Recent years have seen the rise of rap stars in Vietnamese music industry like Den Vau or Suboi, and two new reality TV dedicated to rap have shown the increasing popularity of the genre.
Rap Viet gathers many famous Vietnamese rappers like Binz, Rhymastic, Suboi, Justatee, Karik, and Wowy (from left to right). Photo: Kenh14.vn
Rap Viet and King of Rap are the first two competitions seeking talented rappers to be aired on Vietnamese television. Both shows have been screened during prime time at the weekend since August 1.
Both Rap Viet and King of Rap are adapted from foreign versions. While the first is adapted from The Rapper of Thailand, a show widely known in Asia, the second has the copyright from South Korea’s Show Me the Money rap competition.
The second episode of Rap Viet, which aired on August 8, attracted more than 576,000 concurrent viewers, a record for a reality TV show in Vietnam.
The full video of the performances of the contestants in the first episode of Rap Viet, uploaded on YouTube, has topped 19 million views up to date, while the King of Rap has reached nearly 6 million views after a week of being online.
Rap Viet features not only renowned MC Tran Thanh as host but also many famous Vietnamese rappers like JustaTee, Rhymastic, Wowy, Binz, and Suboi as judges and coaches for the show.
Meanwhile, King of Rap features talented Vietnamese rap stars over the past decade as well like Lil'Shady, LK and BigDaddy.
According to rapper Ha Le, both shows are recorded in high quality, especially the sound, and the judges represent different facets of Vietnamese rap.
“This is a very good opportunity for rappers to experience their passion,” he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
As a keen listener to rap for years, Nguyen Duy from Ha Noi reckoned that both Rap Viet and King of Rap have shown the strength of the genre like the lyrics, rhythm and puns, in addition to minimising its negativity.
“But it would be great of the shows to allow contestants to compete in battle raps, which are of course limited in words. Here we can really see the true peak of rap, as the genre is developed though underground battles,” he said.
Rap Viet is screened at 8pm on HTV2 Channel and King of Rap is shown at 9.15pm on VTV3 every Saturday.
Senior rapper in the spotlight
Among the coaches of Rap Viet is Wowy, a familiar name to many underground music lovers in Vietnam.
Born in 1988, the rapper, whose real name is Nguyen Ngoc Minh Huy, has been in the game for at least 14 years.
He is also considered a pioneer of rap in the south and has been particularly successful in combining rap with Vietnamese social and cultural issues.
After hiding from the spotlight for a while, Wowy has returned with two roles, actor/songwriter for director Tran Thanh Huy’s Rom film and coach of Rap Viet with other renowned rappers like Binz, Karik and Suboi.
The 32-year-old embarked on his musical career as a member of SouthGanz in 2006, one of the first rap bands in the south at that time.
He pursued a solo path two years later and attracted a special attention from the rap world when he debuted Hai The Gioi (Two Worlds) and Khu Tao Song (Where I Live) which he collaborated with young rapper Karik. But the rap hit that brought him fame was Buddha in 2012.
In 2015, Wowy released an album titled Lao Dai (The Senior), which contained rap songs about life and also his rap identity.