No one ever talks about Vietnamese rap music, but Viet rap is some of the most interesting music that you can listen to in my opinion. It's one genre of music that still continues to exist unmolested by all the corporate suits looking to make a quick buck. Viet rap continues to grow through grassroots means, and it's driven by people who are truly passionate about their art form. I think a lot of people overlook Viet rap, so here are some songs and artists that could use a little more attention.
The boys of OTĐ (Original Tây Đô) put out this crazy fresh remix of the song Con Tim Tao Đau Quá Man by Sol x Yuno x Kaka$hi this summer. The original version of this song was pretty good, but the female vocals in this version makes the song that much better. Listening to this song gets me feeling phê like an old Vietnamese man smoking thuốc lào from a bamboo water pipe.
If hardcore gangster rap isn't for you, then the boy Sea Chains (not to be confused with the ATL rapper 2 Chainz) from OTĐ has got you covered. In this more teenage-friendly song, Sea Chains raps about everyday things that are more relatable to the average person...like your mom getting on your case for not finding a wife yet. Who said rap music couldn't be upbeat and fun? The anything goes Wild West nature of rap Viet exemplified by this non-traditional rap song is something that I very much enjoy.
I never heard of the Vietnamese rap group 16 Northside until I heard Hip Hop Đổ Bộ. Hip Hop Đổ Bộ is your more traditional rap song with lyrics about smoking weed and one-liners putting the police on blast. Some people view rap music as music for degenerates. Well, I guess I am a degenerate then because I enjoy listening to this type of music. 16 Northside is now on my radar, and I hope to see more degenerate music from them in the future.
Speaking of smoking weed and degenerate music, the next song up operates in that same niche. However, this time we have two ladies of quality doing the rapping. I think it's nice when we see females also taking part in some real degenerate activities. The underground Viet rap track Wonderland is a hard hitting rap song by PM and Alice (aka sexy lady and the queen).
If PM and Alice want to call themselves "sexy lady and the queen," then Kimmese has something to say about that. K to the I to the M has been doing this rap thing for a while now. If anyone wants to take the title of queen of rap Viet, they have to go through Kimmese first. If I had to bet on who would win that battle, then I'm betting on Kimmese.
Currently, 95G is my favorite Vietnamese rap act. As a resident of a city that is known as Traplanta, I think it's required by law that I listen to trap music. When it comes to Vietnamese trap music, I think 95G is the best at it. When you need your fix of Korean trap music, you go to Keith Ape. When you want Japanese trap music, there's Kohh. For Chinese trap music, the Higher Brothers have you covered. For Vietnamese trap music, 95G is where you want to go. Step by step, 95G is slowly redefining the underground Viet rap scene.
Speaking of Asian trap artists that have gone viral like Keith Ape, Kohh, and Higher Brothers; 95G recently started doing something that helped their fellow Asian brothers to really blow up in the international scene -- they started collaborating with foreign rappers. In their latest track KY LA (Killa), 95G got an assist from French rapper KillASon to create perhaps the first ever Vietnamese-French trap song. The world hasn't seen this level of Vietnamese-French fusion since the introduction of the baguette to Vietnam, which eventually led to the creation of the world-renowned sandwich known as a bánh mì.
What makes 95G so great in my opinion is their ability to adapt their music to the current generation and evolve with the times without losing their Vietnamese identity. Nói Mày Nghe is a prime example how rap music in Vietnam and Vietnamese society in general is now rapidly modernizing. You could almost mistake the MV for Nói Mày Nghe to be a Korean or Japanese trap music video. The scene with 95G rolling around in a car in the open streets and hitting up a fast food joint could very well be filmed in a modern city in South Korea or Japan. Instead, I'm guessing it was filmed in one of the wealthier districts further away from the center of Saigon (basically the suburbs).
Anyone who follows the Asian rap game knows about the viral Indonesian sensation known as Rich Chigga. In this next song produced by Masew, Vietnamese rapper Right does his best Rich Chigga impression in a song with a similar title to 95G's latest release. I feel bad for the dude because not only does he have to deal with people calling him a Rich Chigga hack, but homie now also has to deal with people comparing his song KILLER to 95G's song. Maybe he should change his name to wrong because he seems to be making all the wrong moves at the wrong time.
If you like rappers who rap fast like Twista or Tech N9ne, then this next rap cypher is for you. Bát Quái is a rap cypher consisting of 8 different rappers from G-Family taking turns spitting on the mic. The style used in this song is similar to the American rap style originating in the Midwest known as "chopper." Midwest Choppers and Worldwide Choppers are two songs demonstrating this style. I'm originally from the Midwest, so I definitely enjoy this style of rap music too.
Almost two years after releasing his hit song Đưa Nhau Đi Trốn, rapper Đen Vâu once again is teaming up with singer Linh Cáo for a new soulful rap song. Ta Cứ Đi Cùng Nhau has a similar feel to Đưa Nhau Đi Trốn, and it should keep fans of Đen Vâu's original breakout song happy for some time. Đen Vâu with his more emotional and poetic rap style once again is proving that rap Viet can be more than just hard hitting bangers that encourages degenerate behavior...although I'm a fan of that too, so I'm not judging.