Hate Or Love It But….Asian Rappers Are Revolutionizing Rythm & Poetry Sonically And Visually
Last week I had one those barbershop talks with my friend and contributor Miro Laflaga about Hip Hop and he pointed out something I never thought would come out of this: Asian rappers are slowly but surely running the genre!
Does it sound so far-fetched? Marshall Matters had a pass for now but the average Hip Hop fan couldn’t see this one coming. As a twitterverse-certified-5-stars-troll-expert once said:
The Internet ALWAYS Wins.
For the quote-unquote Hip Hop head that might feel like throwing a 1994 Illmatic cd case to my face, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Admit it or not, other rappers and even Wu Tang Clan had a thousand references to Asian culture.
I mean, do you think the ”36 Chambers Of Shaolin” was the name of a street in Staten Island? Was ”Thoia Thoing” was just R Kelly confessing some sexual crimes while he had hot sauce in his mouth?
Asian culture flirted with Hip Hop culture for a while but yet we still treat it as a side chick. Trap, Mumble Rap, Sentimental-Rap, Whatever-Kendrick-Lamar-Is-Doing-Rap, there are different waves in Hip Hop and Asian rappers are carving their own.
Don’t believe me? Let’s do a deep dive and get to the bottom of this phenomenon before it becomes ”The Thing”. We will introduce you to some current artists currently killing it and see how their sound and overall movement brings a new sauce to rap.
The Face Of A Movement
88 rising is more than a label, it’s a sub-culture in itself. Sean Miyashiro was able to tap into two things that became inseparable in the last 5 years: the internet culture and music.
With acts like Rich Brian (formerly known as Rich Chigga), The Higher Brothers, Joji and many more, he found a formula.
This formula consists of bridging the gap between East and West by implementing Asian culture references to Hip Hop. This is not your Netflix documentary going through the ABCs of what Asian rappers stand for.
It’s viral hits on top of viral hits. Funny, clever, catchy and visually stimulating to the point where even the Rakim fan in a rocking chair has to have an opinion about it.
Talking about shock value, I’ve found this hilarious video where our favorite rappers did a reaction video to ”Dat $tick” which was the first hit from Rich Brian.
If you’re not convinced yet, even Ghostface Killah felt like he should get his Tony Starks on the remix. Honorable mention to 88 rising for also creating the ”Harlem Shake” frenzy and for the months you hated your parents for doing it too.
The Good, The Dope And The Funny Visuals
Some Asian rappers could’ve played it safe and stick to the usual format for videos and music. We know the stereotype a little too well by now. A huge 20 stories project housing building, 30 scary looking dudes, a couple guns aiming at the cameraman and here you go.
For this new wave of artists, they bring you their culture in a creative–meme-worthy way while making your head bop crazy. Asian food, Asian hairstyles, Asian words here and there, Animes and references that make you want to know more. I mean you have to be a troll God to call your song ”Made In China” and drop the exact visuals of what we could think this song is about:
A Cultural Exchange
Do you want to know why we all get upset when Kim Kardashian rocks whatever-name-can-replace-the-term-cornrows? Because it doesn’t feel real or legit but yet she gets all the praise. With Asian rappers how easy would it be to point the finger and see them as culture vultures (bet Jeremy Lin and his dreads can tell you about it).
When you really think about it, Asian people stand in the second place of the podium in the ”They Robbed My Culture” Olympics. The same way we were all intrigued by what Kamehameha may mean and who was behind it, there are a lot of Asian kids on the other side of the planet that would eventually make us feel their mandarin version of ”Hate It Or Love It”.
Some Artists To Know
Killy might be the next big thing coming out of Toronto. An incredible ear for beats and he knows how to stay in his pocket through every track.
Even Montreal Has Its Own Wave Of Asian Rappers
Lil Lonely is an upcoming rapper from Montreal you need to check out. He’s that niche rapper that connects with his audience on a deeper level. Sonically different, and his Instagram feed is like an art gallery in itself!
CashWavey Boiz are Montreal’s very own Asian rappers duo. Underground still but they give us a glimpse of a potential takeover pretty soon. I’ve seen them perform live on stage and I had to tip my hat off to what they bring to the game and how they represent for the Asian community.
Myraï Lavoie Is Taking The Fashion World By Storm With The Glitch Fashion Show
Myraï Lavoie Is Creating Her Own Universe And You’re Invited
What I appreciate the most about my work is the fact that I get to meet great minds & humans with a powerful story and this time around, I got to cross path with the talented Myraï Lavoie.
The city has been quiet fashion wise over the years and as platform that mostly talked about fashion in its inception, we’ve felt it the most over here.
There would be sparks of hope here and there but besides Festival De Mode & Design, not a lot of things really stood out.
When I heard about ”The Glitch” it’s like I knew what it was about without nothing what it was about.
I mean good branding is good branding but it was more so who’s behind the good branding this time around. I had the chance to work with Myraï Lavoie in the past and one thing I can is : there’s a method to her madness.
Every artist has an eye and that eye is shaped by our views of the world and life experiences. Myraï had an interesting life.
One where being different is actually the move. One where if you don’t fit somewhere, you don’t try to get in the mold, you bend it.
For all the lack of support or misunderstand she got in Montreal, she found a place to be creative working or being in room with the likes of Paris Hilton & P. Diddy to name a few.
What she’s learned from coming out of her shell and experiencing the world she’s about the share it with us with her own fashion called ”The Glitch” tonight.
”The Glitch” is exactly what I thought it was going to be. A standout experience and experience and something you’ve never seen before just like its creator.
The 50th Anniversary Of Les Grands Explorateurs Presents A Touching Documentary Exploring Africa And Its Wonders
An Amazing Story by Amazing Creators!
Les Grands Explorateurs Is Celebrating Africa In A Real Way!
Curiosity has to be the most incredible human quality there is and Les Grands Explorateurs has been putting it on the forefront for the past 50 years!
We are now entering an era where we want to know more about what is going on on the other side of the world.
How people are living, their culture and what is their reality compared to ours.
Sometimes the depiction of such reality is either unfair or made to look down at somebody. Other times, filmmakers have the challenge to depict a reality in a way to uplift what other cultures are bringing to the table.
Milan Bihlmann and Muammer Yilmaz are two filmmakers who know where they stand when it comes to that.
”Rêves D’Afrique” is the epidemy of that. The two filmmakers decided to go to 7 countries in Africa to not only paint the picture for the world but to give the good people out there something we forget to give one another : ”a piece of yourself’.
Armed with a backpack, film gear and true altruism, the duo spread love and good deeds wherever they could throughout their trip.
Watch The Trailer
Les Grands Explorateurs being this platform to uncover the world made the right choice by adding this beautiful piece to their program.
Up until November 1st, you still have the chance to see the beautiful piece in theater and then online starting November 2nd.
Isabelle Mugwaneza Desmarais: An Unlikely Journey For An Unlikely Unique Success Story
A Change Is Coming…Finally?
I grew up in the 90’s and although we can only realize it now but seeing people like Isabelle Mugwaneza Desmarais striving in a space where not a lot of us do is what was missing this whole time.
Read More: Lobster Season Has Arrived And The Homard Gaspésien Is Still The Best You Can Find On The Planet
The thing about representation is that you won’t know you need it until you need it. As most of us were just looking at society, we didn’t see ourselves but also normalized it.
I think Isabelle saw something that we couldn’t see in ourselves. The truth is not at the extreme it’s right in the middle. The intersection between being different but also a part of the ecosystem was what she saw.
Representation is not about doing what’s right because it’s right but more so because it needs to be done.
Starting her career in the public sector wasn’t a thrill anymore. Then she did some soul searching and probably came to the conclusion we all come to at some point in our existence:
Life Is A Joke
For her it was literal though. She figured out that humor and the business around it was her calling so what was the first step? Becoming a comedian herself and teach a thing or two to Dave Chappelle?
What about producing your own show with up and coming artists? Well, for Isabelle Mugwaneza Desmarais the start of this new chapter was simple as getting a non-paid internship.
Just For Laughs became her new home and with that started her mission to be at the forefront of what the landscape in comedy was to become.
Through thick and thin, work and dedication, intuition and know-how, she pulled through and the big way too!
Isabelle Mugwaneza Desmarais became the director of ZooFest. With her pulse on the scene, she fought and pushed for upcoming talents that are more than just tanned.
We’re seeing more BIPOCs getting a chance on stage and I would like to believe that this is just the beginning.
Speaking of ZooFest, if you want to see for yourself how this festival has grown in diversity and get a good kick out of it. You still have the opportunity to do so tomorrow as the last day of the celebration
With french performers like Lenny M’Bunga, AZ, Marine Ella, Meryem Benoua, Ayoub Marceau & Hugo.
Live podcasting will also be a part of the last run of the show. In the corner of Jeanne-Mance & Maisonneuve, you can can get a good view, a good potential date, you get to see greatness in all shapes, size or color AND of course a good laugh!
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