While Chinese pop stars exploit hip-hop to sell fizzy drinks and fries, the nation’s turntablists and DJs have been preparing for the year’s biggest hip-hop music event. They will be competing for turntablism’s premiere title, the China region DMC World DJ Championship this Sunday at ARK in Xintiandi. The winner will go on to represent China in the final round in London on September 25.
Shanghai’s own DJ V-Nutz, who won China’s first DMC (Dance Music Community) title in 2002, is gathering aspiring DJs from all over China for this year’s competition. Envisioned as an opportunity to promote authentic hip-hop in China, the guest performers list reads like a “Who’s Who” roster of the best and most authentic examples of China’s burgeoning street culture.
The event will be hosted by MC Raph, founder of Society Skateboard and MC Webber. Webber’s magnetic stage presence, intelligent verses and devastating rhymes delivered in an almost impenetrable Beijinghua accent have earned him the distinction of China’s best freestyle rap artist. He is probably better-known around town for dropping in on Thursday night at Pegasus for some “小菜”, easily upstaging local Shanghainese rappers on their home turf.
Performing are Beijing’s hip-hop/rap group, Yin Ts’ang (隐藏), whose first 2004 album sold 70,000 copies and Guangzhou’s DeearNa (禅) who earned the praise of DJ Krush during his visit last winter with their unique down-tempo blend of jazz instrumental tracks and rap.
Also joining the festivities is soft-spoken, doe-eyed graf artist Sice, Guangzhou’s most notorious tagger who brought the art form to Shanghai some years ago after founding her own graffiti crew, Made in Guangzhou (MiG). Rounding out the night’s lineup are local DJ collective Aminosoul and hip hop dance performances by Shanghai’s Dragon Dance Studio.
The DMC has played a pivotal role in redefining the DJ and the role he or she plays in creating, rather than curating, music using only turntables, a mixer and a solid vinyl collection. Shanghaiist will be there to celebrate this next generation of Chinese turntablists. We can only hope that their scratches and beats run deep.
2005 DMC Championship, 8:30 pm, Sunday, September 4, ARK Live House, 181 Taicang Road, Xintiandi North Alley #15, near Madang Road (太仓路边181弄新天地广场北里15号). Tickets: RMB 60 at the door. Tel: Call 13386170235 for more information.