China’s Hip-Hop Answer To ‘American Idol’ Is Huge… Even Though Rap Was Banned In China
It might be a few decades late, but hip-hop is now huge in China.
It’s all thanks to a show called “The Rap of China.” Imagine American Idol (except full of rappers, and everyone is Chinese), and you’ll get the idea.
It’s slick, it’s dramatic, and a bit goofy. It’s also massively popular, pulling in 3 billion views in its first season, and the show has pushed a few rappers into superstardom.
There’s just one hitch: none of this should be happening, because in January, the Chinese government banned hip-hop from being shown on TV.
But somehow, The Rap of China is still on the air, and in its second season.
VICE News’ Dexter Thomas went to a live taping of The Rap of China in Beijing to find out how an entertainment company is building a fortune on a genre that wasn’t supposed to be on the air, and how local rappers are keeping audiences — and censors — happy.
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