Li Yuchun is a mentor on the reality show Rap for Youth. BILIBILI
Rap is no stranger to negative stereotypes, but this entertainment medium, much like all artistic attempts, is at its core a means of human expression.
Rapper Chen Jinnan is an example of one artist who exemplifies this. Chen made her stage debut on the reality show Rap for Youth on the video sharing site Bilibili and made headlines for her song Malice From the World.
In the song, she rapped: “There are rumors about me going around the campus. They say that I am a girl with a problem, but nobody cares if I am sick … I woke up during the middle of the night and started crying endlessly. This is not my fault, but how can I prove myself? I feel the world is full of malice.”
Chen said that she wrote the song last year after receiving a message from a fan who was studying in Canada, was battling severe depression and had been ignored by her parents and schoolmates.
“No one understood just how severe her depression was, and she was considered a problem. I shared my own story with her in the hope of offering her encouragement,” Chen told China Daily.
Another rapper who appeared on the show is accomplished rapper TangoZ, who expresses his love for his hometown of Hangzhou – his “heaven on Earth” – and raps in the dialect.
节目中另一位说唱歌手是才华横溢的钟祺（TangoZ），他用方言说唱来表达自己对家乡杭州—— 他的“人间天堂”—— 的热爱。
“The rate of Wu dialect erosion is high. It’s not like Sichuan, Chongqing or Guangzhou,” he told independent media platform RADII China. “A lot of people would go learn certain dialects because they love Higher Brothers, so I want to make Wu dialect rap a bit better on this path as well.”
Just as Li Yuchun, a mentor on the reality show, pointed out, rapping is not defined by anger and provocation. “A lot of people think that Diss – disrespect or disparage – is the only definition of rap. But on this show, I’m touched and proud of the fact that you can express love and kindness through music writing and rapping,” she said.
Actually, rapping, for most performers, is a way to express opinions and let their voices be heard. If you dive deep into it, you’ll find that “it’s beautiful, stemming from the soul, derived from poetry and ancient folk tunes”, wrote Hannah George on the website Soundigest. “It’s a diary ... someone’s life on display for the world to enjoy, grieve with or be inspired by.”