Rap music in China has turned ‘100% patriotic’ as the ruling Communist Party (CCP) is set to celebrate its 100th birthday on July 1. According to Quartz, a Chinese hip-hop brand released a patriotic rap song with the participation of 100 Chinese rappers. Titled ‘100%’, the song consists of various lines sang by rappers, who applauded the Chinese Communist Party’s achievements in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 1, 1921.
While taking to the Chinese social media app Weibo, hip-hop Fushion, the brand that developed the song, said that the lyrics have shown the “patriotic spirit” in every rapper. The co-production and performance of the song by 100 music professionals may be a pioneering act in global music history, the brand added.
According to reports, the 15-minute song praised China’s 5G technology, space programme even as a rapper criticised G7 nations giving the song a political colour. The song also praised the Red Army and the rise of “New China”. Further, the lyrics reportedly also urges youth to “shrug off indifference and self-defeat” and to “ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth, to secure life and fortune for the people”.
The Global Times reported that Max Ma Jun, an artiste from northwest China’s XUAR expressed “loyalty to the country” and “respect for different voices” in his verse. Buttons, a rapper from Qamdo in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region wrote in the song that ‘the spirit of five stars is imprinted on my chest’. “From impoverishment to brilliance, I have no regrets that I grew up in a Chinese family in this life,” rapped one of the artists JR Fog.
It is worth mentioning that before 2017, rap music was largely underground in China. During that period, underground Chinese hip-hop bands such as Beijing-based IN3 were able to produce rhymes critical of social issues, such as homelessness or mocking people who “eat out on government expense,” a reference to state employees. However, ever since President Xi Jinping took office around 2012, Beijing’s intensified crackdown in arts and dissent has led to the detainment of members of IN3 and 17 of those whose songs were put on a blacklist by the cultural ministry in 2015.
CPC’s 100th-year celebrations
Now, rather than completely banning hip-hop, the Chinese authorities have tried to co-opt rappers to disseminate “positive energy”. Along with the patriotic rap songs, China is also marking the anniversary with commemorative coins, tees shirts, floral installations and renewed interest in historical tourism to sites associated with key Party figures as international tourism remains out of bounds due to the pandemic. China earlier said no military parade will be held to mark the CPC’s 100th-year celebrations in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the military will be marking the day with display of advanced warplanes, including stealth fighter jets and newly developed helicopters.