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‘Asia Rising’ – The Next Generation of Hip Hop, is a new documentary that offers a unique perspective into the world of Asian hip hop from the viewpoints of six diverse artists at the forefront of this movement.
Asia Rising thoughtfully explores the symmetry between Eastern and Western cultures. The eight artists featured in the film include Rich Brian (Indonesia), Higher Brothers (China), Keith Ape (South Korea), Awich (Okinawa), Suboi (Vietnam), and Jin Dogg (Japan). As each protagonist shares their own poignant story of their rise to fame, they collectively offer the viewer a deeper, more meaningful, holistic understanding of the current Asian hip hop movement and how much of a pivotal role 88rising has played in surging the music forward.
Although they might hail from different countries (Japan, China, Indonesia), all of the artists featured throughout the film have had to hustle and persevere to make it out of their hometowns and into the mainstream music industry.
The documentary demonstrates the power of the internet as a platform that can bridge cultural gaps and break down stereotypes while connecting, inspiring, and influencing not only the artists featured in the film but the fans of their music as well. Asia Rising provides us all with a powerful reminder that music is a universal language.
Guest appearances from other industry influencers include 88rising Founder Sean Miyashiro, hip hop legend and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, as well as Joji, 88rising artist and the first Asian artist to top the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart, who each lend their perspectives to this exploration of the rise and acceptance of Asian hip hop.
Asia Rising – The Next Generation of Hip Hop premiered 7am EST on Friday March 29th, you can now watch it exclusively through the Red Bull YouTube and Red Bull TV.
We celebrated the worldwide release of the documentary with a private premiere and panel discussion with Awich, Jin Dogg, and Director Jonathon Lim. Moderated by Rolling Stone Journalist Amy Wang, it all went down at Kinfolk94, the day before, on Thursday March 28th. Libations were poured by Red Bull and Alice Longyu Gao kept the night bumping with a hip-hop DJ set.
Wanna get up close and personal? Check out 88rising’s ‘Head in the Clouds’ Music Festival this August, the 17th to be exact, in LA!
Here’s a little more info and sounds from artists featured in Asia Rising:
Rich Brian (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Rich Brian – the 19-year-old rap star from Indonesia – is taking the world by storm. Ever since breaking out with the incendiary “Dat $tick” (with over 113 million YouTube views and counting), Brian has been shaping a fresh perspective on hip-hop’s global influence. With the release of his debut project Amen, Rich Brian is cementing his place in hip-hop history, becoming the first Asian solo artist to clinch the #1 spot on the iTunes Hip Hop charts. Amen is Brian Imanuel’s coming of age story, chronicling his humble beginnings as a homeschooled teenager from Jakarta to his newfound role as a global icon. Rich Brian is proving that he “deserves his triumphs to date and that he’s not going anywhere” (Pitchfork). Whether he’s being named Rolling Stone’s “25 Under 25,” sitting down for interviews with Nardwuar and Pharrell Williams, or selling out headlining shows in the US, Europe, and Asia, Brian is showing why his “mainstream potential is unprecedented.” (Vulture)
Keith Ape (Seoul, South Korea)
“South Korea’s first real rap star,” (i-D) Keith Ape broke down barriers with his hit single, “It G Ma,” which has racked up over 63M views as the first Asian rap record to achieve mainstream success. Since his initial breakthrough, Keith Ape has ascended the ranks to hip-hop royalty and continues to facilitate groundbreaking intercultural collaborations. In 2017, he followed his viral success with a slew of hard-hitting collaborations, teaming up with hip-hop’s hottest new talent including XXXTentacion and Rich Brian on “Gospel” and Ski Mask the Slump God for the menacing “Achoo”. He recently linked up with hip hop veteran Chief Keef for “The Ice Ape” on his debut EP “Born Again.” From modeling for Calvin Klein to performing in front of thousands of screaming fans at Rolling Loud in Miami, Keith Ape continues “redefining expectations of what an Asian rapper should be.” (Dazed)
Higher Brothers (Chengdu, China)
“The current breakout stars of the Chinese hip-hop world” (The New York Times), Higher Brothers are defining what it means to be Chinese in an increasingly globalized, internet-fueled world. Recently named ‘2018 Hip Hop Artist Of The Year’ by Netease – one of China’s top music streaming platforms – and featured extensively by international media like CNN, Vice News, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, and more, Higher Brothers are already the most heralded rappers in Chinese history.
Hailing from Chengdu in mainland China, members Masiwei, Psy.P, Dzknow, and Melo are proving that “language barriers aren’t an issue and all that matters is the music” (Pigeons & Planes). The first and only China-born rap group to achieve international success, the Higher Brothers’ sound mirrors their high-energy hybridized spirit, combining simple English hooks with infectious Mandarin flows to create melodic bops and explosive bass-kicking bangers. Their sophomore studio album, Five Stars, is a true global crossover album and boasts notable collaborations with Schoolboy Q, Denzel Curry, Ski Mask The Slump God, J.I.D, Soulja Boy, NIKI, Rich Brian, and more. Higher Brothers’ success story is more than a tale about four kids “making it” – it’s emblematic of a bigger trend towards globalization in hip-hop” (GQ).
Awich (Okinawa, Japan)
A child growing up on her home island of Okinawa, Awich would stay up through the night writing poetry and fantasizing about the island, love, and the universe. Awich, short for “Asia Wish Child” is a name she created to reflect her passions. It also happens to be the meaning of her birth name, “Akiko.” She started writing rhymes when she was 13 years old. Her first encounter with hip hop was listening to Tupac’s All Eyez on Me. Although she began learning English in a class on the U.S. military base, her primary English textbook hailed from Tupac’s lyrics, interviews, movies, and books. She was featured on the album Orion Beat showcasing various artists when she was only 14 years old. In 2006, she released her debut album, EP Inner Research. She went to Atlanta to attend school that same year, during the height of the southern hip hop boom. Moving between Tokyo and Atlanta, she released her first full album Asia Wish Child in 2007. During that time, she married a New York native and gave birth to her daughter, Toyomi Jah’mira.
In 2011, she graduated from a university with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. Her husband was murdered in an incident right after her graduation. She returned home with her daughter and faced seemingly endless internal questioning. This intense process of introspection was cathartic and helped her reevaluate a more profound meaning of life, love, and forgiveness. Through this healing process, she established a production company, CIPHER CITY, in her home of Okinawa. The company produces different content such as music, movies, festivals, and TV shows. In 2017, the short film “Aimer” written and directed by Awich, won the Best Fantasy Short at the New Renaissance Film Festival Amsterdam. Later that year, she released a full album, her first in a decade, and she released double E.P “BEAT” “HEART” in 2018 in partnership with Chaki Zulu. She flows freely between Japanese,
Okinawan and English, piecing together a unique sound while also staying true to the lyrics. Her deep vocals generate a captivating atmosphere for listeners. Awich’s ability to submerge herself into multiple global perspectives while also adding her signature feminine touch allows her to create music that is singular but relatable across the world.
Suboi (Saigon, Vietnam)
Hàng Lâm Trang Anh (born January 14, 1990), known by her stage name Suboi, is a Vietnamese rapper, singer, and songwriter. Raised in Saigon, where she lives, Suboi is one of the first Vietnamese female rappers to become successful in her country and The Guardian calls her “Vietnam’s queen of hip hop.” She is able to rap in both English and Vietnamese, making her unique from most rappers in Vietnam. Her lyrics are typically introspective yet outspoken and deal with family, love, social pressures, and daily life in Vietnam.
Jin Dogg (Osaka, Japan)
Born in the Ikuno district of Osaka, his Korean international school background means he’s trilingual in Japanese, Korean and English. As a member of the Hybrid Entertainment label since his debut in 2016, he’s known for his two mixed tapes “1st High” (2016) and “2nd High” (2017).
WATCH ‘ASIA RISING’ NOW, HERE: