Friday Song: Vinida takes the lead among China’s underground rappers - SupChina

Friday Song: Vinida takes the lead among China’s underground rappers

There’s something convincing about the way Vinida turns her parasol and raps “I’m the future you long for.” Her song 主角 (zhǔjué) — i.e., “lead role” or “protagonist” — is, like all of her songs, confidently hostile. It’s off her full-length album Solo, whose tracks speak on themes of independence and self-love, replete with healthy levels of negging.

Vinida — full name Vinida Weng 万妮达 (Wàn Nīdá) — lives in Fujian and has been rapping since she was 13. She has been featured on shows including Sing! China and season two of Rap of China, where she was one of six women. She got started rapping with the underground Fujian rap collective Freedom Plant, and in 2016 signed with Modern Sky Records, the largest independent record label in China.

Not quite yet a household name, Vinida has managed to amass a significant following in her short career. She has 1.4 million followers on Weibo, and a smaller but respectable 70,700 on Instagram. Her music is available on all the Chinese music apps, as well as Spotify.

In “Lead Role,” Vinida raps in an abandoned warehouse with friends, on top of a car for an audience, and in an arcade while playing with toy guns. She is queen of the room, no matter which it is. Maintaining a strikingly similar demeanor to Nicki Minaj in her “Anaconda” video — or really any of her videos — Vinida projects confidence. She surrounds herself with talented backup dancers and equally cool friends.

But Vinida always plays the lead. Her red wardrobe and red hair dominate, and call to mind the concept of 福 (good fortune or wealth), often associated with the color red in China. Vinida combines American hip-hop aesthetics and attitude and places them in a visibly Chinese context. Rather than blind imitation, Vinida makes hip-hop music in the American tradition with confidently Chinese characteristics. It’ll be worth tracking what she comes out with next.

Lyrics:

妳是过客而我才是主角 / You’re a passerby, I am the leader
看我的风格这才叫做主角 / Look at my style, this is called playing the lead role
来了来了来了 / Come over, come over, come over

当主角上场永远都是主角 / Once you’ve played the leader you always will
Little baby 快穿上救生衣 / Hurry up and put on a life jacket
当我来临 没人能够拉住妳 / When I’m coming closer, no one can pull you.
我是丛林深处最险恶的MVP / I’m the most dangerous MVP in the jungle
没礼貌的菜鸟全部给我滚出去 / Rude rookies all want me out


Friday Song is SupChina’s weekly sign-off. Let us know what you thought of the week that was in the comments below, or email editors@supchina.com.

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Johanna Costigan

Johanna Costigan is a writer from New York who has lived and worked in Shanghai for two years.

2 Comments

  1. jixiang Reply

    Meh. I have yet to hear a really good rap song in Chinese. They make much better rap in the Arab countries and Iran, for instance. Rap is at its best when it is driven by anger at injustice.

  2. Daniel Ryan Reply

    Just another dime a dozen dripping pouring with slave labels “beautiful” Chinese rapper resembling the high-class sugar loaded watered down coffee culture chaser. Clamoring for and association with power, money, beauty, looking “badass” seems to be the status quo. Still waiting for the less showy low-production or conscious tip with something to thoughtful say about something actual people can relate to,

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