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Asian hip hop

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Title: Asian hip hop  
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Subject: List of hip hop genres, East Asian music, Albanian hip hop, Middle Eastern hip hop, Thai hip hop
Collection: East Asian Music, Hip Hop by Nationality
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Asian hip hop

Asian hip hop is a heterogeneous musical genre that covers all hip hop music as recorded and produced by artists of Asian origin.


  • East Asia 1
    • China and Taiwan 1.1
      • Hong Kong 1.1.1
    • Japan 1.2
    • Korea 1.3
  • Southeast Asia 2
    • Burma (Myanmar) 2.1
      • First generation 2.1.1
      • Second generation 2.1.2
      • Third generation 2.1.3
      • After third generation 2.1.4
    • The Philippines 2.2
    • Malaysia 2.3
    • Indonesia 2.4
  • South Asia 3
    • Indian hip hop 3.1
    • Bangladesh 3.2
  • References 4

East Asia

China and Taiwan

The first Chinese rap song was done by Harlem Yu of Taiwan in the early 80s which was parallel to the early New York 80s rap songs. In the Early 90s L.A. Boyz brought hip hop of the 90s from the US to Taiwan which then started the trend that spreads into Taiwan and the rest of the Chinese speaking world. The early Taiwan youth rap group like The Party and TTM were both participate underground and mainstream. In the late 90s Softhard and LMF in Hong Kong, has participate in Chinese hip hop/rap movement but since it was in Cantonese dialect it has not got that much publicity in both Taiwan and Mainland China(Mandarin speaking region). Whereas MC HotDog, Da Xi Men, of Taiwan have successfully started the hip hop trend that affect Mainland China. In mainland China the hip hop scene includes artists such as Yin Ts'ang (隐藏), Hei Bomb (黑棒), and Dragon Tongue (龙门阵) all of whom currently lead the genre and are gaining popularity with the youths. Other groups include LMF and Dai Bing. The Chinese term for rap is Rao-she (Traditional Chinese:饒舌;) or shuōchàng (Simplified Chinese: 说唱; "narrative", actually the name of a traditional genre of narrative singing). Breakdancing (called "jiēwŭ" (Simplified Chinese: 街舞) in Chinese, literally "street dance") has gained a lot of popularity among young Chinese as well.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong hip hop scene debuted in 1991 from Softhard, then evolutionized in 1999 with the formation of LMF which was the first rap/rock group signed by a major record label, Warner Music. The group consisted of ten core members, many of which were also in the bands NT, Screw, and Anodize. Despite the popularity of the now disbanded LMF, which gained mild success in the mainstream, hip hop music continues to remain underground, led by independent artists.

Nevertheless, the presence of hip hop music in Hong Kong in the shadows of Cantopop is strongly reflected by the collaborations between rappers such as MC Yan (from the now disbanded LMF) with pop artists such as Edison Chen. While some musicians try to introduce hip hop to the general audience, the life of the scene remains in the underground.


Hiroshi Fujiwara, a famous musician and designer, is argued to have first started the hip hop era in Japan. The early years of Japanese hip hop were relatively weak due to record executives not wanting to pay huge venues for a different "taste" of music. However, visual forms of hip hop, such as break dancing and graffiti, sparked the first true rise of Japanese hip hop in 1983. The film Wild Style incorporated various visual hip hop scenes in different areas of Japan. As years went on, 1994 and 1995 were the years in which hip hop became commercial.[1] However, it was not until 2000 and later that hip hop skyrocketed all over the Japan, with Japanese records spreading around the world.[2] Japanese hip hop (nip hop or j-hip hop) is said to have begun in 1983 when Charlie Angel's Wild Style was shown in Tokyo. The movie focused on graffiti artists but also featured some early old school MCs like Busy Bee and Double Trouble, DJs like Grandmaster Flash and breakdancers like the Rock Steady Crew. Following the showing, street musicians began to breakdance in Yoyogi Park. Crazy A soon emerged as a prominent b-boy, and he eventually founded the Rock Steady Crew Japan, while DJ Krush has become a world-renowned DJ after arising from the Yoyogi Park scene. More DJs followed, beginning in 1985. A year later, an all hip hop club opened in Shibuya. There was some hesitation at the time that the Japanese language, due to the lack of stress accents and highly variable verb endings, might prove unsuited for rapping.

In the 1990s, teen-oriented J rap music appeared, and hip hop entered the Japanese mainstream. The first hit was Scha Dara Parr's "Kon'ya wa Boogie Back". The following year saw "Da.Yo.Ne." and "Maicca" by East End X Yuri go platinum. Economically, while the 90s were a time of boom, the new millennium saw a great economic recession for Japan. According to Social Science Japan Journal, unemployment "reached its highest recorded level of 5.4% in 2002. Unemployment increased particularly among youths; the unemployment rate of those aged 20–24 peaked at 12.8% in 2003. Japanese youth unemployment spiked since jobs for young people were slashed to protect the jobs of middle-aged and older workers in Japanese firms."[3] Young adults who came of age in with hip hop and entered the workforces in the early 2000s developed a very special relationship with hip hop because of tough economic times. In his book Hip Hop Japan, Ian Condry explains how groups like King Giddra and the underground group MSC developed lyrics that both spoke the truth of the youth of Japan and gave a venue for young people to unite, "transforming the slogans of politicians and economic reformers into a language and style appropriate to today's Japanese youth."[4] The very political nature of hip hop called youngsters to rally together for structural reform (kozo kaikaku) shows how Japanese hip hop, like early hip hop in the South Bronx, "functions as part of a public debate questioning mainstream political values."[4]

Lately, hip-hop in Japan has split into two forms: normal, "hardcore" Japanese hip-hop, and the more R&B influenced J-Urban. The group most commonly cited as the originator of J-Urban music is the group m-flo (AKA "meteorite flo). Originally composed of a single Japanese DJ (DJ Taku) and a single Korean-Japanese emcee (Verbal), they combined with a singer named LISA who is of Peruvian-Japanese descent. Their debut album, Planet Shining, was released in 2000, and since then, many J-Urban acts such as Crystal Kay, AI, Heartsdales, and even collaborations with pop stars like Namie Amuro and Korean pop star BoA. Other popular J-Urban acts like RIP SLYME have worked with M-Flo.

Hip hop in Japan is based to a large extent on the hip hop culture in America. To some degree there is debate as to whether or not there is an authenticity about Japanese hip hop. Many of the Japanese hip hop movement followers put in strong efforts to be more “blackface” through tanning and various styles of dress.[5] Despite this seeming mimicry of style, Japan has captivated hip hop and infused it with Japanese culture; this is evident in many Japanese hip hop music videos through elements of Eastern culture or through contrasts between Eastern and Western culture.[6]


In Seoul, the Korean hip hop scene has expanded into a form of cultural phenomenon. Notable performers include Jo PD, Drunken Tiger, and Epik High.

Many rap artists have been successful in the mainstream of Korean music. These include performers such as Jinusean, 1TYM, Tempo (T.O.P), Supreme Team, PSY, MC Sniper, Jo PD, and Epik High.

Korean American hip hop began in the United States in the mid-1990s, mainly attributed to the efforts of the Korean rapper duo Tiger JK and DJ Shine of Drunken Tiger. Drunken Tiger was created after the song "Black Korea" by Ice Cube and used music as a means of cultural exchange and as an attempt to promote racial harmony. Following the success of Drunken Tiger, many new groups and production companies emerged to further popularize the musical style. In order to represent the elite group of Korea's best rappers, Tiger JK and Drunken Tiger formed The Movement Crew (Dynamic Duo, Epik High, Leessang, Eun Ji-Won, Tasha Reid, and more).

Southeast Asia

Burma (Myanmar)

The Myanmar (Burmese) hip hop scene started in the lately 1980s with the famous rapper Myo Kyawt Myaing. His songs were more like plain rapping music rather than stereotypical hip hop. Myanmar Hip-Hop is just so simple. Because of so less artists who can sing in English so clearly and perfectly, they still cannot get the interests from other countries. Nowadays in Myanmar, Hip-Hop is known to be going-so-pop, most of the youths are trying to show the public how they rap and how they wear but exactly the fact that nobody can refuse is that there are not so many real artists who know definitely with Hip-Hop.

First generation

Acid (Hein Zaw(1980–2006), Anegga, Yan Yan Chan, Zayar Thaw) was considered to be the first generation or pioneers of Burmese hip-hop with their album "Beginning".[7] In the first generation, other groups like Theory, NS and Too Big were included. Most of the first generation artists sang old-school Hip-Hop. Another Hip-Hop artist known as Sai Sai Kham Leng, who is still regarded as the most famous artist, was also included in the progress of 1st Burmese Hip-Hop. People from Myanmar started to know about Hip-Hop was exactly because of Acid, Theory and Sai Sai Kham Leng.

Second generation

Second generation was the most active period of Burmese hip hop.
After ACID breakthrough, a group named "9mm" changed the style of Burmese hip hop to new level. Even though the group is well known to youth, most of their songs didn't pass Burmese sensor board. They never released own album under 9mm. Most of their songs came out as underground hip hop. Later, the name 9mm was banned by sensor board as the group involved in politics.[8]
Other famous groups are G-Family,Project-1, Byout-Oh (Firecracker), Examplez, On-track, Cyclone. M.H.A (Myanmar HipHop Association)[1] was formed unofficially. Many youth joined M.H.A and inspired to becoming hip hop artist someday.
Among those artists, MCs named J-Me and Yatha was the most famous Hip-Hop artists and they really did great to point and talk about what does Hip-Hop means to the peoples of Myanmar.They rapped, they free-styled, they learned, they beat-boxed. They pulled and increased the interests of most Myanmar youths over Hip-Hop. The second capital of Myanmar, known as Mandalay which is the source of traditional music and culture of Burma,also bore hip hop artists and groups even though they are not as many as in Yangon.

Third generation

Since late 2006, teenagers like Jouk Jack [2], Kyaw Htut Swe claimed themselves as Third generation. They formed a group called VIP(Rock$tar) with Ah Boy, Htein Win and Hlwan Paing(the last member). They became the most famous rappers of the Third Generation. In lately 2008 and early 2009, many other third generation groups came out and released their sample albums such as RubberBand,Platform Crew,Tiny Twist,Chilli Family,BLF,G3,DCT,NewVersion(NV),Downtown (Aung yo & M-2)and many more.

After third generation

Since lately 2009, the number of rappers enormously increased. Many new young rappers had realized the techniques to make rap music. But the styles were new school raps and dissing hardcore tracks, rather than real Hip Hop. As public wants noisy, shouting and dissing hardcore raps, most of the rappers made hardcore Down-South songs. But in 2010, a group named *Legendary* was formed, and started to move on the streets. This group is formed with an aim of combining young ones and old rappers. Most of them are Free-stylists. Other Hip Hop groups like M.J.N, P.B.D Hood etc. also came up. Many commercial Hip Hop and Rap albums are released around lately 2010. Recently, Hip Hop can said to be the most popular type of music in Myanmar.

The Philippines

Filipino rap is heterogeneous, encompassing rap in numerous languages such as Tagalog, Chavacano, and Ilocano, as well as English. The musical style has become as diverse as hip-hop music itself with such sub-genres as "Kalye" (Street), "Masa" (Commercial), "Makabayan"(Ethnocentric/Socially conscious), Gangsta, and underground rap. The Philippines is considered by many to have developed the first hip hop scene in all of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The birth of Filipino hip hop music (or Flip-Hop or Pinoy Rap), occurred in the late 1970s with songs by Dyords Javier ("Na Onseng Delight") and "Vincent Dafalong" ("Nunal"). The genre developed slowly during the 1980s but soon hit the mainstream with Francis Magalona's debut album, Yo! which included the nationalistic hit "Mga Kababayan" (My Countrymen). Magalona, who rapped in both English and Tagalog became a pioneer in the genre and a superstar as a result. Mainstream stars rose to prominence in the Philippines, led by Michael V., Rap Asia, 'MC Lara and Lady Diane.

The beginnings of hip-hop culture in the Philippines can be attributed to several main factors; the innate of them being the heavy influx of American musical styles in that country as reflected in the widespread popularity during the 1960s of Motown artists The Temptations, The Supremes and The Jackson Five and later in the 1970s of Funk, Soul and Disco music. Bands such as The Commodores, The Gap Band, James Brown, Con Funk Shun, The Bar-Kays and Earth, Wind and Fire among many others received heavy rotation on Manila airwaves. The future importation of hip hop culture and music, similar to the previous genres mentioned can be credited to the direct contact Filipinos received with both Americans not of Filipino descent and Filipino Americans.

The intimate relationship between hip-hop culture and the large Filipino American community along the United States West Coast naturally resulted in the exportation of rap music back to the Philippines. Numerous cassette tapes, videos, books and magazines concerning hip hop issues and popular rap artists would be sent out by Filipinos to family members back in the islands.

The towns and barrios surrounding the numerous American military bases that were scattered throughout that country such as Clark Air Base in Angeles City and Subic Bay Naval Base in Olongapo were among the earliest to be exposed to the culture; as contact with African-American, Filipino American and Latino servicemen resulted in some of the earliest exposure the locals had to the new musical genre.[9]

Groundbreaking hip hop films such as Wild Style (1983), Breakin' (1984) and Krush Groove (1985) were also major influences; and as early as 1982 local breakdancing crews like the Angeles City based Whooze Co. International, with members consisting primarily from Clark Air Base, The Eclipse (whose former members included Francis Magalona, Dance 10s Darwin Tuason and current Federation Sounds Glenn "Kico" Lelay), Info-Clash Breakers and Ground Control (members included Rap Master Fordy, later to be known as Andrew E. and Jay "Smooth" MC of Bass Rhyme Posse) became mainstays in local parks and malls in and around the Metro Manila area such as Glorietta Mall, which was an early hotspot for breakers. Several mobile DJ crews of the era included such names as the Rock All Parties Crew which emerged onto the scene only to produce such future Pinoy rap pioneers as Andrew E. and Norman B.


The Malaysian hip hop scene started in the 1990s with groups such as 4U2C and KRU. Their so-called "Rap music" wasn't accepted by the mainstream community and they had to changed to a more pop-ish sound. The Malaysian music scene was dominated by them until 1995-1996, when Poetic Ammo came out with their classic album It's a Nice Day to Be Alive. Their 1st hit, "Everything Changes" revolutionized the local music industry. There are groups from the underground scene that have established themselves such as Naughtius Maximus, but it was Poetic Ammo that made it big.

One of the powerhouses of hip hop in Malaysia is Too Phat, which consists of Malique and Joe Flizzow. They were signed to EMI International's Positive Tone division and produced their first hit album, Whutadilly and their 1st single was "Too Phat Baby" featuring Ruffedge. Their Plan B album was a hit, with songs such as "Anak Ayam" and "Just a Friend" featuring V.E receiving massive air play by local stations.

With Too Phat's success other underground groups such as Muchachaz, M.O.B and the Teh Tarik Crew have followed in their footsteps, eventually forming The Phat Family.


Hip hop music began to be produced in Indonesia in the early 1990s, with the first Indonesia artist to release a full-length hip hop album being the rapper Iwa K, who has released five albums to date. Other Indonesian rap groups include Boyz Got No Brain and Neo. Many Indonesian rap groups rap in the Indonesian language, but there are also groups which rap in English. Variously, rap songs often combine formal Indonesian with street slang, youth code, regionally colored pronunciations, and even expressions from regional languages (typically Javanese, Sundanese, or Betawi).

South Asia

Indian hip hop

Hip Hop music in India had started at around 1990 and Baba Sehgal is credited as India's first Rapper. Hip Hop music became all the more famous with the song 'Pettai Rap' from the Tamil movie Kadhalan starring Prabhu Deva for which the Music Director was A.R Rahman. The song catapulted Suresh Peters as a rapper and a Music Director. Rap/Hip Hop was often used in the regional movies as fillers in between songs and off late has started to become main stream songs. London based The Rishi Rich Project, Bally Sagoo and Canadian based Raghav further laid steady foundations for Hip Hop/RnB music in India. California based Punjabi rapper Bohemia became one of the most well known pioneers of Punjabi Rap in the country after producing tracks like 'Kali Denali' and 'Ek tera Pyar'. He became the first Hip Hop artist to launch a full Desi Rap album signed to Universal Music India. He has also produced songs for Bollywood movies like Chandni Chowk to China. Canadian based Hip Hop artist Ishq Bector became an outrage after the release of his superhit single 'Aye Hip Hopper'. Malaysian based Yogi B and Natchatra brought in the culture of Tamil Rap in India. After receiving various awards in Malaysia, now they are the most sorted out rappers in Kollywood(Tamil Movie Industry). International artists like 50 Cent, Mobb Deep, The Black Eyed Peas etc. have performed in India. Snoop Dogg appeared in a song from the film Singh Is Kinng in 2008 which popularized Hip Hop music amongst the people of India.


Bangla Hip Hop differs from Bengali Hip Hop mainly from the language. Bengali is more "formal" than Bangla and use less slang than Bangla. Bangla is based mostly on Dhaka, Barisal, Sylhet, Chittagong, Comilla.


Ice Cube Entertainment [10]

  1. ^ Condry, Ian. Hip-hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.
  2. ^ Takatsuki, Yo. “Japan grows its own hip-hop.” BBC News. Updated 17 December 2003. Accessed 2 April 2008.
  3. ^ Genda, Yuji. "Jobless Youths and the NEET Problem in Japan." Oxford University Press in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, 2007. Retrieved 2-4-2008
  4. ^ a b Condry, Ian. Hip-hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006
  5. ^ Wood, Joe. "The Yellow Negro" Transition 73: p. 40–67
  6. ^ Condry, Ian. "Japanese Hip Hop", “Japanese Hip Hop”. Accessed April 4, 2008.
  7. ^ Alex Elgee (26 March 2010). "Another Birthday behind Bars". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "History of Pinoy Rap". Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  10. ^ "Home - Ice Cube Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
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