Chinese rappers hit back at Lil Pump’s racial slurs amid backlash
- Hip-hop artists release ‘diss tracks’ in response to song preview that includes racial epithets and a gesture that is offensive to Asians
- Clip has been met with anger in China, with internet users flooding the 18-year-old’s Instagram account and demanding an apology
Chinese hip-hop artists have fired back at American rapper Lil Pump, releasing “diss tracks” in response to a song preview he posted on Instagram that included racial epithets and a gesture that is offensive to Asians.
Lil Pump’s 40-second preview clip for his new single Butterfly Doors includes the lyrics, “Smokin’ on dope, they call me Yao Ming ’cause my eyes real low! (Ching chong!)”.
As he raps, the 18-year-old pulls the corners of his eyes. Both “ching chong” and the slant-eye gesture are racist caricatures of Asians.
Lil Pump, whose real name is Gazzy Garcia, is a Colombian-American rapper best known for his 2017 hit Gucci Gang.
His latest offering has been met with anger in China since it was posted on Sunday, with internet users flooding the rapper’s Instagram account calling him out for racism and demanding an apology.
It has also prompted Chinese rappers, including Sichuan group CD Rev, or Chengdu Revolution, to hit back with songs of their own in response, posting them on Weibo and music streaming sites. Diss tracks, where artists verbally attack each other, are a key part of hip-hop culture.
CD Rev released their message in English with a song titled F*** Lil Pump. Written by the group’s Li Yijie, or “Pissy”, it attacks Lil Pump for his racism, invoking the history of the United States and its treatment both of black people and native Americans.
“The fact is you and white racists the same / Respect yourself, you’ve suffered the pain / You don’t know anything ’bout the history / Cuz you a nation of immigrants, and if you really won’t take it serious, check it out on those Indians,” he raps.
Other Chinese rappers have also posted songs online in response to Lil Pump.
Chengdu hip-hop group Higher Brothers, who are touring in the US, posted on Lil Pump’s Instagram page, “I will remix this song to diss you”.
Li from CD Rev said he wrote the song as soon as he saw Lil Pump’s video on Monday.
“My first reaction was anger,” he said. “Not only were the lyrics insulting, he made the face gesture, the whole package. It means that he understood what it meant – understood that it is discriminatory language. It’s quite irresponsible.”
It is not the first time CD Rev has released a song in response to a controversial issue. The group has taken to task governments and their leaders including Sweden, following an incident between Chinese tourists and Swedish hotel staff and police in September.
In 2016, their song The Force of Red took aim at Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for “dreaming of Taiwan independence”.
But the rappers – who work with the Communist Youth League but say they do not receive money from the Chinese government – deny they are nationalists, saying they just like writing those type of songs.
And Li said this time it is different – the feud is between the musicians. “In the past, our songs have been critical of certain international events or phenomenon, but this time it’s a clash between rappers,” he said.
Independent Chinese rapper Jae said the songs were a way to express their views on discrimination. Jae posted his own response to Lil Pump on music streaming site NetEase. He suggests in the song that the American rapper should “get to know Yang Yongxin” – the notorious Chinese clinical psychiatrist who used electroconvulsive therapy to treat teenagers with internet addiction.
“As a rapper, I think it is our responsibility to step up and strike back,” Jae said, adding that he had experienced racism himself when he was studying abroad.
Lil Pump has not responded to the Chinese rappers or made any comment on the criticism on social media.