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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
Rap of China puts underground music in limelight
    2017-August-18  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

“DO you have freestyle?”

That’s the buzz word in China these days. The catchphrase came from “The Rap of China,” the country’s first talent show that centers on hip-hop artists, many of them previously underground.

The iQiyi-produced network variety show not only went viral on WeChat and Weibo, it even became the new hot topic among those in the entertainment circle. Four hit celebrity producers are “dissed” by a myriad of professionals and amateurs from head to toe on the show and a large number of underground rappers became the new sensational, ideal “husband” material among their female fans.

More than 100 million viewers streamed the show within four hours of its debut June 24. Its cumulative view count was up to 1 billion by the 10th minute of its sixth episode July 29. The hot topic was actively discussed by folks on WeChat and the number of followers of these popular competitors on the show are soaring by folds on their Weibo accounts.

TT, one of the more popular rappers, has a fan base that rose from around 100,000 followers to over 1.1 million followers since the show started. And the same popularity was seen by rapper PG One, whose fan base rose from 30,000 to 1.05 million. Thanks to the show, many of these underground rappers felt that they were suddenly famous overnight.

Freestyle jokes are popping up all over WeChat. Recently, McDonald’s released a hip-hop food themed ad, bringing out all the post-90s fans.

“The Rap of China” is presented in a way that speaks to the hearts of young people in China: Have an attitude, keep things real, and fire away whenever one feels like (bragging, insulting and boasting).

The “attitude” part is reflected in the expression of emotions of the competitors. Throughout the second round, most competitors are matched up with their opponents through a random draw. Some male rappers will pick their battles against female contestants, hoping for an easy, smooth advancement to the next round of competition. This is often frowned upon and booed off stage by other contestants. Contestants who were picked this way, will often lash back instantly by freestyling live to fully show their attitude.

This program also made these rappers more popular. “Keep it real” is a phrase that these rappers often say and their personalities have become a very attractive factor to fans. Those who attended the show’s first recruitment scene were teased of having “300 pairs Yeezy Boosts, 200 different shades, and 100 dreadlocks” altogether. Rapper Sun Bayi on the other hand, tried to “keep it real” by going the non-mainstream route of dressing business formal, and being himself this way. Ironically, the audience loved this about him.

The series went viral after Kris Wu, one of the judges on the show, used the phrase “Can you freestyle?” Gradually, the audience began to shift its focus from Kris to the performers and hip hop. Kris, whose part in the show has been controversial as many don’t view him as an authentic rapper, has been recognized for his professional reviews and performances. “The Rap of China” has somewhat unexpectedly become one of iQiyi’s hits.

Hip hop has long been a small niche market in China, and its culture is often labeled rebellious, which made mainstream adoption an uphill battle in the country. Chen Wei, vice president of iQiyi and chief producer of “The Rap of China,” was not surprised by the show’s success. He used Pascal’s law — which says as more pressure is applied on a unit area, the pressure’s intensity increases — to describe what happened with the show. As the show targets a small area, putting resources into it produced powerful results, he said.

Over US$30 million was reportedly invested in “The Rap of China.” “Even more than that number if all costs and expenses are included,” Chen told CBN Weekly. Production was the most expensive part of the entire process.

When the show was trying to get financial backing at the beginning, most advertisers turned it down. Before recording, the show only found one sponsor — Absolut Vodka. When the first episode aired, the show had no title sponsor. Now its title sponsor is Nongfu Spring Vitamin Water and the show now has 44 partners.

The show is boosting hip hop’s commercial value in China. Competitors PG One, Tizzy T, VAVA, BrAnT.B and Obi & M03 were in ads released by McDonald’s Corp. on July 25. PG One released a music video for NetEase Inc.’s mobile game Datang Wushuang, and short video apps such as Qixiu Webcast and Douyin invited him to do webcasts or release videos. Tizzy T shot an ad with MC Jin (also known as Hip Hop Man) for Alipay.

“The largest return of the show is popularity and approval,” said PG One. “Before, hip-hop singers developed hip hop by putting up money instead of earning it.” (SD-Agnecies)

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn