Chinese lyricist Bohan Phoenix starts off his verse in “Just Like That” by spitting braggadocio bars in English. Once he switches gears and raps slang in his native tongue, Phoenix challenges his haters to learn his language because “translating is just not my swag.” No matter what dialect you’re fluent in, it’s easy to understand how his speedy flow sounds so crispy over the upbeat bass line and futuristic synths as he keeps up with Atlanta artist Rome Fortune over DJ Tittsworth & Mestizo’s trippy instrumental. Their brand new collaboration is just another example of how strong the Urban Asia movement has become.
Hip-hop’s everlasting influence in Asia and the South Pacific region has inspired a tidal wave of skilled lyricists to defy all sonic boundaries with their music. While OG’s like Jin and Dumbfounded paved the way for today’s young Asian-American wordsmiths like Brian, Keith Ape, and Ted Park to blow up in the states, seasoned rhymers overseas like SEAMO and Boss X fka Fat Shady as well as dynamic women like Raja Kumari, UKA, and Mrs. M have already taken their respective countries and the Asian continent by storm.
In a historic move, VIBE, in partnership with Hong Kong-based b2 Music, is overjoyed to debut its first series of compilation albums, featuring the hottest rap music from Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, India, Mongolia and Hong Kong. VIBE Presents: Urban Asia Vol. 1 holds an array of popular, international bangers with lyrics in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Hindi and Mongolian.
“We are excited to launch this album series with our partners at B2,” said Datwon Thomas, Editor-In- Chief of VIBE. “Through these compilations, worldwide fans will be able to follow the developments and growth for the hip-hop genre in the Far East, one of the fastest growing - and most exhilarating - markets in the world.”
VIBE Presents Urban Asia Vol. 1 features 15 tracks featuring veteran heavyweights in the Asian rap game Edison Chen, MC Yan, and Thaitanium who throw down combative punch lines alongside with China’s newcomers Bohan Phoenix, the Higher Brothers and Jackson Wang. Korean DJ and producer TPA leads the cross border effort with his track ‘China Trap House’ featuring Hong Kong rhymers Al Rocco and newcomer Ivy.
While groups like the Beijing Boiz and Khasi Bloodz cause a ruckus with their bangers, its the ladies of the Southeast who prove just how overly dedicated they are to hip-hop. Rappers like Raja Kumari, Mrs M and UKA stand out with their hard-hitting bars about their struggles over melodies that stem from the Golden Era.
“The diversity of rap and hip-hop in Asia is astounding,” said Jonathan Serbin, Head of Asia for Billboard. “From local dialects to cross-border collaborations with international stars, the region is producing an exciting range of music. This series will provide exposure to the world-class artists developing in this part of the world.”
Among the playlist of international hits, the compilation album also holds four exclusive tracks including Bohan Phoenix, Rome Fortune, DJ Tittsworth & Mestizo’s “Just Like That.” Hong Kong beatmaker Silverstrike & Dutch producer Gianni Marino grab Japanese-Filipino rapper Shimica to channel her inner Nicki Minaj for their new energetic Trap banger “That’s Not Me.”
Meanwhile, Chengdu’s own Boss X recruits Xinwen Xu from superstar Jane Zhang’s Showcity camp and China’s freshest rap sensation Alex Hong for their motivational, bilingual song “Youth Anthem.” Korean American MC Eddie Supa also debuts his fresh single “Can’t Breathe” with Wiz Kalifa collaborator Stan Sono and former K-Pop star Jackson Wang. Supa’s latest offering is the sole trap-influenced emotional jingle on the album that will help anyone find love in the club.
Asia’s hip-hop community has always found solace inside the house Quincy Jones built. Now we’re laying the foundation to help them establish their legacy in the rap with this eclectic compilation album. Kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month the right way and push play on VIBE Presents Urban Asia Vol. 1 below.