Thursday 13 February 2014


For your viewing and listening pleasure, here is something all the way from Taiwan. "Taiwan?" I hear you say, "But what's going on in Taiwan?" Good question. The actual answer to this is that there's a very nice underground rap/hip hop scene, to which the YES/NO-featured beatmaker Luviia and rapper Aristophanes貍貓 both belong; producers work with each other, MCs try their skills with different producers, live performances abound.

It's from out of this scene, pretty much like a circle of friends, that the two artists who make up this song appear: Simon, full name Simon Chen, is an MC who's a part of Lantown (part-creative-collective, part-rappers, part-videomakers, part-local-culture-promoters based in Yilan City); and Long Nek, a producer from Kaohsiung, a city on the south-coast of Taiwan. Together these two have forged a pretty awesome track called '城市車手' (chéngshì chēshǒu) or simply 'City Riders' in English.

Obviously – well, actually maybe it's not too obvious – I don't understand Mandarin. But thankfully Simon has provided the lyrics to the track in the video's description: perfect for google translating. However, google translate isn't that great and you can only get a vague gist of the song. With that said, it's better to sit back and listen to Simon's flow; it's chilled, confident, and clearly skilled as he skips over words in doubletime like it was nothing. Arguably, before anything else, a natural sound on the microphone is the best thing – after this, everything falls into place easy-peasy. The rap sounds great, clear and crisp, thanks to Long Nek's production, which has also given the track a blissfully soulful vibe – thanks to the funk-flavoured guitar, late-nite aching romance saxophone, simple yet accented bassline – with skittering boom-bap hi-hats and undoctored beat reverbing underneath.

It's the first I've heard from either of these two, and hopefully it's not the last. It seems as though, after a brief look around, that both Simon and Long Nek are pretty active anyway, so there's bound to be something more soon. Check the links below and get involved in this exciting underground scene.

Watch Simon on YouTube

Like Long Nek on Facebook
Listen to Long Nek on SoundCloud
Follow Long Nek on Twitter
Watch Long Nek on YouTube

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