Chengdu Chengdu has been called the hip hop capital of China. Why do you think the scene out here is so vibrant? What do you think it is about Chengdu, about the culture or the city?
Chengdu has always been a leisure city. Across all of China it’s known for drinking tea on the streets, playing Mahjong with old people, so the scene is really relaxed, and I think that helps. Keeping things smooth, not so stressed all the time.
Another thing is the Chengdu dialect is phonetically pleasing, more so than Putonghua. It’s closer to Japanese, almost, more straight.
How would you define your sound or your style?
My style and sound changes all the time. It started out as more trap style hip hop.
I’m now working on my 8th album with Jachary and we’re doing it all live, no computer. I like all types of music and I think today we’re in a comfortable environment with the internet where no one’s really restricted to just do one sound anymore.
I don’t know how to describe my sound, I think I’m constantly evolving, my goal is just to make good music. As far as influences go, I got into hip hop because I was watching 8 Mile.
Tupac, Daddy Kane, I started listening to them. So, in terms of rappers, Eminem and Tupac inspired me to be more than just a rapper, to be a well-rounded person, to use your voice. Don’t be afraid. Whatever the horizon might look like for Asian people in the scene, don’t be afraid to speak up against it if you see something wrong with it.
It really wasn’t until I met Jach years later that he started showing me Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder. When I started listening to other shit, that’s when my music started getting better.
Then in terms of music, D’Angelo changed my life. Listening to D’Angelo’s music made me understand how artists interact with music instead of just being over it.
How did your family react to you going down the artistic route?
My dad, having been a singer who left my mum, left a bad taste for music in the mouth of my family. That was one of the reasons they didn’t want me to do it.
But when I first started rapping in the States my mum would tell my family over here and they were like ‘it’s a phase’.
And then I went to New York University to get closer to music.
Were you studying music there?
Nah. I was undecided for two years and then I had to pick a major and I was a big fan of J Cole at that time, and I saw that he’d studied in Queens, New York.
So I looked up what he studied and he did communications. So I just picked communications. The whole point of taking the loans and going to NYU was to be able to tell my family, I’m at a good college, now let me do what I’m gonna do.
They never understood it enough to support it directly. But them not telling me ‘don’t do it’ was the biggest support I ever got.
So now they can see I can make a living off it, I’m paying my loans back, I’m helping my mum, they have no problem with it.
What sort of music can we be expecting over the next 6 to 12 months?
I’m dropping a bunch of singles, more trap, rap sounding. And between now and the start of 2019 probably four or five singles, and then this 8 song project that’s like straight funk. I’m doing a tour of Asia with a five piece band. Just trying to show motherfuckers out here how it’s done.