Going mainstream brings exposure and with it added financial gains, but the flip side is more scrutiny and this week the hammer fell on the burgeoning hip hop scene in Mainland China. The government broadcast authority released a memo basically banning hip hop on television, likely spurred on by the recent scandal with a very well known hip hop star PG One and his alleged affair with married C-actress Li Xiao Lu. The backlash was on his lack of morals and filtered into scrutiny over his hip hop song lyrics being called out for drug use and misogyny, nothing new in hip hop culture the world over but in China this is still a relatively new musical medium for the mainstream audiences.
The memo states that all television programs must follow the 4 tenets in booking guests – no one of low moral values, no one who is vulgar or has low taste, no one whose thoughts and style are not refined, and lastly no one who has been involved in a scandal. An added requirement is that tattoos are not allowed to be shown. Since the memo was circulated other The Rap of China famous contestants such as co-winner GAI and popular VAVA have been pulled from the variety show programs they were currently participating in. Like all bans this could be temporary and may be quietly lifted in years to come, but it certainly puts the breaks on the spread of hip hop in mainstream China but the rap culture there has been vibrant in the underground scene for years and will likely go back to that arena and thrive in a smaller venue.