook event.
Trap House – MC Young Queenz birthday bash
feat. Arthur Yeti, Enso Baby, Junkie.T, Madre and friends
Unit 2A, Kin Luen Factory Building, 89-91 Larch Street
Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong