Chinese Trap is Taking the World by Storm

Authors: Co-written by Andrea Lockett and Helen Loaiza

2019-04-26

Chinese trap artists are becoming famous across the world as the trap scene in Chengdu is gaining popularity.

Rap is a genre that claims its origin in the Black communities of the United States, specifically in Harlem, New York City. Rap songs are characterized by poetic lines set against a beat, often including a rhyme scheme. Rap is a subdivision of a broader category commonly referred to as hip-hop, which was also created in the city of New York. Hip-hop culture was founded around four major elements, b-boying (break dancing), graffiti, MCing, and rap. Trap, a subgenre of rap, is characterized by the use of artificial instruments and cadences. Despite being a relatively new trend in the United States when compared to other elements of rap, trap music has managed to also become a popular music style in China.

Trap artists in China, specifically in Chengdu and its neighboring areas, tend to use Sichuanese (the dialect of Sichuan province) to rap in their songs. These artists may choose to use Sichuanese to rap because it may fit the beat of the song the best. The flow of the song and the message they want to deliver may also be considered when choosing what dialect to use in a song. In rap music, the most important aspect of a song is the rhyme scheme and the meaning behind the lyrics. Sichuanese is a dialect that allows for trap rappers to be both poetic in rhyme scheme and meaning.

Some of the famous rappers that started their careers in Chengdu or in neighboring cities include TY, Higher Brothers, Gai, Xie Di, and Bridge. Higher Brothers are known across the world for songs that introduce elements of Chinese culture. One of the most famous trap songs made by the Higher Brothers, Gong Xi Ni Fa Cai, introduces trap fans to key Chinese phrases. Other artists use traditional Chinese instruments in their songs to include elements of their Chinese heritage and introduce fans worldwide to these elements of Chinese culture. Experimentation through blending traditional elements with modern elements has been successful domestically as well as internationally for these artists.

Chinese trap artists are also collaborating with trap artists from other nations. These collaborations help give listeners a taste of the trap culture in different countries. Recently, trap artists from Chengdu have been able to collaborate with popular artists from America such as ASAP Ferg. The popularity of these collaborations has contributed to making Sichuanese the dominant dialect present within Chinese rap and trap.

The introduction of Sichuanese in the trap and rap talent shows in China and its subsequent rise in popularity confirms how beautifully poetic the dialect is. In rap music, the most important aspect is often the rhyme scheme and how the cadences of the music is interpreted by the listener. Though trap music is only a subgroup of rap music, poeticism is still an important factor even when rapping about the most seemingly mundane topics. The dominance of Sichuanese in China's current trap scene indicates that Sichuanese will continue to be an important factor to the development of hip-hop music and culture in China.

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