The politics and aesthetics of featuring in post-2017 Chinese hip hop

Dr. Michael Ka-chi Cheuk (Open University of Hong Kong)

Date & Time

Mar 8, 2021 11:30 AM Prague Bratislava


Trainee Centre Online


A common interest amongst Chinese hip hop scholars concerns the construction of a local youth identity via the negotiation between the logics of hip hop culture, the practices of the local underground hip hop community, and the cultural governance of the state. Building on previous studies about these multi-faceted negotiations before 2017, or before The Rap of China phenomenon, this paper explores the politics and aesthetics of featuring in post-2017 Chinese hip hop. Rather than dwelling upon the authenticity of hip hop, this paper is more interested in Chinese hip hop’s variations of authenticity through the practice of competitive collaborations between local and non-local artists. I seek to demonstrate a spectrum of ‘realness’ in the post-2017 era with three case studies: Vava, Kris Wu, and Higher Brothers. While these rappers negotiate with the values of hip hop and state expectations differently, they are all nonetheless ‘keepin it real’.


Dr. Michael Ka-chi Cheuk is Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at The Open University of Hong Kong. His writings about hip hop can be found in Cultural Studies, Time Out Hong Kong, New Ear Music, Magazine Americana, and Cultural Conflicts in Hong Kong. In addition to Chinese-language hip hop, Michael’s other research interest is Chinese literature in a global context, specifically the Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian.