Hip Hop in Jinan

Never in a million years would I expect to go to a hip-hop concert with songs in French in China. Friday I did. My friend got free tickets from Alliance Française de Jinan. The concert was at a new bar down a street that you’d never expect to find a bar. It was a ramshackle street with old concrete apartments and the occasional dilapidated mom and pop general store. We were certain the cab driver was “taking us for a ride.” But he had the right place.

There was a big dance floor and stage with lots of lights and a fog machine. The crowd was much different than what I’d think you’d find in the US. Some families with kids, some college students, dressed very conservatively, a few French people and about two Chinese hip hop fans in tilted baseball caps and jackets with lots of “bling.” Even they didn’t go as far as the droopy jeans that show the world your underwear.

There were quite a few police in riot gear to keep this very placid crowd under control. They checked everyone for weapons with their hand held metal detectors. As this was probably the most family-friendly hip-hop audience ever this police work was unnecessary. (The tickets were free so I think people, like us, got them just as a cultural experience.)

The first act was from Africa and they were okay, nothing great. Who am I to judge, though?

Since all the songs were mainly in French I had no idea whether they were swearing or what.

The headliner, Webster, was from Canada. Evidently he’s famous. How would I know? He’s got a Facebook page and website, but doesn’t everyone? His music did have a good beat and he was very good at interacting with the crowd. He’s a historian as well as a hip-hop star so he wore an Oxford shirt as well as baggy pants. Very non-threatening.

What’s something you did outside your comfort zone?

What’s something you’ve recently done for free?


One thought on “Hip Hop in Jinan

  1. Wow that sounds fun. I miss the weird cultural niches you find in China. Not that they don’t exist elsewhere, but there’s something very unique and cultural-mashup-y about the random stuff you find there. My friends in Beijing were really into comedy club stuff. Who knew there was a thriving comedy scene in Beijing?? Not me…. until I stumbled into it!


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