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Non-stop Hip Hop: the New Breed


by Winston Poirot

Beijing is galloping towards modernity at breakneck speed. Aside from the traditional benchmarks of this, such as social equality, and the community spirit of the average laobaixing, the city's rising star is amply reflected in rapid developments in the sphere of the arts, and more specifically, music. One (yi ge) example of this is the Beijing based Wing Yip Hip-Hop Jazz Massive Collective, whose music has been teetering on the brink of hip-hop cutting-edge for the last year or so.

Our gou-rou crack team of journalists had the good fortune to catch up one of the group's members when we stalked the gorgeous Ma Xiaoxiao, girlfriend of lead singer Zhou Jun, through a series of dark alleyways (hutong) east of Qianmen Avenue. The chase led us panting to the door of the bad granddaddy of Chinese rap's very own mother's courtyard, where the we found the king himself taking a day off from senior high school in order to enjoy some delicious chicken soup cooked by his gugu, Aunt Wang. Meanwhile it was clear that Zhou was also taking some time out to pen some new classics, continuing in the style of his current magnum opus "The Internet is Changing our World" and the now standard RnB groove "Email is so Convenient".

Zhou, who doesn't sing or rap but rambles incoherently in a salivating manner, embodies the lost generation of youth in the bad-ass, big, bad East Asian Metropolis, struggling to express their spirituality in the soulless dynamic of urban chic. The sounds of the ghetto can be heard emanating from malls, cafes and discotheques alike:

"2003 when we first went on-line/the internet is cool it's from America/but with Chinese characteristics/cos we got the top logistics/search engine, Google, One -six - three/I like you more than i like Lay-dees" -- from "Boyz on the Web", on the album 2008 Massive.

Perched elegantly on his washing machine, with a pair of underpants slung nonchalantly over his head, he talks animatedly about a recent concert at the Chaoyang Sports Stadium. "Everyone was sitting in their seats and some people stood up to express their interest. Some people even left to express a heart-wrenching indifference."

"It was a good concert," added Zhou, stroking his full beard and handlebar moustache pensively. Zhou Jun's group features himself and four other equally special classmates.

These "boyz" really are the sound of the city, spawned from the urban milieu and their destiny bound by its humdrum squalor. Wing Yip's agent, Mr Johnson Lim (BSc, MIP, DipT) very aptly summed up the attitude of the band and its members in a phone interview: "Aside from boyish good looks and ferocious Beijing accents, we think there may be a lot of money in this for everyone involved, especially me."

The ultra nu-cool Wing Yip Collective can be spotted in some bars around the Workers' Stadium and also do hip hop all-weekenders at the Hare & Tortoise Ranch down in Fengtai County. Don't forget to bring a sleeping bag, thermals and some other form of entertainment.