The Scene

The Scene is a series of interviews performed in Pudong, Shanghai with local members of the the city's hip hop community during January, 2016. It aims to add lived experiences and context to one's understanding of Chinese hip hop. 

Rap group doublex2:

the locals

DoubleX2 (pronounced "Double Double") is a local rap group and boy band based in Shanghai. Their recent projects include Change Your Life and Haze, both of which are available in this site's Film section. We sat down with DoubleX2 to talk about their hip hop influences, their path to making music in Shanghai, and the future of hip hop culture in China. Translations are my own.

To hear the rapper from Chengdu they're talking about, check the Audio section, or read about why he's important in the write-up


bboy and sociologist george "z" zhao:

the expert

George Zhao is a Shanghai-born, New York raised breakdancer and sociologist. He returned to Shanghai after graduating college where he performed a research project documenting the journey of the Shanghai breaking community, The Freshest Kids in China, and is currently working there as a video producer. We sat down with George to get some of his own thoughts on Chinese breaking, the need for an honest Chinese hip hop identity, and the "cultural free-for-all" that has emerged since China's previous generation.


dj and hong kong native benjamin "third wave" lee:

the foreigner

Benjamin Lee, who has performed in venues throughout Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhou as DJ Third Wave, is a Hong Kong native and was living in the country during the initial hip hop explosion of the 1980's. We sat down with Ben to get his international take on his early exposure to hip hop in Asia, the importance of context in understanding the genre, and the cultural relevance of breaking and "the battle" to Chinese youth.