China’s Hip-Hop Underground

Matthew Niederhauser is a documentarian who works with an array of media. He has been closely following the culture of underground music in China for some time, and published the book Sound Kapital in 2009. Asia Society posted a video by Niederhauser chronicling the underground world of hip-hop in China:


The above multimedia project documents live performances of some of the most popular underground hip hop artists in Beijing, including MC Davey, MC Majun, MC Dawei, Nasty Ray, Yin San’er (IN 3) and punk musicians Generation Six. In the video, Niederhauser provides an informal history of China’s underground hip hop scene, explaining some of its defining characteristics as well as some of the problems and obstacles faced by Chinese hip hop artists. In his view, the music is ultimately a vehicle for self expression.

“I think the only direction for hip hop in China is onwards and upwards,” Niederhauser concludes. “There is so much more potential for these guys to reach larger audiences.”

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