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Asian hip hopSunday, Nov 2, 2008 6:42AM / Standard Entry / Members only
China and Taiwan Region
Main article: Chinese hip hop
The first Chinese rap song was done by Harlem Yu of Taiwan in the early 80s which was parallel to the early New York 80s rap songs. In the Early 90s L.A. boyz brought hip hop of the 90s from the US to Taiwan which then started the trend that spreads into Taiwan and the rest of the Chinese speaking world. The early Taiwan youth rap group like The Party and TTM were both participate underground and mainstream. In the late 90s Softhard and LMF in Hong Kong,has participate in Chinese hip hop/rap movement but since it was in Cantonese dialect it has not got that much publicity in both Taiwan and Mainland China(Mandarin speaking region). Whereas MC HotDog,Da Xi Men,Da Zhi of Taiwan have successfully started the hip hop trend that affect Mainland China. In mainland China the hip hop scene includes artists such as Hei Bomb (黑棒), Dragon Tongue (龙门阵) and Yin Tsang (隐藏), all of whom currently lead the genre and are gaining popularity with the youths. Other groupsinclude LMF and Dai Bing. The Chinese term for rap is Rau-she (Traditional Chinese:饒舌;or shuōchàng (Simplified Chinese: 说唱; "narrative", actually the name of a traditional genre of narrative singing). Breakdancing (called "jiēwŭ" (Simplified Chinese: 街舞) in Chinese, literally "street dance") has gained a lot of popularity among young Chinese as well.
Main article: Hong Kong hip hop
The Hong Kong hip hop scene debuted in 1988 from Softhard, then evolutionized in 1995 with the formation of LMF which was the first rap/rock group signed by a major record label, Warner Music. However, Hong Kong's audience usually recognise Hip Hop as Rap because of their lack of knowledge about Hip Hop music. The group consisted of ten core members, many of which were also in the bands NT, Screw, and Anodize. Despite the popularity of the now disbanded LMF, which gained mild success in the mainstream, hip hop music continues to remain underground, led by independent artists.
Nevertheless, the presence of hip hop music in Hong Kong in the shadows of Cantopop is strongly reflected by the collaborations between rappers such as MC Yan (from the now disbanded LMF) with pop artists such as Edison Chen. While some musicians try to introduce hip hop to the general audience, the life of the scene remains in the underground.
Main article: Japanese hip hop
Hiroshi Fujiwara, a famous musician and designer, is argued to have first started the hip hop era in Japan. The early years of Japanese hip hop was relatively weak due to record executives not wanting to pay huge venues for a different "taste" of music. However, visual forms of hip hop, such as break dancing and graffiti, sparked the first true rise of Japanese hip hop in 1983. The film, "Wild Style," incorporated various visual hip hop scenes in different areas of Japan. As years went on, 1994 and 1995 were the years in which hip hop became commercial. However, it was not until 2000 and later that hip hop skyrocketed all over the Japan, with Japanese records spreading around the world. Japanese hip hop (nip hop or j-hip hop) is said to have begun in 1983 when Charlie Angel's Wild Style was shown in Tokyo. The movie focused on graffiti artists but also featured some early old school MCs like Busy Bee and Double Trouble, DJs like Grandmaster Flash and breakdancers like the Rock Steady Crew. Following the showing, street musicians began to breakdance in Yoyogi Park. Crazy A soon emerged as a prominent b-boy, and he eventually founded the Rock Steady Crew Japan, while DJ Krush has become a world-renowned DJ after arising from the Yoyogi Park scene. More DJs followed, beginning in 1985. A year later, an all hip hop club opened in Shibuya. There was some hesitation at the time that the Japanese language, due to the lack of stress accents and highly variable verb endings, might prove unsuited for rapping. A few rappers emerged, however, including KG kun, Ito Seiko, Chikado Haruo, Tinnie Punx and Takagi Kan.
In the 1990s, teen-oriented J rap music appeared, and hip hop entered the Japanese mainstream. The first hit was Scha Dara Parr's "Kon'ya wa Boogie Back". The following year saw "Da.Yo.Ne." and "Maicca" by East End X Yuri go platinum. Economically, while the 90s were a time of boom, the new millennium saw a great economic recession for Japan. According to Social Science Japan Journal, unemployment "reached its highest recorded level of 5.4% in 2002. Unemployment increased particularly among youths; the unemployment rate of those aged 20–24 peaked at 12.8% in 2003...Japanese youth unemployment spiked since jobs for young people were slashed to protect the jobs of middle-aged and older workers in Japanese firms."  Young adults who came of age in with hip hop and entered the workforces in the early 2000s developed a very special relationship with hip hop because of tough economic times. In his book Hip Hop Japan, Ian Condry explains how groups like King Giddra and the underground group MSC developed lyrics that both spoke the truth of the youth of Japan and gave a venue for young people to unite, "transforming the slogans of politicians and economic reformers into a language and style appropriate to today's Japanese youth."  The very political nature of hip hop called youngsters to rally together for structural reform (kozo kaikaku) shows how Japanese hip hop, like early hip hop in the South Bronx, "functions as part of a public debate questioning mainstream political values." 
Lately hip-hop in Japan has split into two forms: normal, "hardcore" Japanese hip-hop, and the somewhat "weaker", more R&B influenced J-Urban. The group most commonly cited as the originator of J-Urban music is the group m-flo (AKA "mediarite flo). Originally composed of a single Japanese DJ (DJ Taku) and a single Korean-Japanese emcee (Verbal), they combined with a singer named LISA who is of Peruvian-Japanese descent. Their debut album, Planet Shining was released in 2000, and since then, many J-Urban acts such as Crystal Kay, AI, Heartsdales, and even collaborations with popstars like Namie Amuro and BoA. Other popular J-Urban acts like RIP SLYME have worked with m-flo.
Hip Hop in Japan is based to a large extent on the hip hop culture in America. To some degree there is debate as to weather or not there is an authenticity about Japanese hip hop. Many of the Japanese hip hop movement followers put in strong efforts to be more “blackface” through tanning and various styles of dress. Despite this seeming mimicry of style, Japan has captivated hip hop and infused it with Japanese culture; this is evident in many Japanese hip hop music videos through elements of Eastern culture or through contrasts between Eastern and Western culture. 
Main article: Korean hip hop
In Seoul, the Korean hip hop scene has expanded into a form of cultural phenomenon. Some fans assert that Korean hip hop artists possess skills that can rival their U.S. counterparts. Notable performers include Jo PD, Drunken Tiger, and Epik High.
Many rap artists have been successful in the mainstream of Korean music. These include performers such as Jinusean, 1TYM, MC Sniper, Jo PD, and Epik High. Other lesser known underground artists who focus mainly on using non-flashy beats and lyrical skill include Quiett, MC Meta, PaloAlto, TBNY, and many more.
Korean American hip hop began in the United States in the mid 1990s, mainly attributed to the efforts of the Korean rapper duo Tiger JK and DJ Shine of Drunken Tiger. Drunken Tiger was created after the song "Black Korea" by Ice Cube and used music as a means of cultural exchange and as an attempt to promote racial harmony. Following the success of Drunken Tiger, many new groups and production companies emerged to further popularize the musical style. In order to represent the elite group of Korea's best rappers, Tiger JK and Drunken Tiger formed The Movement Crew (Dynamic Duo, Epik High, Leessang, Drunken Tiger, Eun Ji-Won, Tasha Reid, and more).
Main article: Filipino hip hop
Filipino rap is heterogeneous, encompassing rap in numerous languages such as Tagalog, Chavacano, and Ilocano, as well as English. The musical style has become as diverse as hip-hop music itself with such sub-genres as Kalye (Street), Masa (Commercial), Makabayang (Ethnocentric/Socially conscious), Gangsta, and underground rap. The Philippines is considered by many to have developed the first hip hop scene in all of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
The birth of Filipino hip hop music (or Flip-Hop or Pinoy Rap), occurred in the early 1980s with songs by Dyords Javier ("Na Onseng Delight") and Vincent Dafalong ("Nunal"). The genre developed slowly during the 1980s but soon hit the mainstream with Francis Magalona's debut album, Yo! which included the nationalistic hit "Mga Kababayan" (My Countrymen). Magalona, who rapped in both English and Tagalog became a pioneer in the genre and a superstar as a result. Mainstream stars rose to prominence in the Philippines, led by Michael V., Rap Asia, 'MC Lara and Lady Diane.
The beginnings of hip-hop culture in the Philippines can be attributed to several main factors; the innate of them being the heavy influx of American musical styles in that country as reflected in the widespread popularity during the 1960s of Motown artists The Temptations, The Supremes and The Jackson Five and later in the 1970s of Funk, Soul and Disco music. Bands such as The Commodores, The Gap Band, James Brown, Con Funk Shun, The Bar-Kays and Earth, Wind and Fire among many others received heavy rotation on Manila airwaves. The future importation of hip hop culture and music, similar to the previous genres mentioned can be credited to the direct contact Filipinos received with both Americans and Filipino Americans, or as they are commonly called balikbayans, stemming from the root words "balik" meaning to come back and "bayan" loosely translating into hometown or homeland.
The intimate relationship between hip-hop culture and the large Filipino American community along the United States West Coast naturally resulted in the exportation of rap music back to the Philippines. Numerous cassette tapes, videos, books and magazines concerning hip hop issues and popular rap artists would be sent out by Filipinos to family members back in the islands.
The towns and barrios surrounding the numerous American military bases that were scattered throughout that country such as Clark Air Base in Angeles City and Subic Bay Naval Base in Olongopo were among the earliest to be exposed to the culture; as contact with African-American, Filipino American and Latino servicemen resulted in some of the earliest exposure the locals had to the new musical genre.
Groundbreaking hip hop films such as Wild Style (1983), Breakin' (1984) and Krush Groove (1985) were also major influences; and as early as 1982 local breakdancing crews like the Angeles City based Whooze Co. International, with members consisting primarily from Clark Air Base, The Eclipse (whose former members included Francis Magalona, Dance 10's Darwin Tuason and current Federation Sounds' Glenn "Kico" Lelay), Info-Clash Breakers and Ground Control (members included Rap Master Fordy, later to be known as Andrew E. and Jay "Smooth" MC of Bass Rhyme Posse) became mainstays in local parks and malls in and around the Metro Manila area such as Glorietta Mall, which was an early hotspot for breakers. Several mobile DJ crews of the era included such names as the Rock All Parties Crew which emerged onto the scene only to produce such future Pinoy rap pioneers as Andrew E. and Norman B.
Main article: Malaysian hip hop
The Malaysian hip hop scene started in 1990s with groups such as 4U2C and KRU. Their so-called "Rap Music" wasn't accepted by the mainstream community and they had to changed to a more pop-ish sound. The Malaysian music scene was dominated by them until 1995-1996, when Poetic Ammo came out with their classic album It's a Nice Day to Be Alive. Their 1st hit, "Everything Changes" revolutionized the local music industry. There are groups from the underground scene that have established themselves such as Naughtius Maximus, but it was Poetic Ammo that made it big.
One of the powerhouses of hip hop in Malaysia is Too Phat, which consists of Malique and Joe Flizzow. They were signed to EMI International's Positive Tone division and produced their first hit album, Whutadilly and their 1st single was "Too Phat Baby" featuring Ruffedge. Their Plan B album was a hit, with songs such as "Anak Ayam" and "Just a Friend" featuring V.E receiving massive air play by local stations.
With Too Phat's success other underground groups such as Muchachaz, M.O.B and The Teh Tarik Crew have followed in their footsteps, eventually forming The Phat Family.
Hip-Hop in Singapore is slowly but surely getting its well-deserved recognition by the government and citizens alike. With numerous organizations using hip-hop as a channel to target youth, the musical genre and its elements are being embraced with much positivity. The Singapore hip-hop scene consists mainly of youth and a small number of working adults. Out of these, the majority choose to make themselves involved in the breakdancing & emceeing elements of hip-hop. DJs and graffiti artists are also making a name for themselves by means of competitions and showcases held locally & internationally. Most of these talents and their works can be found on their personal blogs, MySpace, Friendster & deviantART pages.
Desi Hip Hop / Hip-hop has become as vital to the cultural identity of young Desis as faith and language were to their parents. As a generation of South Asian Americans look to find their voice, hip-hop has become an expression of choice for those who feel alienated and frustrated by racism, classism and all the other -isms common to disaffected youth. But while many vented their frustrations vicariously by listening to mostly African American performers 10 years ago, a new group of Desis is taking the microphone and letting the world hear their perspectives.
Artists have emerged as the vanguard of the Desi hip-hop generation, taking the best qualities of South Asian identity and incorporating them into their lyrical expressions. But this is for the desis / Indian artists who have migrated to/ born in foreign lands only. Dominated by the Bollywood film industry, real hip-hop is yet to be experienced by those living in India. Even though there is quite an incorporation of hip-hop specially rap and the dancing style in the Bollywood film songs, there isn't a single good platform for a desi hop hop artist (from/ in India) at the moment. Artist like the United Desis (Mumbai) ]who are constantly making a diligent effort to represent and establish hip hop in India, are being over shadowed by the big budgeted, star studded Bollywood flicks
The International Ambassador of Hip Hop
The Taiwanese' Independent Ear to Hip Hop
By: Tun-jen Lim
I see Hip Hop has spread to every corner of the globe. In every continent, people rhyme in their language, which I feel is showing the growth of Hip Hop on an international level. But when you have a song written in French, it doesn't really help the Japanese Hip Hop heads feel the power of the culture down in Paris and vice versa. So the speech of Hip Hop that is most known when heard worldwide is in English.
There are now Jewish to Asian Hip Hop artists. nowadays. Most notably, after the Eminem run, is Jin of the Ruff Ryders. www.jinsite.com It was written in the Source Magazine he was the Asian Eminem, but that was self proclaimed by the Label Ruff Ryders, and we all know from hearing some of his project that he is no where near the blond bomber. As a matter of fact he is actually quite disappointing.
Other Asian artist are emerging quickly to fill the role of International Hip Hop Ambassador. We have to face the fact that the artists who aren't Ebony or Ivory, who have been pushed to the front lines with even major companies supporting them, have come up short of hitting that homerun to break Hank Aaron's record, so to speak. From that group come Smilez and Southstar (who are like a pop group) to the vanishing buzz of the www.mountainbrothers.com.
Though Def Jam Japan has great artists like Sphere of Influence and Dabo, you never hear about them on an international level since they rhyme in Japanese.
But one artist making a run for the triple crown of Hip Hop is Thailand's Shomori Pass . The Los Angeles-based emcee that is from Thailand maybe the next level of the emcee evolution. With all of his music being done in English, I feel he has the most appeal out of every artist I have mentioned and all the ones I didn't. The reason I say this is not because of the English appeal, but Shomori Pass simply has the rhyme skills and the metaphors to make you replay the CD once a verse has passed to the point where you probably won't even realize what he just said unless you're intoxicated or have an IQ score of 165. One thing holding him back is the beat selection, though he seems to bring the best out of the mediocre music that I've heard. But mark my word, if he ever gets with the likes of say, DJ Premier, It would be over.
As quickly as Hip Hop is spreading, artists in every country need to speed up the evolution process. Hip Hop should not be getting worse. There are a lot of Hip Hop fans to cater to, and they should not be let down. One of the only newcomers I see holding the torch in these rap Olympics is Shomori Pass. So my vote for the International Ambassador of Hip Hop will go to Shomori Pass because I don't see him letting Hip Hop fans down in The United States or Thailand. And let's face it - no one is really interested in "Learning Chinese" anymore.
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