Hip-hop's yet to find itself a dedicated home here in Beijing, though events pop up everywhere from School and Yugong Yishan, to Omni Space and even the Gongti clubs. Here are the crews and crooners to keep an eye out for.
A veteran of nearly two decades on the Chinese hip-hop scene, MC Webber's sound is classic hardcore jams, influenced by the sounds of the early '90s. His lyrics are abstract and he's dabbled in reggae, dubstep, drum 'n' bass and host of other genres. At his core, though, this guy's the OG of Chinese rap.
This young buck has been on the scene since he was 15. Supposedly mature now at 23, he’s still got that cheek, telling Time Out that ‘I write about stuff like sex and things that only exist in my imagination.’ He’s up a more alternative path than some of his counterparts, collabing with Do Hits producers in the past.
Accessible, California-style ska-rap with rich instrumentals. Shuangzi spits about the lives of people from his generation in China: 'the difficulties they meet, their sentiments, their joy – their psychological worlds,' he says.
Another OG on the Chinese hip-hop scene, Nasty Ray draws on the sounds of the early '90s East Coast. Think Big L, Nas, 2Pac, Notorious BIG and the like. That said, he 'use[s] the Beijing flavour to tell Beijing stories' – check out his track 'Tuanjiehu' for starters.
This gritty collective was founded by local rapper N-Bomb – voted one of 2016’s best rappers in Douban’s Abilu Music Awards – and also houses Saber, an artist active on the scene for a few years who’s just starting to make more of a splash, topping bills and heading off on his own national tour. Zhong.TV
reckons he could be the hottest thing coming out of Beijing right now.
For about five years now, this hip-hop party crew have been hosting (usually) monthly parties, and usually at Migas
, as well as other events. They’re led by Nasty Ray, an East Coast and old-school apostle à la Nas or Mos Def. Likely to benefit from the newfound interest.