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Asian American hip hop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The influence and impact of hip hop was originally shaped from African American and Latino communities in the South Bronx. In the last several decades, the movement has become a worldwide phenomenon which transcends different cultural boundaries as it reaches several ethnic groups, including Asian Americans. Asian American hip-hop practitioners include: Jin (rapper), Dumbfoundead, Nicki Minaj, Tokimonsta, and DJ Q-Bert.

1980s: Fresh Kid Ice of The 2 Live Crew

Fresh Kid Ice in the 1980s.
Fresh Kid Ice in the 1980s.

Fresh Kid Ice and 2 Live Crew 1984 to 2017

In 1984, three members of the U.S. Air Force, while stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, formed the rap group 2 Live Crew known to have popularized Miami Bass, a subgenre of hip hop music.[1][2] This included the DJ David "Mr. Mixx" Hobbs, and two rappers Yuri "Amazing Vee" Vielot, and Christopher Fresh Kid Ice Wong Won (1964–2017). Wong won would become known as the first Asian rapper, his ethnicity is Afrochinese, his family is mostly from Hong Kong and both of his grandmothers were African. In many of his raps, he gave himself the nickname Chinaman.[3]

After releasing a successful independent single, the group caught the attention of a Florida-based music promoter and DJ named Luther Campbell invited the group to work with him there. Vielot would quit the group shortly after. They then released the lyrically sexually charged single called "Throw The D" in January 1986 gave a permanent blueprint to how future Miami bass songs were written and produced.[4] At the time Fresh Kid Ice was the only MC in the group and featured on the track. The fact that he was alone made him the first Miami Bass Rapper.[5] It is rumored that he coined the term Miami Bass as well.[6] Shortly after, Campbell would join the group as the hype man and Brother Marquis took over Amazing Vee's place.

The 2 Live Crew's debut album The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are (1986), and their second Move Somethin' (1988) both went Gold and were comedic albums with sexually explicit lyrics. Fresh Kid Ice and his group mate became American rap superstars of that area.

The group became notorious, influential, and legendary in 1989 with their third album As Nasty As They Wanna Be, along with its hit single "Me So Horny", proved more controversial still, leading to legal troubles getting obscenity charges for both 2 Live Crew and retailers selling the album (all charges were eventually overturned on appeal in the 1990s). The controversy lead to the album going double platinum.Fresh Kid Ice, would make two more best selling albums with 2 Live Crew before disbanding in 1991. In 1992, he made his first solo album The Chinaman. The Chinaman is the first American hip hop album to embrace an Asian heritage. It inverts Asian stereotypes into prideful declarations of self-identity.[7] On the Billboard 200, it peaked at No. 38 and stayed two weeks on the Heatseekers Albums, and was No. 56 for ten weeks on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[8][9] Various reunions of the 2 Live Crew would occur. All the albums produced from that point would chart, but all them would have one or two members of the original line up missing, however Fresh Kid Ice was the only one always present until the last official 2 Live Crew album The Real One in 1998.

In the early 2000s Fresh Kid Ice released three albums Still Nasty (2000), Stop Playin' (2003), and Freaky Chinese (2004). Due to the graphic sexual nature of his lyrics, his music video could only be platey on BET Uncut. Freaky Chinese is noted to be the first album where Flo Rida performed, whom he discovered and hired on to be his hypeman.

In the mid 2000s Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis decided to relaunch 2 Live Crew. They toured and released singles. Fresh Kid ice left 2 Live Crew in 2016, and passed away 2017 due to health issues.

1990s: DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike of Invisibl Skratch Piklz, of The Black Eyed Peas, and Mountain Brothers

Mix Master Mike circa 2007
Mix Master Mike circa 2007
DJ Qbert circa 2008
DJ Qbert circa 2008

DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike of Invisibl Skratch Piklz 1990 to present day

In the early 1990s, two hip hop turntablists of Filipino descent came to prominence DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike, they were both founding members of the group Invisibl Skratch Piklz.[10][11] In in 1990, DJ Qbert won the DMC World DJ Championships, the following year he was joined by his group Shadow of the Prophet (later known as Invisibl Skratch Piklz) which included Mix Master Mike. Together they won for three more consecutive years.

They released as a group and solo many Albums, Mixtapes and various other projects. Through these, they are known for the inventions of the "crab scratch", "tweak scratch", "strobing", and furthering the development of "flare scratching".[12]

Mix Master Mike's most high-profile work has been with hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. Mix Master Mike worked with the band on Hello Nasty (1998), and To The 5 Boroughs(2004). In 2018, it was announced by BReal of Cypress Hill that he would be joining Cypress Hill. being honored at the Filipino American Library Spirit Awards in 2006. being honored at the Filipino American Library Spirit Awards in 2006. of The Black Eyed Peas 1992 to present day performing in 2011. performing in 2011.

In 1992, a Filipino descent rapper, with his group mate, and several others had their group Atban Klann sign to Ruthless Records (run by Eazy-E). They made their first appearance on Eazy-E's EP, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick on the track entitled "Merry Muthaphuckkin' Xmas". Soon after, the duo recorded their debut album, Grass Roots which was to be released on October 6, 1992; however, the album was shelved shortly before its release. The duo would stay with Ruthless until they were dropped from the label after Eazy-E's death in 1995.[13] Soon after they changed their name to Black Eyed Peas. Another vocalist would join Taboo, and they made their critically acclaimed debut Behind the Front.

In 2000, and The Black Eyed Peas released Bridging the Gap, who met with critical acclaim.

For their third album in 2003, female singer Fergie joined and they made Elephunk. In the United States, Elephunk reached number 14 on the Billboard Top 200 and was their first album to chart in the top 15. On the UK Album Charts it reached number 3. It has sold over 1.6 million copies in the UK and 8.5 million copies worldwide.[14]

In 2004, their album Monkey Business was also a big success. Afterward the group went on a hiatus.

They came back in with the album 2009 The E.N.D., and 2010 The Beginning. Both albums did well on the charts.

From 2012 to present started solo ventures, with a music video called "Jump In" featuring Jessica Sanchez.[15] In March 2013, was confirmed to be one of the four coaches of the inaugural season of The Voice of the Philippines.[16] He released several singles "Balikbayan", "Going Out", and "Be".

In 2015, Black Eyed Peas premiered a new song titled "Awesome" that was included in commercials for the 2015 NBA playoffs. That same year, on the 20th anniversary of their debut, the Peas premiered a new song titled "Yesterday" .[17]

On August 31, 2016, the Black Eyed Peas released a new version of their song "Where Is the Love?"[18] On June 3, 2017, they performed at the opening ceremony of the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final in Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The performance, which included a pyrotechnic display, ran over time and forced the kick-off to be delayed by several minutes.[19]

On January 9, 2018, Black Eyed Peas released the single, titled "Street Livin'". Later that year they released a single called "Ring the Alarm" and "Get It".[20][21]

Mountain Brothers promotional photo.
Mountain Brothers promotional photo.

Mountain Brothers 1999 to 2003. CHOPS 1999 to present day

Mountain Brothers are considered cultural pioneers, being one of the first Asian American hip-hop groups and also for the lack of sampling of other music in construction of their own.[22] Mountain Brothers released two critically acclaimed albums, Self Vol 1(1999)[23] and Triple Crown(2003), the first of which is widely considered to be an independent hip-hop classic.[24]

Member CHOPS would go on to produce and work with artists such as DJ Clue?, Jeezy, Chamillionaire, Bun B, Nappy Roots, etc.

2000s MC Jin and the next generation

MC Jin circa 2004.
MC Jin circa 2004.

MC Jin 2001 to present day

In 2001, MC Jin had a break came when the BET program 106 & Park began inviting local rappers to hold battles in a segment known as Freestyle Friday. He won seven battles in a row, enabling him to be inducted in the Freestyle Friday Hall of Fame.[25] Unlike other competitors, Jin occasionally spoke Cantonese in his freestyle verses.

After that he signed a deal with the Ruff Ryders label. His first single under Ruff Ryders was titled "Learn Chinese" featuring Wyclef Jean. The album The Rest Is History debuted at the No. 54 on the Billboard 200 and spent 3 weeks on the charts debuting at No. 54. The album also spent 7-week on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums debuting at No. 12. It also spent two weeks at the Billboard Top Rap Albums debuting at No. 8. The album to date has sold over 100,000 units in the United States and over 250,000 worldwide.[26] It features Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, Twista, Lyfe Jennings, Styles P...

Kero One performing circa 2009.
Kero One performing circa 2009.

In 2005, he released The Emcee's Properganda. Following this he released many singles.

Mid-2008 saw Jin relocate to Hong Kong, initially for three months, to promote his first all-Cantonese language album ABC. ABC debuted at No. 1 and achieved gold status in Hong Kong. He is since a very successful rapper in Asia.

Kero One 2004 to present day

Kero One is a Korean-American hip hop MC, producer, and DJ from San Francisco, California.[27] He has been recognized for re-introducing the jazz rap sound in the early to mid 2000s with his groundbreaking jazz-hop album Windmills of the Soul.[28] He since tours, and releases albums.

New generation of rappers

Ever since many Asian rappers have emerged in the US, including Traphik, Jay Park, Rich Brian, The Fung Brothers, Far East Movement, Dumbfoundead, Heems, Anderson .Paak, and Awkwafina.


  1. ^ "Fresh Kid Ice Discography at Discogs". Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  2. ^ Serwer, Jesse. "Chatting with The Chinaman: 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice On Being Trini + Miami Bass".
  3. ^ "How 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice Became a Worldwide Sex Symbol". July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  4. ^ Bein, Kat (November 3, 2014). "Tootsie Rolls, 'Hoochie Mamas,' and Cars That Go Boom: The Story of Miami Bass". VICE. Retrieved February 27, 2017. Miami Bass, Booty Bass, Booty Music, or whatever you want to call it, changed the scenes of hip hop, dance music, and pop forever...The story of music’s dirtiest genre reaches back to the ‘80s with roots set firmly in Afrika Bambaataa’s elektro-funk...foundational artists Amos Larkins and Maggotron, both of whom have been credited as kicking the regional sound into motion. According to Stylus Magazine, Larkins and the Miami Bass conception can be traced back to the movie Knights of the City...Inspired by the humid and vice-ridden melting pot of cultures, ...MC A.D.E.’s "Bass Rock Express" gets the title for first hit of the genre, but it was 2 Live Crew who became the poster boys of movement. Record store owners who sold the album were arrested and charged with crimes of obscenity, and 2 Live Crew members were arrested just for playing shows...US Appeals Court system ruled rap was protected by First Amendment rights...2 Live Crew made it safe for hip-hop as we know it to exist. The influence of the genre is far-reaching...Miami Bass remains not only one of the most ridiculous and enjoyable genres of music in recent memory but also one of the most important.
  5. ^ "Uncle Luke Talks Tupac Movie, Forming '2 Live Crew', Remembers Rapper 'Fresh Kid Ice'". YouTube. OurVerity ENT. July 15, 2017.
  6. ^ "Episode 429 – Fresh Kid Ice Tribute". Ugs4Life. Murder Master Music Show.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Zachary (2015). "A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASIANS IN HIP-HOP, FROM 2 LIVE CREW TO "IT G MA"". Playboy. Archived from the original on December 3, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Heatseekers Albums Fresh Kid Ice Is The Chinaman". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Fresh Kid Ice The Chinaman". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Invisibl Skratch Piklz: Biography : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Mix Master Mike of Beastie Boys Fame Drops New Solo Album, Magma Chamber | The Source". The Source. March 2, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  12. ^ [1] Archived July 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Kellman, Andy. "The Black Eyed Peas". Allmusic. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  14. ^ "Amazon Elephunk Information".
  15. ^ "Jessica Sanchez, debut 'Jump In' music video". 21 July 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  16. ^ " confirmed as 'The Voice PH' coach". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "Video: The Black Eyed Peas – 'Yesterday'". Rap-Up.
  18. ^ "#WHERESTHELOVE  (feat. The World) – Single by The Black Eyed Peas on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  19. ^ Gibson, Sean (June 3, 2017). "Fans not happy as Champions League final kick-off delayed after 'awful' Black Eyed Peas performance". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  20. ^ "Black Eyed Peas – "Get It"". Archived from the original on May 24, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  21. ^ "Exclusive: Black Eyed Peas on "Ring the Alarm" and Their Plans to Bring About Positive Change". Complex. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Nguyen, Daisy. "THE COLOR OF RAP". The Columbia Daily Tribune.
  23. ^ "The Mountain Brothers Self 1". allmusic.
  24. ^ "Triple Crown". MTV. Retrieved February 11, 2003.
  25. ^ Kim, Kevin, Y. "Repping Chinatown Archived September 30, 2015, at the Wayback Machine". ColorLines. Winter 2004–05. Vol. 7 No. 4. Accessed: 2015-09-30.
  26. ^ – Artist Chart History – Jin
  27. ^ "Kero One and the Kinetic Life". Hyphen Magazine. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "News: Kero One launches Kickstarter campaign for new album 'Color Theory'". The Find Mag. May 30, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
This page was last edited on 11 July 2021, at 20:22
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