In the far East, a few artistes are riding the SoundCloud wave to success.
Asian music today is a far cry from half a decade ago. Unlike yesteryear's quirky Asian hits of 'Gangnam Style' and 'Pen Pineapple Apple Pen', today's artistes are not relying on comedic undertones to carry their songs to international fame.
With the accessibility of beat making software, it seems like it's easier than ever to be a rapper. But while anyone can put their music on Soundcloud, opportunity is nothing without the talent and hard work that these artistes have in abundance.
Here are four rising Asian hip hop artistes to look out for :
1. Rich Chigga
Of course, there is Rich Chigga of 'Dat $tick' fame. Arguably the most famous of the Asian explosion, the Indonesian's hit song has over 80 million views on YouTube to date. If that is not indicative of the clout that Asian artistes are starting to enjoy in the hip hop world, I don't know what is.
He is fresh off his debut American tour, with multiple sold out venues, and recently performed in Singapore at ZoukOut 2017 with Higher Brothers.
2. Higher Brothers
Switching their flows from Chinese to English seamlessly, MaSiWei, DZ, Psy.P, and Melo of Higher Brothers complement each other so smoothly that they're like a single, well-oiled machine of a rapper.
Their incredible chemistry has raised eyebrows from the hip hop collective and many compare them to Migos – the hip hop triplet that produced the Billboard 100 topping banger, 'Bad and Boujee'.
For a group to be compared to a hip hop juggernaut like the Migos is no mean feat, but Higher Brothers have well-deserved this comparison.
At first sight, you might find his face familiar. Yes, Joji is the professional alias of Australian-Japanese George Miller, the creative brain behind the infamous and uncouth TVFilthyFrank on YouTube.
He has previously released the funny and offensive mixtape 'Pink Season' under his Pink Guy identity (think Eminem versus Slim Shady – if Slim Shady was in a pink leotard), but he has begun to foray into more traditionally 'serious' music.
While Pink Guy raps over hard hitting trap beats with controversial lyrics, Joji's music has roots in lo-fi chill-hop that his soothing voice serenades over. Two very different artistes, one amazing person behind them both.
4. Keith Ape
When you think of Korean artistes, chances are you'll think of highly sheened, polished K-Pop artistes with immaculate, handsome faces.
Challenging the stereotype is Keith Ape; He wears his hair long, fashioned into thin braids, and has a little tattoo right under his eye. Abrasive, unconventional and with machine gun flow, Keith Ape is due for a viral explosion soon.
These four rising artistes are showing the world that Asia is not going to be left behind by the wave of hip hop music. And if even our neighbor Indonesia has its own prodigal rap son, perhaps it's not too much to dream that Singapore could be the home of the next rap phenomenon to hit the soundwaves.
BANNER AND TEASER CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/GRACE NEO