As there has been significant recognition through two rap gameshows, Rap Việt and King of Rap, in the year 2020, the research evaluates the use of language and visual content in Vietnamese rap videos and songs that challenge the state’s narrative of “preserving the purity of the Vietnamese language” in the heights of globalization. It cannot help noticing the vibrant impact of American popular culture, specifically on an “old enemy” in Vietnamese contemporary social and cultural contexts after the embargo lift in 1995. Yet, as the demand to learn English as well as put Vietnamese pride into Time Square increases, many Vietnamese rappers do not realize how using African American slang in their songs can be as problematic as obligating more than fifty ethnic groups to speak and read one official national language. Furthermore, as the commercialization process is heating up, asking artists to not only represent themselves but the nations for international engagement, the
visual selections of which are considered the Vietnamese “national identity” is also another reconsideration for rappers who have strictly followed American Hip-Hop’s authenticity. At the end of this research, a video essay will be produced in which the author argues that Vietnamese rap reflects the double-conflicts in both the aesthetics and reception of the mass audience, for which Americanization (an external colonial force) is much stronger and more impactful than the internal ethnic colonialism process.
Produced by: Dr. ND and Minh-Tiến Nguyễn
Lyrics and performed by: Minh-Tiến Nguyễn
Filmed by: Dr. ND
Recorded in Duriap Studio
Filmed in Viet Hiphop Studio
This is Filipino composer Nicanor Abelardo’s Ang Aking Bayan (My Country). The song’s poetry speaks about the beauty of nationhood, the beauty of being a Filipino, as it also reflects the age-old dilemma, “are we really free?” It is from a song form in the Philippines called kundiman which has its origins in the Philippine revolution of the 1900s against the Spanish colonizers. Kundimans will speak about love and hope of being in a romantic relationship with a woman, but underneath its text lies invitations for uprisings and proclamation of love for the motherland. Its music has been influenced by Western classical idioms coming from Europe but its adaptation has made it a song form that transcends love for both man, woman, and country.
The Ripieno Ensemble PH is comprised of seven students and alumni from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music. It is the official ensemble of the Manila Composers Lab, and is dedicated to the performance of contemporary music in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Since its founding in Jan 2015, the ensemble has been establishing itself in the region through its diverse repertoire of contemporary music by local, Asian and Western composers. In June 2015, the ensemble received a scholarship to participate in The Modern Academy in Hong Kong, an international workshop held by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. The Manila Composers Lab 2016, together with the ensemble, collaborated with Goethe Institute PH to host a workshop and competition for young Southeast Asian composers (Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam) who wrote new pieces for the ensemble. They also participated in the Pasinaya Festival 2017, a Manila-wide arts festival hosted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, held in line with the celebration of national arts month. In 2018, they performed again in Hong Kong together with spoken word group Alab at Sinag as part of the Modern Academy Creative Projects, featuring an all-filipino repertoire focusing on the traditional Kundiman. The ensemble has also performed locally in UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, Paco Park, and featured in programs on campus radio 1602 DZUP AM and Metro Manila radio 98.7 DZFE FM.