Friday Song: Ty. doesn’t want to go to America, so he wrote a rap called ‘America’ - SupChina

Friday Song: Ty. doesn’t want to go to America, so he wrote a rap called ‘America’

Ever been to America, America?

There’s no doubt that the Higher Brothers are the most internationally successful rap act to come out of the Chengdu Rap House (CDC/说唱会馆), the name given in 2008 to the southwestern city’s trap scene. Slightly less known to the international community — but just as popular back home — is their friend and collaborator, the lanky and deadpan Ty.

Ty. is often hailed as Chengdu’s most successful solo rap artist. He was featured on Vava’s hit track “My New Swag” for Crazy Rich Asians, proudly flaunting Sichuanese, and, of course, giving Chengdu a straight-up and proper shout-out.

Whereas Higher Brothers signed early with the American label 88rising — and have turned to the global community for success and popularity — Ty.’s music often seems to bring global sounds and happenings down to a local level — for a hometown palate, and for regional celebration. In his 2017 album 1989, one song in particular seems to scale things to size and polish this perspective: “America” (美国 měiguó) is a repetitive and strangely sleek track about how, among other things, Americans drink purple water (he’s totally talking about Gatorade).

Plus, its first verse might take on a different tone when listened to now, after the Chinese government’s recent travel warning for tourists visiting the U.S. The announcement cites frequent “shootings, robberies, and thefts” as reasons for caution. Would Ty. agree with this new advisory? Probably, but that wouldn’t change the quiet bitterness or surliness that underscores the majority of the song — it’s still a rap about not wanting to go somewhere…that’s named after that somewhere.

Hook:

好多的美国人都爱喝点儿水水
Hǎo duō dì měi guó rén dōu ài hē diǎn er shuǐ shuǐ
Americans, sipping their drinks

紫色的水水 肯不是灰色
Zǐ sè de shuǐ shuǐ kěn bù shì huī sè
Purple drank, definitely not gray drank

好多的美国人都爱穿个AJ
Hǎo duō dì měi guó rén dōu ài chuān gè AJ
Many Americans like to wear AJs (Air Jordans)

我也穿AJ但我没去过美国
Wǒ yě chuān AJ dàn wǒ méi qù guò měi guó
I wear AJs, too, but I’ve never been to America

去没去过美国美国
Qù méi qù guò měi guó měi guó
Ever been to America, America?

去没去过美国美国美国
Qù méi qù guò měi guó měi guó měi guó
Ever been to America, America?

美国美国 去没去过美国
Měi guó měi guó qù méi qù guò měi guó
America, America, ever been to America, America

美国美国
Měi guó měi guó
America, America

Verse 1

我没去过美国 也不是特别想去
Wǒ méi qù guò měi guó yě bù shì tè bié xiǎng qù
I’ve never been to America, and I don’t particularly want to go

因为我不得对策 要是我遇到抢劫
Yīn wèi wǒ bù dé duì cè yào shi wǒ yù dào qiǎng jié
Because I don’t like to plan ahead, and what if I’m robbed at gunpoint?

拉斯维加斯颓废 底特律去和鬼扯
Lā sī wéi jiā sī tuí fèi dǐ tè lǜ qù hé guǐ chě
Las Vegas is depraved, and Detroit is a ghost town

洛杉矶大麻堆得 开车都是开飞车
Luò shān jī dà má duī dé kāi chē dōu shì kāi fēi chē
Heaps of weed in LA, everyone cruises high

我以前想去美国 小的时候
Wǒ yǐ qián xiǎng qù měi guó xiǎo de shí hòu
When I was young, I wanted to go to America

因为我觉得美国 很自由
Yīn wèi wǒ jué dé měi guó hěn zìyóu
Because I thought it was the land of the free

但当我了解美国 更多之后
Dàn dāng wǒ liǎo jiě měi guó gèng duō zhī hòu
But then, after I understood America more

要我去了美国 我肯定只皱
Yào wǒ qùle měi guó wǒ kěn dìng zhǐ zhòu
I knew that if I went, I’d just be disappointed

那儿的瓜娃子也多得像锤子
Nà’er de guā wá zi yě duō dé xiàng chuí zi
A f**k ton of idiots over there

跟这儿一样多得像锤子
Gēn zhè’er yī yàng duō dé xiàng chuízi
Same as all the idiots over here

所以看到他们那儿 那些锤子
Suǒ yǐ kàn dào tā men nà’er nà xiē chuí zi
So, when I see all those idiots over there

我还是宁愿在我们这背时
Wǒ hái shì nìng yuàn zài wǒ men zhè bèi shí
I’d rather try my luck back here

那儿的瓜婆娘也多得像锤子
Nà’er de guā pó niáng yě duō dé xiàng chuí zi
A f**k ton of idiots over there

跟这儿一样多得像锤子
Gēn zhè’er yī yàng duō dé xiàng chuí zi
Same as all the idiots over here

所以看到他们那儿 那些锤子
Suǒ yǐ kàn dào tā men nà’er nà xiē chuí zi
So when I see all the idiots over there

我还是宁愿在我们这儿背时
Wǒ hái shì nìng yuàn zài wǒ men zhè’er bèi shí
I’d rather try my luck back here

Also see:

The allure (and hazards) of going international: Higher Brothers’ Five Stars, reviewed


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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Lavinia Liang

Lavinia Liang is a freelance writer. She studied politics and fiction writing at Princeton University. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @lavinianshores

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