Hip-hop’s prospects in China seem dim after Chinese rappers removed from TV shows

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/21 17:38:40

GAI Photo: IC

The latest episode of Hunan TV's singing competition show Singer aired Friday night. While usually contestants are kicked off the program after they fall to the bottom of the ranks, Chinese rapper GAI was conspicuously absent that night even though he was ranked at No.3. 

While the show - who was advertising the performer's appearance as late as Thursday - has not issued an official statement for why GAI did not appear, rumors are spreading on Chinese social media that the rapper has been removed from the show.     

Reports indicate that the decision to change Friday's line up was somewhat last minute.

According to a Friday report by entertainment news portal Sina Entertainment, the show's producer Hong Tao told media who were attending the filming of the latest episode on Thursday that they were behind schedule "because the replacement singer [Chinese mainland singer Li Quan] had only been informed last night [that he would be joining the show]."

Also lending credence to the rumors, the original January 12 episode featuring GAI that was available for streaming on Hunan TV's website has been replaced by an edited version in which all footage of GAI has been removed.

On Thursday morning, rumors that GAI, a contestant on the show, had been kicked off the program began circulating on Chinese social media.

Although it is difficult to determine where the rumor started, Hubei-based Chutian Metropolis Daily newspaper reached out to GAI's representatives on Thursday about the rumor and received confirmation that GAI would not be attending the latest filming of the show. Representatives, however, did not comment on whether GAI has been permanently removed from the show.

Providing possible evidence that the rapper has been permanently removed from the show, on Thursday afternoon Douban user Chenmo Ruhai posted a screenshot of what he claimed was a WeChat message from GAI saying "please pass this on to the heads of my fan groups so they can deal with fans' reactions… We respect the studio's decision and I am happy because my first performance was amazing…"

The post was later deleted, but screenshots of the post continue to circulate around Chinese social media.

Some netizens suspect that GAI's possible removal from the show may be tied to the recent negative press around hip-hop in China which started with Chinese rapper PG One. PG One's songs were removed from Chinese streaming platforms earlier this month after some netizens complained that his hip-hop song "Christmas Eve" insulted women and promoted drug use.

Some other recent changes to TV shows' programming line up does seem to indicate that hip-hop is coming under fire in China.

In the latest episode of variety show Happy Camp that aired on Saturday on Hunan TV, the show went to great pains to edit out all footage of another Chinese rapper VaVa, who was originally scheduled to appear on the show according to trailers earlier that week. In portions of the show where it would have been difficult to cut, the show's editors went so far as to cover the rapper's face with colorful special effects.

However, their efforts were not 100 percent successful as many viewers commented on the obvious cover up.

"Why is that girl's face being covered up?" one netizen posted during a segment in which the guest stars played a game of limbo.

"It looks like VaVa," commented another.

VaVa, as well as PG One, is a member of Triple H, or Hong Hua Hui in Chinese, one of China's most well-known underground rap groups. Songs from the group have also removed from Chinese streaming platforms recently after the PG One backlash.

At the time of this writing, GAI's songs can still be found on Chinese streaming platforms such as music.163.com.

Newspaper headline: Rap battle


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