The Interaction & Integration of Cultures in Music
Asia Rising: The Next Generation of Hip-Hop (2019) is a documentary directed by Jonathan Lim, which explores the rising success of Asian hip-hop artists over the past few years. The film features artists Rich Brian, Keith Ape, Higher Brothers, Suboi, Jin Dogg and Awich. It highlights their cross-cultural rise to fame around the globe and their collaboration with the 88 creative family.
In the film it was quite evident that these artists were strongly influenced by Westernised hip-hop/rap music, particularly from American artists. The South Korean rapper Keith Ape said in the documentary “the internet influenced my music style a lot, I focussed on making it sound like music from the West”. He then went on to release a song in 2015 called “It G Ma” that went viral in the West, especially America. I’d say that the rise of this song is connected to the fact that a lot of the media Keith Ape consumed was Westernised so his music could easily cross borders.
Anthique (2019) suggests that “the expanding flow of media content had a transformative effect upon popular culture across the region, not only from ‘Western’ material but also from Asian content producers such as South Korea”. Therefore, the rise of digital media has resulted in cross culture music, where Asia is strongly influenced by Westernised music. Cross cultural music can be described as the “interaction and integration between cultures” (Anderson, 2017). This phenomenon is evident in music released by Asian hip-hop, as I listened to some of the music these artists released. The Asian music sounds so American and has very familiar beats and lyrics to Western hip-hop music.
The Korean Wave & The Rise of K-Pop
Asia Rising: The Next Generation of Hip-Hop (2019) also touched on the growth of pop culture in Asia over the past few years. K-pop for example stands for Korean pop culture and expanded during the rise of the internet and television, meaning people were listening and watching their music from around the globe. K-pop Artists such as BTS, Blackpink and EXO have been topping the charts consistently for years now (Manley, 2019). Mainly due to their catchy songs, addictive dance routines, dedicated fanbase and the use of social media for its success.
Surely you remember Gangnam Style… This songs global success is due to the fact that “popular culture products are tailored to appeal to the widest possible audience beyond the national and regional boundaries” (Kuwahara, 2014). As a result, K-pop is designed to appeal to international audiences which is why Korean pop culture has been a massive hit with other countries around the world.
Overall, Asia Rising: The Next Generation of Hip-Hop (2019) introduced me to a whole new style of music. It demonstrates cross cultural music between Asia and American hip-hop and how this genre of music has gone viral. I learnt that music from Asia will go viral if the song is inspired by Westernised music, because people are already familiar with that style of music.
Athique, Adrian (2019). Digital Transactions in Asia. Digital Transactions in Asia: Social , Economic and Informational Processes. (pp. 1-22) edited by Adrian Athique and Emma Baulch. New York, NY United States: Routledge.
Anderson, T., 2017. What is “Cross-Cultural Music Making?”. [online] Tristan’s A-Pop Blog. Available at: http://blogs.evergreen.edu/apop-tristan/2017/10/21/what-is-cross-cultural-music-making/
Manley, P., 2019. Move Over K-Pop & J-Pop, C-Pop Is On The Rise. [online] Trend & Chaos. Available at: https://trendandchaos.com/move-over-k-pop-j-pop-c-pop-is-on-the-rise/
Kuwahara, Y. ed., 2014. The Korean wave: Korean popular culture in global context. Springer. Palgrave Macmillan.