Interview with Chinese Rap & Hip-Hop Group Higher Brothers

Hip hop has been getting a bad rap in China. Despite the Chinese government censorship banning hip hop culture from mainstream media, Higher Brothers have found international fame, and have since performed at sold out gigs worldwide.

Higher Brothers to perform at Clockenflap China.

What really stood out when I played Higher Brothers’ music video ‘Made in China‘ for the very first time was how I realised that rap is, of course, the medium used to speak to the younger generation and Chinese music, at the moment, is just the scrap of the whole Chinese music industry. While the millennials are the cause for many booming consumer trends in the world, rap has always been used for decades as the voice of the youths; not only for the millennials but as well as for Gen X and Ys.

While many may still think about China as a mystical and exotic place, much has changed within the country much to our ignorance. Even for us who live in the region, we are oblivious to the growing talents hidden away and when an artists or band do venture out into international waters [platform] like YouTube, all h*ll break loose because, firstly, it is almost unbearable to contain our excitement over such an act, and secondly, how well we actually enjoy an act that only performs in Mandarin Chinese? Remember MC Hot Dog? So this is not the first time Chinese rapper are making it and rarely do we see one that could summon that many views on YouTube. The attraction one may ask? By taking everyday life and expressing their frustrations on how human interaction works through application technology blending slick Mandarin lyrics with modern rap influences.

We do have strange idea of China in the West, believing [without facts] that it’s got no potential when it lacks all sorts of free access like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube. However, that’s not really the case. Censorship has always been around according in China, but its existence has lived long enough for everyone to know that it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around it.

Originally from Chengdu, MaSiWei, DZ, Psy.P and Melo – aka Higher Brothers – has been making music that has consistently challenged aspects regarding freedom using rap as their medium. To date, they have released four singles from their latest album Black Cab – “Made in China”, “WeChat”, “711” and “Bitch Don’t Kill My Dab. The single “Wechat”, featuring Keith Ape, has garnered over 3.5 million views on YouTube to date.

The Higher Brothers will be performing at Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s largest music and arts festival on 17-19 November.

Q: Tell us about your latest album – Black Cab.
We have four separate solos for each of the group members respectively and in totally different styles.

会有四首单人solo 完全不一样的风格

Q: You guys have recently been one of the most popular rap stars in Asia. How are you finding this new popularity and why do you think people love your work?

We are super happy and excited! People love us because we are very passionate and hard-working.

你们是亚洲最受欢迎的饶舌新星之一. 你们对现在的名气有什么感受?你们认为为什么很多人喜欢你们的作品?

Q: Where are you based and where do you usually hang out?

We are usually at the recording studio.


Q: Your MV collaboration with Famous Dex, produced by Richie Souf has now reached over 5 million views on YouTube, how are you guy celebrating your new achievement? (new single, new collaboration, new partnerships?)

We are not celebrating.

你们与Famous Dex合作,并由Richie Souf制作的MV现在已经在YouTube上已获得了超过500万的点击率。你们是如何庆祝这个新成就的? (会有新的单曲、新的合作,或者伙伴关系吗?)

Q: Tell us about your collaboration with 88rising (who are they to you/how have they helped you in getting you guys known to the world?)

88rising is an excellent and very influential platform, promoting hip-hop music, Asian culture as well as Asia’s music to the whole world. Because of 88rising, people are discovering [about us] Higher Brothers, people of different colours and from different parts of the world now know about us and our music.

介绍一下你们与88rising的合作 (他们是谁?他们是如何帮助你们在国际上打开知名度的?)
88rising 是一个 厉害很有影响力的平台 ,推广hiphop 文化 亚洲文化 亚洲音乐给全世界看 ,因为88 的帮助 我们可以让世界各地不同肤色的人都听到我们的音乐 给他们一个喜欢上higher brothers的机会

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