Datmaniac is one of Vietnamese hip hop’s most respected artists. Photo vtv.vn
With social distancing in full swing in Việt Nam amid the coronavirus pandemic, we all have plenty of time on our hands to explore new things, so why not dive into the rich world of Vietnamese hip hop?
From hugely commercially successful stars like Suboi to more underground MCs, Việt Nam has a rich hip hop scene, so we’ve put together a list of five tracks to introduce you to it.
So read on and turn up the volume and hopefully by the time social distancing ends and house parties return you’ll have some fire Vietnamese beats to play when it’s your turn with the aux cable.
Mấy Con Mèo – Datmaniac
Datmaniac is one for the hip hop purists and this song is pure fire.
The video was filmed in (appropriately as the title translates as ‘Some Cats’) a cat shelter in HCM City’s District 8, which at the time housed about 200 of the furry felines.
Famed for the speed of his rapping, this song has Datmaniac in something of a contemplative mood, rapping over a slow, chilled beat. No wonder it was a huge hit upon its release in 2017.
N-Sao? - Suboi
If you don’t know who Suboi is, which rock have you been living under?
The queen of Vietnamese hip hop has risen to become one of the country’s biggest celebrities, performed at a showcase run by the iconic South By Southwest in the US and even spat some bars for US President Barack Obama when he visited Việt Nam in 2016.
Born and raised in HCM City, the video for N-Sao? features the city’s vibrant streets at night, with lights and people everywhere as Suboi raps over a jerky beat, asking “Now I’m happy, so what?”
Itsabet – Kimmese featuring Andree Right Hand
If HCM City has Suboi repping it, Kimmese is holding it down for the capital.
Rapper, singer, songwriter and equally as comfortable in English as Vietnamese, Kimmese is nothing if not versatile.
The video for Itsabet features Kimmese and pals cruising around her native Hà Nội with a few scenes that will be familiar to anyone who’s lived in the city, including some kids loitering outside a Circle K.
Itsanewday - SMO
SMO has one of the most distinctive voices in the Vietnamese rap game and this video is certainly distinctive.
The video is split into three different tracks, but it’s the beginning that stands out as the young man from Buôn Ma Thuột City in Đắk Lắk Province hangs out with and rides one of the elephants native to his home province.
Đỉnh Núi Tuyết Của Nuối Tiếc - Datmaniac
We’re unapologetically going back to the well with Datmaniac.
The man can do no wrong, and this 2019 track has him in full form, showing his technical ability and skill at crafting a rapid flow alongside his trademark introspection. — VNS