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(Angela Steele is the Principal Investigator (PI) for China for the Hiphop Archive)

Following the Rock & Roll craze of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hip Hop has become the latest musical genre, lifestyle, and culture to capture the attention of Chinese youth. From the western metropolises of Urumqi and Xining to the booming coastal cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou, Chinese Hip Hop heads are creating new sights, sounds, and styles of Hip Hop. Though elements of global Hip Hop and Chinese Hip Hop are becoming increasingly visible, the predominance of Hip Hop in popular culture should not be overstated. The average Chinese citizen would have difficulty defining "Hip Hop". A small, but vibrant community of Bboys, Bgirls, MCs, DJs, Graffiti Artists, club owners, promoters, and enthusiasts create and maintain Hip Hop culture. The movement of Hip Hop to Mainland China has been facilitated by several means, such as internet technology and immigration. Chinese Hip Hop culture is often criticized as pure imitation and its popularity as a consumerist fad. Imitation is an important phase in the learning process and many Chinese Hip Hop artists are infusing Hip Hop with their own sensitivities and subjectivities. The common fissure between the "mainstream" and the "underground" is already present in the Chinese Hip Hop scene and distinct regional differences are also emerging. Hip Hop dance, music, art, and fashion have taken root in the urban youth cultures in China and will continue to grow.

Timeline Excerpts

•Timeline of Hip Hop in China

•1949 People's Republic of China established

•1958-62 The Great Leap Forward: Mao attempts to modernize the Chinese economy, by transforming China's vast agrarian economy into a modern communist society through planned industrialization.

•1969-1976 The Cultural Revolution: A communist revolution in China lead by Mao, in which China lost much of its economic stability.

•1979 Beginning of One Child Policy

-Diplomatic Relations established between US and China

•1981 First American foreign exchange students in China

•1984 Beginning of Reform & Opening: After the death of Mao, the Chinese government allowed for some foreign economic and political relations.

•1989 Tiananmen Square protests: At the death of pro-democracy and anti-corruption minister, Hu Yaobang, around a million citizens gathered to mourn. However, this mourning turned into violent protests of both communist activists as well as those who were lobbying for a free market.

• Rock & Roll reaches height of popularity

•1990 First McDonald's in Shenzhen

•1994 Introduction of Internet Technology

•1997 HK returned to the Mainland

•1999 Nike signs Yao Ming to endorsement deal

•2000 Hong Kong's LMF become popular
LMF: a Cantonese hip hop group was signed by Warner music, and first formed in 1993.

•2001 China enters the WTO: The World Trade Organization establishes free trade zones within China, significantly expanding the production of material in china and sweat shops.

•2001 Nike coins marketing phrase "Hip Hoop": In an attempt to attract Chinese sales, Nike turned to Hip Hop as a means of marketing in China.

•2001 Taiwan's MC Hotdog releases first album
MC Hotdog, known as the godfather or Taiwanese rap is known for using explicit content in his music to expose the struggles of living in lower class Taiwan.

•2001 Made in Guangzhou graffiti crew formed: China's first mainland graffiti crew, MIG received lessons from foreign groups, and have worked to popularize graffiti in China.

•2001 First annual Iron Mic in Shanghai

•2002 First annual DMC Competition in Shanghai: The DMC is a turntable Olympic competition, in which dj-ing is exhibited.

•2003 Launch of MTV China

•2004 Yin Tsang Serve the People released is sells more than 70,000 copies in China.

•2004 Dragon Tongue Records established in Beijing

•2004 First annual Keep on Dancing Competition Beijing: A B-boy and B-girl competition, showing the popularization of breaking in China.

•2005 First annual Battle of the Year in Shanghai: Battle of the Year is a b-boy, b-girl, breaking, graffiti and other hip hop arts competition.

•2005 First monthly Section 6 Hip Hop Party in Beijing: Section 6 is a party district in Beijing, with many clubs. With the first hip hop party there, there was a securing of hip hop in popular culture in China.


Back To Asia

Video Clips

Hip Hop in China - Women in Hip Hop (Part 1)

[Visit page to watch the video]

Hip Hop in China - Women in Hip Hop (Part 2)

[Visit page to watch the video]

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