Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains
Chongqing is a metropolis that lies deep in the Chinese heartland, along the Yangtze River. This place has been an inspiration to poets for years, but now things are changing radically and instead of being known as the Mountain City, Chongqing has become Trap City.
Rap is another name for hip-hop, a musical genre that was developed in the 1970s by inner city African Americans and Latino Americans. There have been rappers in China for decades but last year the genre was popularized and spread online through a program called ‘The Rap of China”. At first many people found it annoying, but still it continued to gain ground and just couldn’t be stopped.
In China one never knows what’s prohibited; it’s a way the government keeps everybody in check. Since there are no clear boundaries, people naturally censor themselves. Just in the downtown area alone there thousands of surveillance cameras. Security has increased, but at the same time civilians are controlled and repressed.
Recently about 120 songs were placed on a black list, forcing rappers to be more careful of their lyrics. What the young generation of rappers is facing is not new at all; it has been going on for decades. The censorship causes confusion. Many of them don’t know for sure what is allowed and what isn’t. As a result many of them quit rapping and find other things to do with their lives.
Those who remain do it because they want to change things in their country and they believe that hip-hop is the vehicle for making it happen. Hip-hop can empower people to demand change. Find out more now.