Last March saw 88rising and Red Bull collaborate to produce a documentary centered on Asian rappers. Titled Asia Rising - The Next Generation of Hip-Hop, the documentary has been released on Red Bull TV and the brand’s YouTube channel, but it’s definitely worth a rewatch, if only to gear yourself up for the second annual Head in the Clouds Festival, founded by 88rising, that will be held this August.
Directed by Jonathon Lim, Asia Rising is a 1-hour documentary focusing on the rise of six Asian rappers. They are Awich (Japan), Suboi (Vietnam), Higher Brothers (China), Jin Dogg (Japan), Keith Ape (South Korea) and Rich Brian (Indonesia).
The documentary starts with the rappers' humble beginnings and sees them talk about their shared influence: American culture.
Rich Brian, for example, discusses about learning how to rap and speaking English from watching YouTube videos and chatting with his American friends. The tables were turned in the next part of the documentary, where a variety of American rappers was seen reacting to and giving their approval to the Asian rappers, most prominently Rich Brian and Keith Ape, who were credited by their peers as the trailblazers.
Amidst all the praises, the documentary doesn't shy away from addressing the controversies by raising the issue on Rich Brian's former stage name, Rich Chigga. "[The name] was something that me and my friends came up with when I was, like, 14,” he says. “When I realized what it meant, I was, like ‘Damn! Probably shouldn’t have done that’ and that was a big mistake.“
Asia Rising closes with scenes from the highly packed inaugural Head in the Clouds Festival. Held last September, the Asian-dominated music festival was attended by over 10.000 fans, becoming a testament to the Asian rappers' ever-rising worldwide appeal and their success in making the American influence they used to only experience on the internet their own.
Watch the documentary below: