Asian American Hip Hop

We know that many different cultures have created different music styles. I believe that the common thing about any kind of music is that music is a tool to communicate and express feelings. However today our culture is no longer the same as before. We are living in a mixed race/ culture society. Therefore on the weekly top 10 music, there are many different kinds of musics and different race artists. When talking about Hip Hop music, basically people think it is from black culture but there are some Asian hip hop artists out there. They all express their thought through hip hop music but they still have difficulties because of their race. Here is an Asian American hip hop artist, Sonny Bonoho.

Sonny Thongoulay is a rapper, also known by his stage name, Sonny Bonoho. He is an American local hip hop artist born in Thailand. He had an interview with asian weekly in 2010, he talked about his difficulties that he face breaking out into mainstream rap. In the interview he states “In America, when you think of hip hop, you think of African Americans. So when an Asian American person tries to make it big, they get shut down because they don’t fit the image of what a hip hop artist should be.” Actually as I mentioned it is still difficult to get into mainstream of the American hip hop for Asian artists. Even compared to other kind of music, people have strong images of black hip hop culture, so I think it is much more difficult to get into hip hop music for Asian artists. However as gangnam style was all the rage in the US, more Asian music artists are getting popular in America. So some people take this circumstance as the terms of Yellow Peril in music.
In the interview, he also mentioned about hip hop image of people. “Hip hop was created out of poverty, and this whole idea that Asian Americans are the model minorities leads to the belief that they can’t possibly have struggles to talk about.” The poverty and discrimination that black people had gone through are not comparable to Asian or any other race, but as I mentioned I believe that music is a tool to communicate and express feelings or thought. Therefore we should not just reject their music because of their race or ethnicity. It is the way that they share their feelings and we need to understand it as well.
Overall, as I watched their music videos and articles, I thought that they consider music as a tool of intercultural communication. They film some of their music videos in their hometown, Thailand and sing in English. I think more and more hip hop artists from minority ethnicity groups. Their music will help you to understand their real thought and feeling that from their difficulties as a member of minority group. Also their music will help subculture to grow. Even though we don’t see Asian American hip hop artists in media that often today, it is a good way to understand about minority groups in the US.


One thought on “Asian American Hip Hop

  1. Very good consideration of how different music genres are adapted and adopted about other subcultures. Exploring a bit more about the idea of appropriation and negotiation would further expand your analysis.

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