Imagine if, instead of tweeting, Donald Trump had responded to Eminem, Snoop Dogg, YG, or any of his rap detractors by dropping a track of his own. Well that’s exactly what the Thai government did after a song criticizing the government went viral.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the establishment of Thailand’s military government was frustrated when the music video “Prathet Ku Mee” (translation: "Rap Against Dictatorship") raked in millions of views. The song blasts the military’s involvement in Thai politics and various actions by the government.
The video includes verses from 11 different rappers, and has gained more than 26 million views since it was published on Oct. 22. It includes a reference to the 1976 massacre of pro-democracy student protestors by the government, and other controversies. “The country that points a gun at your throat, claims to have freedom but has no right to choose,” one artist raps during his verse.
In response, a rap video titled “Thailand 4.0″ was released by the government to counter to its critics. AP reports that Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has “penned several patriotic ditties since seizing power in 2014.”
The song interpolates parts of the country’s national anthem, and lyrics including, “There are many talented Thais, if we work together, we’d be stronger, stronger” and “Gen M, Gen Z, Gen whatever, if you all agree, it’d be easier, easier.” It’s reportedly lame, which one would expect from any global leaders fashioning together a rap song.
This rap battle comes ahead of Thailand’s general elections early next year.
Rapper Dechathorn Bamrungmuang, who helped write and perform “Prathet Ku Mee,” thinks the song blew up not only because of its anti-government sentiment, but hip-hop’s global influence.
“When the song came out, there were both negative receptions and supportive messages to us,” he said Wednesday. “This made us feel like we can communicate with people through our music and that this song doesn’t overstep any boundaries.”