How hip-hop artists like Denzel Curry and Dough-Boy are changing the music scene in HK

How hip-hop artists like Denzel Curry and Dough-Boy are changing the music scene in HK

As rapper Denzel Curry takes over the city along with local hip-hop talents, the music scene evolves

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Young Hysan will be opening 'This Town Needs' on January 24.
Photo: Instagram
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Musician and writer. Contributes weekly music reviews and local band features to Young Post. Guitarist and songwriter for UK-based rock band Zurich.

In recent years, hip-hop has really started to dominate the music landscape, and Hong Kong seems to be no exception. On January 24, the critically-lauded rapper Denzel Curry will kick off 2019 with his first ever show in the city at Kowloon’s This Town Needs, in support of his 2018 album TA1300.

With promoters Gluestick landing such a high-profile hip-hop act, this could be a turning point in the local music scene, with the hope of more big name artists following suit. But not all eyes are set on the Florida rapper, as support comes from three fast-rising 852-based talents Dough-Boy, Jiggie Boy, and Young Hysan.

Performing alongside his frequent collaborators, and Hong Kong’s biggest hip-hop group Bakerie, Dough-Boy tells Young Post, “I think it’s a great opportunity to bring like-minded audiences together and interact,” before highlighting the pros and cons surrounding
the local scene.

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“It’s a very small place so there isn’t a lot of competition. It’s relatively easy for anyone to try to put out music and build a following, but because it’s so small here, there isn’t a big enough market for artists to grow,” he said.

Dough-Boy is a testament to his words, having become one of the most well-known local rappers thanks to his work with Bakerie, countless other collaborations, and receiving a Hong Kong Film Award for one of his songs. The upcoming show is set to be the start of a busy 12 months for the Toronto-born artist, as he reveals his plans to release, “a new solo album, a Bakerie album, and maybe a few more collab EPs this year.”

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Jiggie Boy, or as he’s more commonly referred to, JB, has gained internet virality with a host of music videos amassing over 1.5 million views on YouTube. His most recent release, Different, has already accumulated more than 20,000 views in its first week online. The track is “partly inspired by Mac Miller’s song Hurt Feelings”, and is set to be followed by a yet-to-be announced follow-up release on the same day as the show, which JB describes as “a different direction”, hinting at a soft, moody love song.

The multi-lingual rapper, who often raps in Cantonese, believes the Denzel Curry line-up will put Hong Kong on the map by “showing other countries we have a strong rap scene”, and promises some “old-skool, real street energy”, in his set.

Denzel Curry will be bringing his show to Hong Kong.
Photo: David Morrison/Microphone Check/Frannie and Ali

Opening the evening will be Young Hysan, who is riding high off his psychedelic trap EP No Feelings, which has helped build a strong following around Asia. The EP was inspired by, “the materialism and pressures of growing up alone in Hong Kong, and being consumed by selfishness”.

The rapper, who is gearing up for the release of his debut album Anti in the coming months, believes it’s “inevitable” that hip-hop will become the dominant music genre in Hong Kong. He explains, “The underground music scene is being overrun by rapidly expanding hip-hop groups such as Bakerie and The Low Mays – who are doing ridiculous streaming numbers and selling out large venues across the city. It’s just a matter of time before the hip-hop audience hits a critical mass and it breaks into the mainstream. Events like these speed up the process.”

With this being the first large scale hip-hop show for many years here, and the rising underground rapping talent on our home turf, Hong Kong might finally be ready to accommodate the hip-hop explosion.

Tickets for Denzel Curry’s show are available from Ticketflap.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Hip-hop puts HK on the map

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