It was about a month ago when the Chinese government announced it had banned all elements of hip-hop culture from appearing on TV. The move was made shortly after the genre had gained rapid popularity within the country, thanks in large part to the reality series The Rap of China.
According to Time magazine, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) released a statement that said the country’s TV stations can no longer “feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture), and dispirited culture (decadent culture).” Though the ban was controversial and shocking to some, many Chinese rappers say they aren’t too surprised by it. In fact, in a recent Q&A with Hypebeast, several Chinese rappers claimed the ban wasn’t all that significant.
“It isn’t a huge deal. It’s banned from national television but China is all mobile anyway, so I think hip-hop can thrive just as well without TV,” rapper Bohan Phoenix told the publication. “It’s all a matter of perspective and what you consider good or bad for hip-hop in China. Personally, I think it could make it harder for the uncreative rappers who just talk about fame, girls, and money and leave more room for the people who are actually saying something. Whenever we’re confronted by difficulties, we always find a way to work around them and in the process, discover something new. That’s the spirit of hip-hop I grew up with, and I think this can be the case for China, too.”
The Q&A also includes statements from Chinese artists like Dough-Boy, Allyson Toy, and Al Rocco. You can read their thoughts on the hip-hop ban, and its effect on the country’s music scene, at Hypebeast.