ARTS / MUSIC
Variety show pushes Chinese rap culture to new high
Published: Nov 02, 2020 06:08 PM

Chinese rapper GAI Photo: IC



Chinese variety show Rap for Youth aired its final episode of the season on streaming platforms on Sunday, drawing in an impressive audience. The show's huge viewership demonstrates how rap culture is booming in China once again. 

The highly reviewed program has introduced more young Chinese rappers to the public and pushed the popularity of the musical subculture to a new high in the country.

The related hashtag for the finale had earned more than 410 million views as of Monday afternoon on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Chinese singer Huang Zitao, a former member of South Korean boy band EXO, hosted the episode and later bid  farewell to the show in a post on Sina Weibo that ended up entering the platform's trending list on Monday. 

More young Chinese rappers entered the public's awareness and began sharing their positive attitudes toward rap after the show began streaming in August on Bilibili, a Chinese video platform popular among young people in China. 

The show has been well received, earning a high 9.1/10 on major Chinese media review platform Douban from more than 34,000 reviews. Many audience reviewers wrote that they were impressed to learn that any topic in the world could be used as material for a rap song. 

The English name of the program reflects its goal, which is to allow young people to get their voice out, Fan Zhihui, a music industry analyst based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

"This variety show is different from other rap variety shows when it comes to things such as production techniques and its points of focus. It focuses on the content of the rap lyrics, and many songs that show a concern for real issues have gone viral through the program, which represent the thinking of a new generation of young people," Fan said.

Many netizens have shown their approval of the show on Sina Weibo. 

"This is the first variety show really for one group. Everyone shines in the show. There are no grandstanding scripts and no conflicts that were deliberately created. Each of the contestants and their works deserves to be loved," netizen "panwomimang" commented.

Some rappers in the show based their works on hot and controversial social issues such as school bullying, cyber bullying and body shaming. They revealed their attitudes toward these issues in their music, while sparking discussion and raising awareness among netizens. 

Other similar Chinese rap shows have also received warm welcome from audiences in recent years. The first season of The Rap of China launched in June 2017, quickly becoming a huge success that generated 2.7 billion views online and bringing underground rappers to the center of public attention.


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