HHH (红花会 Hónghuāhuì), one of China’s most prominent hip-hop record labels, has shut down its operations after one of its artists, MC BeiBei, a.k.a. “贝爷” (bèi yé), cut off the tip of his pinky finger during a live stream.
The incident happened on August 6, when the 24-year-old rapper, whose real name is Lǐ Jīngzé 李京泽 and is best known for his freestyle battle skills in China’s underground hip-hop scene, was doing a live video chat on the live-streaming site yizhibo.com.
Judging from the clip, the conversation started with MC BeiBei sharing some innocuous updates about his recent activities with his followers, but it quickly spun out of control after some viewers, presumably the rapper’s diehard fans who monitor his news closely, asked him to respond to the rumors that he had flirted and slept with some fans.
Seemingly agitated, the rapper cursed and said, “I’ll chop off my finger to prove my innocence.” He then turned away from the camera, but some chopping sounds could be heard. A few seconds later, he returned and that the tip of his little finger had indeed been cut off. While his pinky bleeds profusely, MC BeiBei appears calm and shows no signs of pain.
The live-streaming site later announced the suspension of MC BeiBei’s account, saying that the singer had been sent to the hospital. Meanwhile, the video went viral on Chinese social media, with many internet users questioning whether the rapper’s unhinged and erratic behavior was drug related. In response, MC BeiBei’s label, HHH, which is also known as Triple H, told Sina News that the rapper suffers from hyperthyroidism, a thyroid disease that makes him experience unpredictable mood swings from time to time.
“He went extreme because he was wronged and he was eager to show his clear conscience in the face of cyberbullying. We hope people will stop making malicious speculations and sharing clips of this bad example,” HHH said. “We apologize for spreading negative energy, but MC BeiBei is a victim, too.”
Founded in 2011, the Xi’an-based label is no stranger to controversy. In 2017, the label made its leap from underground to mainstream thanks to The Rap of China 中国有嘻哈, a breakout hip-hop reality show that helped launch the career of Wáng Hào 王昊, a.k.a., PG One, who signed to the label for years. PG One’s appearance on the show significantly raised the profile of HHH, but his past scandals also made him a divisive figure, and whose bad reputation tarnished the label’s public image.
HHH has come a long way, but the finger incident proved to be the final straw. Yesterday, the label announced its closing in a statement (in Chinese) published on Weibo: “We’ve arrived at a point where we decided to pull the plug.”
Liú Jiāyù 刘嘉裕, a hip-hop artist who founded the label and is known for his stage name Dànké 弹壳, confirmed the closure in a personal statement. “We don’t want the impact of this incident to grow bigger and affect the hip-hop circle and the music we like,” he wrote. “We shut it down and will disappear from now on. We are grateful for all the friends we made along the way.”