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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hip Hop Community in Xi'An

Our friends from DongTing have released a 5-part mini documentary about the young hip hop community in Xi'An, China.

Part 1: This clip about a rap crew called Chaos War Crew. Young Egg from the Chaos War Crew gives the tour of the Chaos War Crew headquarters and introduces his crew members.

Part 2: The first segment is about a rap group known as X.A.E.R. (Xi'An City Elite Rappers). Following X.A.E.R., is a segment by B.E.A.T., a beatbox crew. Next is DCW, a crip-walk crew doing their crip-walk for the camera.

Part 3: This whole clip is about One More Crew, a break dancing crew.

Part 4: This segment shows the hip-hop apparel that Xi'An offers. A.K.A. Mouse from Chaos Crew has his own hip hop clothing store and has been running it since 2000. The video closes with a freestyle from the Chaos War Crew.

Part 5: This segment features X.A.E.R., Chaos War Crew and Jessie from One Time Crew talking about about the current status of hip hop in Xi'An and they also talk about the challenges that the community faces as a whole.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maestro Fresh Wes with Chuckie Akenz

Here's a clip of Maestro Fresh Wes who came to Jane and Finch to give some words of advice for Chuckie Akenz. For all of you that don't know, Maestro is known as the "Godfather of Canadian hip hop" who was representing Canadian hip hop ever since his hit single Let Your Backbone Slide back in 1989. Maestro is Canada's most successful and best-selling Canadian rapper of all time. In this video clip Maestro tells Chuckie about the challenges he faced when he was coming up, when nobody else was really holding it down for Canada and also gives some words of encouragement to Chuckie. This video clip was shot on December 15, 2005. I think its really cool that Maestro, a rapper of high-stature in Canada, would take the time to talk to up and coming rappers like Chuckie Akenz.

My favourite song from Maestro is Stick to Your Vision, which samples the song These Eyes by Guess Who. This a song about Maestro's hip hop career.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Asian Version of Valentine's Day

Yeah yeah... so Valentine's day is over for most people. However, in Korea and Japan, there are follow-up holidays to Valentine's day. In Korea and Japan, on February 14th, Valentine's day is the day where men receive chocolates and a small gift from their women. On March 14th, it is "White day" and it is a day where men payback gifts to their women "thrice the return". And in Korea, April 14th is known as "Black day" where the singles wear all black and eat noodles with black bean sauce.

As seen on Alpha Asian, here is a funny skit by Azn Lifestyles TV. It explains the Korean and Japanese way of celebrating Valentine's day and their follow-up holidays. The guy is hilarious when he says to his demanding girlfriend, "In North America, we celebrate Steak & BJ day!! STEAK & BJ!!" Hahahaha.

Monday, February 16, 2009

LS - Life I Chose


Life I Chose is a rap song by LS. In this song LS tells his story about living the "street life". The instrumental of Life I Chose sounds like it was meant for a celebration-type song but the lyrics reflect on LS's hardship and pain. I don't know if this was an intended juxtaposition.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thaitanium - I Know You Love Me P Natty

Thaitanium - Thailand's Most Wanted

I Know You Love Me is a love song from Thaitanium's Thailand's Most Wanted album.

Dice & K9 Mobbstarr - Eargasmic

Dice & K9 Mobbstarr - Time Space Rhythm Stars

Dice & K9 Mobbstarr is hip hop group from the city of Cebu that is considered "hip hop royalty" in the Philippines. The group began as a hip hop duo in 2002 called Dice & K9. Later, two new members Hi-5 (vocals) and Trapp joined the group, and the group was renamed as Dice & K9 Mobbstarr as "Mobbstarr" was the name of their second album. Later K9 left the group but the group still retained the name Dice & K9 Mobbstarr. Eventually Trapp also left the group. Klumcee, the newest member joined Dice & K9 Mobbstarr and the group is now officially a trio. As a group, Dice & K9 Mobbstarr is known to be experimental in their music clearly showing influences from Japanese pop, techno and the Neptunes. Mobbstarr Dice & K9 has released four albums so far: Mobbmusic (2002), Mobbstarr (2004), Tha Journey (2006), and Time Space Rhythm Stars (2008).

Eargasmic is a hit-single from Dice & K9 Mobbstarr's Time Space Rhythm Stars album. Its a very popular song in the Philippines right now. It has a really cool instrumental which is a blend of house and trance. Eargasmic is a clubbing/dance song which features drug references and sexual innuendo. Eargasmic is also nominated for an award for the 2009 MYX awards in the Phillipines.

Here are the lyrics for Dice & K9 Mobstarr - Eargasmic

You can find Dice & K9 Mobbstarr's multiply site at:
They also have a myspace at:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Drunken Tiger - 난 널 원해 (I want You)

I want to wish all the readers of Asian Rap Worldwide, a Happy Valentine's Day! ;))

Peace & Love,


Drunken Tiger - The Year of the Tiger

난 널 원해 (I want You) is a love song by the Korean rap group Drunken tiger. Its one of Drunken Tiger's earlier hits from their debut album Year of the Tiger. I really like this song because it has a real dark and "drunken feel" to it, which is really fitting for a group which has the name "Drunken Tiger". What you are about to see is the music video version of 난 널 원해 (I want You) that was banned in Korea. In this music video, its tells a story about DJ Shine's adventure in one of Korea's red-light districts. He he falls in love with one of the girls there and tries to save her but in the end he gets shot by Tiger JK who's the guy that runs the whole operation. WOW. That's Korean drama for you hahahaha.

Here is where you can find English translation lyrics for Drunken Tiger - 난 널 원해 (I want You).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Poetic Ammo - Who Be The Player

Poetic Ammo - The World Is Yours

Poetic Ammo is a multi-ethnic rap group from Malaysia that mainly rap in English but they also have made tracks in Malay, Tamil and Chinese. The original members of Poetic Ammo were Land Slyde, his brother C. Loco, Yogi B and Point Blanc. After the release of their second album The World is Yours, Land Slyde and C. Loco have left Poetic Ammo. Land Slyde is now the lead singer and rapper for Dragon Red, a Malaysian rock-rap band. C. Loco is pursuing his own solo career. Poetic Ammo have released 3 albums so far: Its a Nice Day to Be Alive (1997), The World is Yours (2000), and Return of the Boombox (2003) was released by the remaining members Point Blanc and Yogi B. Both Point Blanc and Yogi B are still members of Poetic Ammo but they are purusing their own solo careers.

Who Be The Player is a rap song about lyrical supremacy. This is probably Poetic Ammo's most popular song. All four rappers in this song came in hard and the production of the song is top-notch. Who Be The Player can be found in Poetic Ammo' The World is Yours album. There is a really, really cool music video for Who Be The Player. Whoever has the music video, PLEASE SEND IT TO ME. My email is

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ego and Tactmatic Freestyle

This is a video of Ego and Tactmatic freestyling for Ego TV, a YouTube channel for the underground Malaysian hip hop scene.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A True International MC: An Interview with Kensho Kuma

Kensho Kuma is a rapper from Berkely, California. He was born in Yokohama, Japan and his family later moved to the United States in 1985. He has been rapping for over 12 years and raps in both English and Japanese. Kensho Kuma has also lived in mainland China and in Japan and has played an active role in both the Chinese and Japanese hip hop scene. His debut album is called Rewritten Code ov Honor and was released in 2006. I had the pleasure of corresponding with Kensho Kuma and thought would be really cool to interview him to tell us what he is all about and also tell us about his experiences in mainland China and Japan.

ROYAL: First of all Kensho Kuma, thank you for doing this interview for the readers of Asian Rap Worldwide.

KUMA: What up Royal, thank you for featuring me on your site, I appreciate it!

ROYAL: So tell us the story on how you got the name "Kensho Kuma" and a bit on how you got in to rapping.

KUMA: ‘Kuma’ means ‘Bear’ in Japanese, as you probably know, the symbol of California is the grizzly bear, that name was meant for me! ‘Kensho’ has a deep Zen enlightenment definition, but I’m not going to front like that’s the origin of my name; like many children who immigrated to the United States at a young age, I adopted an American name in school so the other students could pronounce it. My Japanese name is Koichiro, my American name was ‘Ken,’ eventually that became ‘Kensho.’ I remember liking and being interested in Hip Hop when I was in Junior High, but it was the early Wu releases that really got me interested in MCing; their usage of language, kung- fu samples, and multiple aliases… something about them at the time really got to me. I’ve been rhyming non- stop since ’97- ish.

ROYAL: You're from the Bay Area. Are you influenced at all by the hyphy movement? Is it something you represent? What's your take on it?

KUMA: Although I don’t personally represent the Hyphy movement, I naturally support it and have always had a positive outlook on it; my personal interpretation of the movement is that, its young people rebelling, they don’t give a f**k about what the mainstream society thinks or feels about them. I believe that Hyphy and any local music movement will ultimately affect the artists in its immediate proximity; in other words, if you’re a Bay Area artists, you have to be aware of what’s going on in your area, especially if it’s popular as the Hyphy movement, if not then you’re oblivious and not connected to your own backyard.

ROYAL: Out of curiosity, what got you to pack your bags and start living all over China and Japan? And how did you get involved in both the Chinese and Japanese hip hop community?

KUMA: After I graduated from college in ’03, I was going through some personal situations and was skeptical about my life in general, I wasn’t feeling it; I took the ‘leap of faith’ and gave up everything in my life and moved to Asia, I felt it in my gut. At the time, I had spent my entire adult life in the Bay and that’s all I knew; I love the Bay , but I knew there was so much more out there; it was a move I had to make at the time. Although I was born in Japan, I had never lived there for a prolonged period of time as an adult, also my best friend was out in Chengdu, China, living and performing; I had to leave my life in the Bay and go explore Asia, all the opportunities were there for me and it was about taking that ‘leap of faith’ to experience more things in Asia.

ROYAL: Tell us about your travel experience in China. What was it like traveling all over China? Did you experience any culture shock? Did it at all affect on how you see life? How did you get by without speaking a word of Chinese?

KUMA: There are no words to accurately describe my experiences in China; I lived in Chendu, which is in the Sichuan province in western China, and in Shanghai, on the opposite end of the country. I traveled throughout the country and performed in many places; the most memorable place must’ve been Urumuqi, which is near the border of Kazakhstan, the Uyghur Muslim minorities live there. Our westernized way of perceiving the world isn’t the only perspective which is out there, what we take for granted, what is ‘normal’ to us, is completely alien to lots of countries outside of the United States. A lot of my crew in China are of non- Asian ethnicities, who’ve lived in China for years and had acquired fluency in the language, I couldn’t speak a word of Chinese. The concept of an ‘Asian- American’ person seize to exist in many places in Asia, I must’ve been the strangest anomaly to rural China: an Asian person in China asking his European friend to translate for him. My years living in China definitely affected the way I look at this world, and to tell you the truth, I’m still processing the information.

ROYAL: Have you came across any "Conscious hip hop" while in China? You know like "Fight the Power" or Public Enemy-ish kind of rap music where they rap about social issues or criticize the media etc? Is that even allowed in China?

KUMA: Although I know of some dope Chinese MC’s who spit insightful lyrics, I didn’t come across P.E.- esque ‘Conscious Hip Hop’ in China; I’m not sure if the government would allow any form of public anti- government expression, especially not with something that will draw immediate attention like Hip Hop. There are certain things you can and can’t do in each country; there are certain things an intelligent person should and shouldn’t do in each county…

ROYAL: How do you compare the reception of your music in the United States compared to Asia? Do you find that being an Asian-American rapper has its disadvantages in the United States? In the same token, do you feel that being an Asian-American has its advantages in Asia?

KUMA: My Asian- American background had an enormous advantage in Asia. The Japanese Hip Hop community has always shown tremendous support and appreciation because I have always repped my Japanese heritage; however I feel that it isn’t necessarily just the ancestry, but the fact that I flow in English and am aware of Japanese culture and society. The Hip Hop scene in Shanghai is heavily influenced by expat promoters and crowds; meaning a high percentage of the Hip Hop scene is proficient in English… But I feel the most important factor is that, I’m an authentic talent from the Bay Area who has always cherished my native language and background. I can only allow my ethnicity and background to be used as an advantage back home in the states; let’s be honest, we have always had lots of artists who claim to be samurais, ninjas, ronins, monks, and shoguns, who are of non- Japanese descent. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. Japanese/ Asian culture has always been perceived as something really attractive and cool in American Hip Hop, and that’s a really beautiful thing, because Hip Hop culture has become a globally inclusive culture.

ROYAL: Tell us about the crowds. Are Asian crowds generally quieter, and more restrained, and less wild compared to crowds back in the United States?

KUMA: Difficult question, people in homogeneous countries in Asia, like mainland China and Japan, identify as ‘Chinese’ or ‘Japanese,’ not necessarily ‘Asian.’ If you’re a non- Japanese ‘Asian’ person in Tokyo, you’re still a ‘gaijin.’ The idea of an ‘Asian- American’ person doesn’t seem to exist yet in the masses in lots of places in Asia, especially in the rural areas. So we’re really comparing many different factors which may not be able to be compared. Are crowds in Japan and China more quiet, more restrained compared to Asian- American crowds in the states? That’s completely contingent on the venue, performers, amount of alcohol and crowd; I don’t know how and what to generalize to answer this one.

ROYAL: What are your own personal thoughts on Chinese and Japanese hip hop? How does it compare to hip hop in the United States? Are Chinese and Japanese rappers for the most part awkwardly imitating rappers from the States? Are there any crucial elements that you feel that are missing in Chinese and Japanese hip hop? What's your take on it?

KUMA: The Japanese have their own Hip Hop history, which started back in the early/ mid 80’s. Naturally, all foreign Hip Hop scenes have always been influenced by American Hip Hop because this is where the culture originated; however, I am proud to say that the Japanese have always been able to incorporate a noticeable amount of their own identity and ideology into the music, and the diverse array of new generation independent Japanese MC’s are dope on any Hip Hop rector scale. You don’t have to even understand the language, you know they’re spitting. The Chinese Hip Hop history is a little bit shorter, my friend Dana Burton is commonly credited with bringing Hip Hop to China about a decade ago; the current Chinese Hip Hop scene is heavily battle orientated, and Burton’s annual ‘Iron Mic’ contest, where Chinese MC’s from around the country compete, has been going strong for about 5, 6 years I think. Yes, there are lots of rappers in Asia, who awkwardly imitate American rap; the images on MTV/ BET are the most accessible sources for Hip Hop anywhere. However there are plenty of MC’s in Asia who are the accurate equivalents of their U.S. counterparts, who have developed their own understanding of Hip Hop and rhyme in their own language. I humbly acknowledge that this is strictly written from the MC viewpoint and that it didn’t mention graffiti artists, b- boys, or DJ’s; the other elements get more appreciation in Asia.

ROYAL: Who are the Chinese and Japanese rappers that really stick out to you?

KUMA: Japanese MC’s I really like and am influenced by include: Maccho of Ozrosaurus, Zeebra, MC Kan from MSC, Shingo Nishinari and Kemui. Chinese MC’s I feel are Young Kin from Beijing and my friend Tang King from Shanghai.

ROYAL: Let's talk about your debut album. Can you describe for us what is the Rewritten Code Ov Honor? What's the scoop behind the title of the album? You also had a track with Shing02. What was that like working with him?

KUMA: My debut album ‘Rewritten Code ov Honor’ was released in late ’06, it took about 4 years to complete the project; I don’t necessarily rep ‘Asian American Rap,’ as a matter of fact, I’ve never said that phrase, it’s simply the best Hip Hop I could deliver at that point in my life. Samurais, and all other warrior cultures, have their own ‘code of honor,’ these are certain values and morals you must respect and follow at all costs. I know this sounds romanticized, but I consider those values to be more important than most other things a person can experience; I’m a Japanese American Berkeley MC who’s a descendent of samurais, I had to call my first album ‘Rewritten Code ov Honor.’ Shing02 is also a Japanese artist who resides in the Bay Area, he was kind enough to do a track with me; he’s probably one of the deepest minds we have in Hip Hop today.

ROYAL: Now your debut album ReWritten Code Ov Honor was nationally distributed in Japan. How did you get your album nationally distributed?

KUMA: An owner of a label in Tokyo believed in my music enough to handle the distribution for me; he was able to get me in all the Tower Records and HMV’s in Japan.

ROYAL: You have a new single that's out called Swordz Up. Tell us about this single.

KUMA: Argentinean super producer Say sent me a beat tape, I heard the beat, I knew immediately that it was perfect for me; the song features a drop from Talib Kweli, who I had the privilege of opening for in Shanghai at an outdoor festival. The song features my rhymes in English and in Japanese, Say is also spitting in Spanish. I’ve had an overwhelmingly eventful journey in music, the least I could do is to acknowledge and pay homage to the Hip Hop artists around the globe with ‘Swordz Up!’

ROYAL: So what does the future hold for Kensho Kuma? Are you working on any new projects? Do you plan to release another album?

KUMA: I’m working on ‘the Life Force Project,’ it’s a multilingual Hip Hop album; I’ve been taking mad time with the mixes on each track, and even more time with writing, I’m uncertain how many tracks will be on the final product. It should be ready by summer ’09 and I plan to go on another Asia venture once it’s done. I also work as a teacher, I’m currently working on my Master’s degree to further my day time career, I’m finally at the point in my life where I should take more than just Hip Hop seriously, I think.

ROYAL: Any words of wisdom for up-and-coming rappers? Any advice for rappers that want to perform and promote their music in Asia?

KUMA: It took me years to learn that there is more to life than just music. You can’t be a dope MC if you aren’t a dope person. If you want to perform in Asia, I recommend that you research an extensive amount about where you want to go, including the language and what’s currently going on in their local scenes. It’s a cliché to say ‘real recognize real,’ but there are talented unknown artists holding it down anywhere you go, and I know from experience that they have something in common with you.

ROYAL: What is the best way for people get a hold of you?


Contact: (website coming very soon!)
CD Baby:
We Nod Records Japan:

ROYAL: Kensho Kuma, its been a pleasure. Thanks for taking the time for this interview.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thai - My Life & Rhymes feat Huy Toan (Vietnamese Version)

DJ Slim has released a Vietnamese version of Thai's My Life & Rhymes with Huy Toan singing a new reworked chorus in Vietnamese. I think, with the new chorus, the Vietnamese version is MUCH BETTER than the original My Life & Rhymes! Huy Toan's vocals has a better chemistry with Thai's rapping than Donny Cain, who sings the chorus in the album version of My Life & Rhymes.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Yellow Rage - Listen Asshole

Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh of Yellow Rage

Yellow Rage is a spoken word duo from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania comprised of Michelle Myers, who is half-white and half-Korean, and Catzie Vilayphonh, who is Lao. Yellow rage's material deals with the social and political issues of the Asia American community. Yellow Rage has released two spoken word albums: Black Hair, Brown Eyes, Yellow Rage, Volume 1 and Handle With Care, Volume 2.

Listen Asshole is poem that expresses their frustration of Asian female stereotypes within America. You can really feel the "yellow rage" expressed in this poem. The crowd sure seemed to like it especially when they screamed out: "What the fuck do you know about being Asian?!"

Luni Lizz - 1life2

Luni Lizz a.k.a Dub L is a Lao rapper that represents Wooneyville, Rhode Island and he currently lives in Westnam Beach, Florida. Luni Lizz has track called 1Life2 which is about his personal perspectives on life and how he is living it.

You can find Luni Lizz's myspace at:

Kuai Ban: The Original Chinese Rap

Kuai Ban is a form of Chinese rap that was developed in China during the 1930s and 40s. Kuai Ban literally means 'fast board" which refers to the bamboo clappers that the performers use in their performance. In Kuai Ban, the performer uses the bamboo clappers as a beat and then simultaneously recites a rhythmic poem according to the beat of the bamboo clappers. There's also a lot of theatrics involved in Kuai Ban performances.

I'm sure to many African-Americans, and even within the Asian community, Asian rappers just seem like anomalies. Well the video posted below just blows everything out the water!! Hahahaha. In the video, there's two white Australians all dressed up in traditional Chinese attire and performing Kuai Ban in Chinese. Both are contestants for Chinese Bridge, a Chinese language proficiency contest for non-native Chinese speakers. I think they are pretty good actually. They even got the Kuai Ban "swag" spot on. At 3:25, there is a hella random Irish Riverdance performance mixed with the bamboo clappers. I don't know why its there.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mor Lam: The Original Lao Rap

Mor Lam is a form of traditional Laotian music that is similar to modern day rap music. You might as well call mor lam the original Lao rap. It is still popular music in Laos today. In mor lam, the singer sings in a rhythmic manner and is accompanied with a live instrumental band which plays a looped melody and drum beat, just like in rap music. In some live mor lam performances, some of the singers make up their songs on the spot just like freestyle rappers. It seems that there is also a type of hand gesture dance goes with mor lam.

I don't speak a word of Lao, but I think the guy who is singing in the video is trying to mack on the woman who is wearing the green dress. I think she liked it because she smiled back at him.