A totally dope new record

A totally dope new record

Multi-lingual, ethnically diverse rappers are brought together thanks to local hip hop group Dope Boy


Hong Kong-based rappers, along with their music video film crew
Hong Kong-based rappers, along with their music video film crew
Photos: Without Equal Productions
Hong Kong underground hip hop group Dope Boy believes in unity. Most of its members belong to one of the city's ethnic minorities, and the group's music speaks out against discrimination and encourages cultural diversity in Hong Kong.

To unite Hong Kong-based hip hop artists from all walks of life, Dope Boy recently teamed up with local emcees USB and Love Concept, as well as Filipino rappers Lester Angeles, aka EazyBeatz and Ryan Manubay, aka RastyM16, to create the collaborative track, Cypher 2.0, which was released last Thursday.

"We don't really like the fact that there are boundaries [in the local hip hop community], so our aim is to [challenge] that," says Dope Boy's Hector Telmo, aka SCF-SAiNT.

For those who are not "down" with hip hop slang, a cypher is a track featuring artists from different units or groups. Each participant writes their own rap, usually according to a particular theme. Each rapper then tries to outwit the others, almost like a competition.

When the final track is put together, its intensity is magnified, with everyone giving their individual performance their all.

But the idea to gather together like-minded rappers isn't new for Dope Boy. The group also joined up with EazyBeatz back in 2012, to release Cypher 1.0.

The guys shoot the music video

"We had this vision a long time ago, in 2007. We wanted to be able to work with locals," Telmo says.

"But after releasing [Cypher 1.0], critics asked: 'Why isn't there a Hong Kong rapper?'"

That's what makes Cypher 2.0 a more complete extension of its predecessor - it boasts two local Cantonese rappers. Meanwhile, Dope Boy rap in English, while EazyBeatz raps in Tagalog, one of the official languages of the Philippines.

But surely it's pretty tough to merge three languages on just one rap track? Telmo says it is their passion for thumping beats and witty battles that draws them to the art. Even though they may not understand one another entirely, he says, it's the flow and expressions that matter.

"Although we can't understand it lyrically, through our expressions and how they flow, and how crazy we all go ... everybody connects [in the track]," he says.

Says Telmo of listening to USB's rap: "I don't understand USB's verses. But his flow is really crazy, and I'm, like, 'Wow!'"

To check out Cypher 2.0, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt9k5ALKUW8

Warning: Cypher 2.0 contains strong language

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