DC rappers Pacman and Peso, who made waves in January after releasing a music video filmed in Pyongyang, North Korea (a trip that their friend and colleague, Ramsey Aburdene, documented for this site), are back with another video, this one set in Beijing. There's a lot to love about this, including:
The world is slowly discovering that the Chinese music landscape is not limited to folk tunes and revolutionary ballads. As China’s indie rock, blues and trip-hop artists head abroad, avoiding the “Made in China” label has become a major concern.
Several more months of terrible air, bad publicity and one inspired brainstorm session with my friend Kyle convinced me that this was a movie that needed be made. Beijing right now is one of the most fascinating clusters of humanity in the world and yet it’s almost perpetually shrouded in a layer of physical and public relations pollution. I get that. I’ve read the history, I breathe the air, I eat the gutter oil, and yeah, that all sucks. But at the end of the day this place just has an energy that I’m in love with.
Tom Chou played the Chinese character in the music videos for "Chinese Food" and "Get In My Car," both produced by "Friday" producer Patrice Wilson. Although criticized by some as racially insensitive and tacky, the two videos together have amassed more than 16 million views on Youtube and Youku.
After two-plus years, Lady Gaga has been removed from China's musical blacklist, which means she can now perform on the mainland. Her third studio album, ARTPOP, has also been approved for release, as the singer herself announced in a tweet: "I'm so excited!!!! The Chinese Government Approved ARTPOP to be released in China with all 15 songs!"
Pacman, Peso, and I recently returned from a 16-day Asia trip that included a five-day stay in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (as in America, the N-word is taboo in DPRK). This journey started in August when our record label, Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group, launched a Kickstarter seeking $6,000 to fund the trip and a music video called "Escape to North Korea." With the help of a five-page feature in the Washington Post Style section and a generous $5,100 donation from James Passin (aka "The American Who Bought Mongolia”), we were able to raise $10,400 and get a lot of attention in the process. People actually cared, for some reason.
Here's a laowai who loves his hometown of Cleveland so much that he raps about its charms to a Chinese audience. Cleveland, the city whose football team has had more staph infection lawsuits than playoff appearances since 1999, the city with a sulphuric I-71 cutting through it, the city consistently ranked one of the worst in the US, the city...
Ylvis's hit "The Fox" (What Does the Fox Say?) was the surprise viral song of the late summer. We can't believe it's taken all of nearly two months, but here, finally, is a parody of that video set in China, featuring that other wonderfully mysterious creature of the woods, by which we mean -- of course -- the giant panda.
We don't have a lot of information about this video just yet, but it was sent to us recently by YouTube user Scott AH, whose e-signature suggests he's with Comedy Club China. It's a good one, if only for this scene at the 19-second mark:
The wonderfully idiotic adults behind Rebecca Black's "Friday" have done it again, kidnapping what appears to be a sweet teenage girl and forcing her in front of the camera to perform the world's worst song. Ark Music Factory, led by producer Patrice Wilson (he's the dude in the panda costume; what panda costume, you ask? hang on), has topped itself with "Chinese Food," simply a glop of bewilderment and suburban American camp.
How many deep-rooted Asian stereotypes can you cram into a five-minute music video? Dozens if you’re the American boy band Day Above Ground, the Los Angelenos who galvanized the Asian American community on Tuesday afternoon after blogger and cultural critic Angry Asian Man blasted the video for their song “Asian Girlz” in a scathing post.
While we’d love to offer a frame-by-frame analysis of everything questionable about the most racist music video we’ve ever seen, doing so would give us ebola. Our shortlist, however, includes:
The feel-good show Voice of China, which admittedly can be over-the-top and schmaltzy, has produced another made-for-TV moment. The most buzzed-about performance from last week is by Zhang Xin from Chongqing. Check out his rendition of Alicia Keys's Fallin', followed by the judges' reactions when they find out that the singer hitting those high notes is a 26-year-old man.
The hottest ticket in town will be the one to see Dr. Dre and LeBron James at Spark this Saturday. How do you get tickets? No idea. They're probably not going to be publicly available. (Maybe. Who knows.) But there are giveaways and such on the table, beginning with the one advertised by That's Beijing, who's got itself quite the bona fide expat-mag scoop...
The talk of the day has been Mark Griffith and Andrew Dougherty's brilliant music video Beijing State of Mind, a tribute to this city of ours, set to the beat of Jay-Z's famous homage to New York. The Brooklyn native's Empire State of Mind has, of course, inspired countless spin-offs, about Chinese cities other than Beijing, too.