Hip-Hop in China?

Walking down a main street in Beijing, amid the pungent smells of stinky tofu and car exhaust, bicycles, scooters, and cars (so many cars), I saw exactly what I was looking for: a large sign that simply read “HIP HOP STORE.”

I want to know why hip-hop came across the world to flourish in China’s cities. I want to know why Chinese people have embraced it.

Hip-hop began in the United States in the late 1970s in the Bronx. It was born of a generation of young black and Latino kids who grew up being milk-fed empty promises of the post-Civil rights era. Hip-hop was a way for them to voice their dissatisfaction. It is arguably one of the most political forms of music the United States has ever produced. Even when it involved nothing more than a DJ with two turntables and a mixer reinventing Funk music on the streets of the Bronx, it was political. The heavy bass beat lends itself nicely to dancing, and there is something visibly political about people who suffer at the hands of social and economic oppression openly dancing in the streets.

Does this translate into Chinese? Is hip-hop here an organic counterpart to its American cousin?

As I walked in to the HIP HOP STORE I saw the racks are filled not with CDs, but with Levi’s, Zoo York, and Nikes, so it looks like modern commercialized American hip-hop. But a T-shirt and sneakers cost me under $50, so that certainly doesn’t feel like American hip-hop. Not to mention that the Nikes are festooned with dog hair.

I guess when it's all said and done, Chinese hip-hop is probably a lot like these sneakers: something that originated in the States but is undeniably tagged “Made in China.”

Are you ...

... somehow involved into/with Hip Hop?
Let me know. I am staying in Beijing until Jan 09 - maybe we have something in common.

Kop ***


...the HIP HIP STORE wasn't selling American music as much as it was selling an American lifestyle? Kind of interesting, don't you think. From this example, it seems that China might be dominating the global financial marketplace, but America is still growing strong in pop culture exports. Is that true for the rest of your experience?

Hope you find what you're lookin' for

What up gurl!? Looks like you stumbled on the right track. Hopefully you will find what you're looking for on the streets. If Hip-Hop all began as a way for people to express their strife, then China's as good a place as any to look for music bringing a culture together in uncertain times. Maybe you won't find exactly what you want; maybe what you find will be better. Stay safe. XOXO-Megan