The Taiwanese urban scene is rising: focus on the most diverse hip-hop music from Asia, and the Asian rap we know the less of.
The Taiwanese rap and its evolution are very different from the ones in Japan or South-Korea. In fact, it doesn’t seem to have been fueled by the afro-american culture, even if it was unconsciously inspired by it. The first rap wave was born in the late 80s in Taiwan, and the pioneers were actually singers coming from folk and rock music. It was therefore estranged from the usual underground hip-hop culture where rap has its roots.
One of the other main differences has to do with the huge diversity, linguistic as well as cultural. The artists of the Taiwanese urban scene are not afraid to express their cultural or ethnical affiliation through songs including sometimes 10 different languages. This great variety is directly linked to the history of the island of Taiwan, and reflects the multiculturalism there.
Taiwanese hip-hop has been marketed for the first time in the 90s by a group called “LA Boyz”. Their songs are a proof of the influence of the afro-american culture though, as they represent both Taiwanese and American culture.
Since then, the Taiwanese hip-hop has kept evolving, while staying underground, and many record companies helped the genre to get more recognition when they emerged in the late 90s. The first rapper to perform in Chinese, known as MC HotDog, is amongst the pioneers of the Taiwanese scene. He definitely left his mark by shaping the history of Taiwanese hip-hop.
In the 2000s, the genre thrived while its popularity rose among the general public. The underground hip-hop from the 80s-90s became more famous as it was marketed alongside mandopop.
Mandopop’s artists soon included rap to their pop songs, helping the genre even more. Famous singer Jay Chou, known for mixing traditional Taiwanese sounds with occidental music, was one of them.
Rap has now become an independent genre by itself, both wide known but still with an underground component, just like the hip-hop culture in general. We can rely on artists like OZI,高爾宣 OSN, NICKTHEREAL or J.Sheon to maintain the hip-hop culture in Taiwan.
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