A Finger POP
The 'Chillest' contestant in Rap Of China
Taking China by storm just this past summer, The hip hop reality show Rap Of China has given rise to hundreds of underground rappers and hip hop acts an immediate boost into stardom. We talk to one of our homies in China POP, who happened to be one of the first round selected participants and also find out more about the scene in Guangzhou.
Flesh Imp // FI
Pop // POP
FI : Hi Pop, pleased to meet you. Would you give us a short introduction about yourself to our readers in Singapore? Have you always wanted to be a rapper?
POP : Yo, what's up everyone in Singapore, I am Pop, member of A Finger rap group. I grew up in Chao Shan, a province in Guangdong and have been using the dialect similar to Teochew to rap. I am not considered well known, as yet, but I am really happy to be able to pursue my dream of doing what I like, which is to rap.
When I was younger, my mother wanted me to be a musician and I took up many forms of instrument, including harmonica, violin and even erhu; but I did not complete the learning them because it's simply not my vibe. In my teens, I was also part of a metal group but being young and rebellious, it was disbanded soon after.
It was only when I was 14, that I got to know about rap music. As you know China was just slowly opening up and rap music to me was really fresh and real. It was then I knew I wanted to be a rapper. I mean on top of being really cool and the chicks dig it, it has evolved from all that superficial stuff to really about making music and repping Chaosan as well as speaking out stuff that most people dare not talk about
FI : Awesome! You have been to Singapore before to perform, what was it like and how did you like it?
POP : It was just last year in 2016 that me and my group got invited by the Teochew Clan Association to be part of the Teochew Day Celebration. It was my first overseas gig and also a first for the association to have a rap performance.
Y'know, instead of young kids, the audience we performed to had the average age of 60 years old, we were kinda afraid they will be bored, but you know what, after our set ended, the applause was thunderous, and many of the audience brought their grandkids for phototaking with us.
There was this old lady in a wheel chair, she held onto my hand so tightly and her voice trembled with emotion as she told me how much she enjoyed our songs and didn't expect that Teochew could be so hip. She also told me she missed speaking in Teochew and none of her grandkids or even her own kids can speak Teochew any more, as she cried when she lamented how lonely she was, I started crying too. I will never forget this.
I would say it was a great show in Singapore, and we got covered in the main press, Lian He Zao Bao, Wan Bao and several others. We had dozens of Singapore food and man, I simply fell in love with Laksa! I caught up with some relatives and friends while I am here so I am really looking forward to come back here again.
During the 7 days when I was here, I felt really blessed and fortunate and before we left we also had the chance to collaborate on a single called <<LIONCITY>>with a local rapper Miiko (Thirt13n Team).
FI : We also know about your recent participation in Rap of China and it must be a proud moment for you and the Chao Shan community, how did it feel? / We also noted that you were really cool and meditated while everyone was all hyped up. What’s that about? What did the other rappers feel about that?
POP : I think a lot of people should know that Rap of China is a reality TV Show, and not a true blue freestyle competition. But you know what, this show has successfully made hiphop known to the whole of China. From a niche underground music genre, to become a mainstream choice. It also allowed struggling rappers to rise above and became overnight sensations. That, in itself, is simply fuckin awesome.
Haha, I think most people remember me for being that guy that sat while the rest stood right? To be honest, I am quite a chill, laidback kinda guy, so instead of standing, I just did what I usually did, sit down and chill, regulate my breathing and not let the adrenaline and fatigue get to me. The other rappers started asking if I was into zen and meditation and the sorts, my reply to them? ' I am just nervous'
FI : Besides from rapping, we also know that you are the co owner of Fusion Idea. Tell us more about this brand and concept
POP : We founded Fusion Idea with my wife Bo. I feel that when two people are in marriage, they can do so many other things than the usual stuff that married couples do, and I think instead of having kids our way of showing love is through taking care of homeless animals and giving them shelter. We also use Fusion Idea to differentiate from so many other brands out there that have no soul. We also use it as a platform as an integration to show that we are just actually in a seamless world, where everything transcend each other and there is no absolute right or absolute wrong, where there are no boundaries and we are brought back to a world where everything is just peace and love. One thing about Fusion Idea and our music is that we keep everything on the down low, and not mass produce because we believe that a song's impact is the hardest the first time, and the you just need a piece of our apparel to send the message we want.
FI : This idealogy is really eye opening. So when can we expect the next launch? Are we going to see any collaboration soon?
POP : For sure, as mentioned above, I love Singapore and it left me many interesting memories and it holds a special feeling for me, and of course the Flesh Imp boys are my homies so I really can't wait to head over to Singapore real soon.
FI : What are your plans for the future? Are we looking at more shows, singles, and concert?
POP : For me it's simple, whatever work that I have done, it's all based on my life and my community. A Finger have always been based in Chaoshan, so most of my work have been about the lifestyle here. Using Chaoshan or Teochew in my songs have been something normal and since moving to Guangzhou, I have also been using Cantonese, English and Chinese to write and this is basically how rap music is versatile. It represents the life of a rapper and his music
This July, we released our first Chinese single <<11:11>>, and we are preparing our next album << Light >> as well as other TV productions, shows and movies.
Cos I am a rapper.
FI : Any advise or shoutouts for aspiring rappers out there?
POP: As I am a not a really famous rapper yet, I can't really give advise to others, but all I can say is, as long as you take hip hop as part of your lifestyle and eat sleep and breathe the hiphop culture, you will go far because that's what hip hop is all about.
It's not just something that is cool and trendy so that you can live in the hype. That's not how it works.
Being a rapper is like a warrior, and able to speak your mind, using rhymes and music. Else, you are just a poseur that is being controlled by the corporate and media.
China has always been a place full of culture and history for many of us and it is a place that we always wanted to explore, yet there is always an air of uncertainty and apprehension, especially due to negative media coverage or just perceptions from skewed WhatsApp viral videos in group chats.
However, we have music to aid us on crossing borders and transcending boundaries, and rap music always delivers, no matter where you are. Had to chance to meet Pop through Bo, whom they are happily married, and got to find out more about this interesting rapper that actually sat on the floor during auditions in China's biggest hip hop show The Rap Of China.
Speaking to Pop was an interesting person to speak to simply because of how he looks. beneath his rough gangsta/rasta rapper exterior, lies a kind hearted animal and peace lover, where his ideal world lies in the realm of his band, clothing label and his music, where everything is pretty chill and equal. Humble, yet proud, stylish yet simple, vocal yet soft, Pop is the true embodiment of the Chaoshan rapper.
We look forward to seeing him in Singapore and repping the Chaoshan rap really soon.
FI : 您好，Pop, 很高兴和您见面。您能给我们新加坡的读者们作一个简单的自我介绍吗？您是一直都想当一位说唱者吗？
POP : YO 新加坡的朋友们, 你们好 我是POP 一指团体的成员. 因为我是潮汕人, 我在澄海长大, 所以做了十几年潮汕方言说唱. 虽然不怎么红, 但过得很快乐. 小的时候妈妈希望我将来是个音乐家 小的时候学习了很多乐器, 手风琴, 小提琴, 二胡....但是由于自己不喜欢, 所以都半途而废.
青春期的时候, 组过重金属乐队. 但由于年少轻狂, 并没有对音乐负责, 所以也没有坚持.
14岁那年, HIPHOP文化透过街舞流入中国大陆. 第一次被这样自由, 真实的音乐吸引. 好像找到了真正的归属. 一直到现在, 做说唱的目的从以前为了帅, 为了把妹, 到现在变为了想让更多人了解潮汕, 为了说出别人不敢说出的话.
POP: 2016年, 我与我的团队很荣幸受新加坡潮商会的邀请, 参加了2016年的潮州节. 那是我第一次出国演出, 也是新加坡潮州节第一次有说唱的演出.
你知道吗, 台下的观众平均年龄是60岁以上的长辈们, 但是当我们演出完毕后, 整个会场回荡着掌声, 很多长辈带着他们的孙子来找我们合影.
有一位坐着轮椅的老奶奶, 紧紧地握着我的手, 告诉我她很激动. 她很喜欢我们的歌, 她没想到潮州话还可以唱的那么前卫, 她好久没人和她说家乡话了, 她的子女子孙都已经不会说潮州话了. 她很孤独, 她很想家, 她哭了, 我也哭了.这一幕 我永远记得.
我们还登上了很多新加坡华人媒体, 联合早报, 联合晚报, 还有很多我都忘记了. 我们吃了很多很多新加坡美食. 我对呖沙念念不忘. 我见到多年没见的新加坡亲戚, 和在新加坡留学工作的老同学.
在新加坡的那7天, 我很幸福, 很难忘, 很感触. 我们和新加坡的说唱歌手 Miiko(Thirt13n team) 合作了一首单曲《LION CITY》
FI : 我们了解到，你有参加2017年的中国有嘻哈节目，对于你和潮汕团体来说都是件值得骄傲的事情，你觉得这个比赛怎么样？我们有注意到，当大家都很兴奋的时候，你依然很酷和在冥想，你当时是怎么想的？其他的rapper们有什么想法？
POP :《中国有嘻哈》是一档真人秀节目, 不是一场说唱比赛. 但因为这个节目 让中国的HIPHOP真正意义上的从地下浮出水面, 从小众文化变成让大家疯狂的主流音乐, 让那些穷到没饭吃的地下rapper变成了主流明星, 我觉得是特别牛逼的事情, 也是特别开心的事情.
我是个很懒的人, 我不喜欢站. 我习惯席地而坐, 所以在海选的时候, 我就习惯的坐在地上.
因为紧张, 所以我闭目养神, 调整呼吸, 才能达到好的状态. 不过很多选手都问我, 你是不是修道的 .你是不是会禅定, 你是不是学佛. 我都笑着和他们说, 我是紧张.
FI : 除了说唱，我们还了解到你还是Fusion Idea的合伙人，可以和我们分享一下这个品牌和概念吗？
POP :【合】FUSION IDEA 是我和我太太创立的. 因为我觉得夫妻的结合除了生小孩, 还能做很多很多有意义. 有意思的事, 比如我们会一起救助动物. 比如我们想在这个浮躁的服装行业做些特别的事. 【合】是融合 是万物归一 万物归一就是众生平等, 就是没有界限, 没有好坏错对黑白之分 就是和平与爱. 我们不会为了潮流, 为了季节去生产一大堆爆款, 因为做服装和做音乐是一样的, 一首歌传达一次感悟, 一件衣服传播一个道理.
FI : 我们什么时候可以听到你新的歌曲
POP : RAPPER出新单曲的速度都是很快的, 平均每个月都会有一首新作品. 在中国大陆的朋友在网易云, QQ音乐, 微信公众号, 微博 ,搜索一指团体, 就能听到我们的作品和动态.
在国外的朋友 youtube搜索一指团体/AFINGER, 也可以听到我和我团体的作品.
POP : 这是必须的, 上面我有提到. 我对新加坡有特别的情感, 加上Flesh Imp的两位主理人是我的好朋友, 特别期待我们有深度的合作.
POP : 过什么样的生活就写什么样的歌. 我们团体之前一直在潮汕地区做音乐, 所以我们的作品都是围绕着潮汕地区发生的故事.
所以我们会有潮语方言去演绎, 近几年我们搬到了广州, 我们的生活也发生了变化, 我们也写了很多在广州所看到, 接触到的事, 所以我们也开始用粤语, 英文, 国语去创作.
今年7月我们发行了我们第一张国语专辑《11:11》, 现在在准备明年发行的国语专辑《光》, 参与电视节目, 演出, 拍戏.
这些通告我们就是一直在做的, 赚钱嘛. 哈哈! 但最重要的计划, 还是专辑.
POP : 因为我目前并不算是一位很成功的说唱歌手, 所以我并不能给到什么好的建议给其他rapper, 但我觉得, 把HipHop当做是一种生活的态度, 可以走得很久.