Urban China- Hip-hop Xiamen: interview to rapper Young Jack


Xiamen is a sunny city located on an island facing Taiwan in Fujian province, Southern China, about 600 kilometers from Hong Kong. The city was one of the Special Economic Zones and was opened to foreign investments in the early 1980s, but is also a leisure city and is one of the place which are most suitable for living in China.

Since I saw the live concert of Young Jack, rapper, and Celie, R&B female singer, both from Xiamen, I was asking me, how’s the hip hop scene down there? The reply comes from Young Jack himself: “Xiamen is a rallying point for cultural streams, and I’m absolutely not exaggerating. Obviously also hip hop culture penetrated into the lives of local youngsters. From breakdance, graffiti, to the latest trends as fixed gear and skateboard, Xiamen gathers all elements at best”. Young Jack, whose real name is Man Shuke (满舒克), is a rapper from Yunnan province, now based in Xiamen. His style is basically hip hop, with electro and jazz influences, from classic hip hop to pop elements. His crew, FRESH TAPE, is composed by Celie (苏西利), and rappers Anner and 42.

yj posaWhen did you get in touch with hip hop? When did you start making music?

Young Jack: I got in touch with hip hop culture in 2002, I was deeply influenced by local rap crew called Fu Lin Ge, I was always attracted by their attitude and style. At that time I was already a massive hip hop listener. Apart from Fu Lin Ge crew, rappers who influenced me the most are J-Kwon, Nelly and Chingy at their early period of their career. In 2009 when I began university I officially started making few rap music creations. I started to write lyrics and, like the most part of Chinese b-boys, I got deeply influenced by Eminem’s movie “8 mile”. I was writing lyrics every time.

And then in 2012 I founded an independent hip hop label called FRESHTAPE…

Tell us about FRESHTAPE

Young Jack: FRESHTAPE is my music label and is also the name of my crew. Combining the two words FRESH and TAPE, the cassettes used in the past, we want to convey the concept of a tape, which has today’s freshness but at the same time which keeps rooted in the past. We make up-to-date fresh hip hop music, and we also record classic rap, timeless and evergreen.

Which is your most representative work, or the song you are most proud of?

Young Jack: Is hard for me to choose my most representative work, but if choosing the more widely popular one, then I should say “YOUNG JACK” track, from the mixtape of the same name. This song gave me the first motivation for keep on making good quality rap music. Regarding the song I’m most proud of, again is difficult choosing only one.  I think the whole “YOUNG JACK” mixtape is a really valuable work.almostperfect album cover

Thank you Young Jack!

Original interview published on World Hip Hop Market website on 13th March 2014 (link to the article: http://worldhiphopmarket.com/chinese-rapper-young-jack-introduces-freshtape-project/)

***New update

Recently Young Jack has released his new album “Almost Perfect” and he’s now touring China to introduce his new work to Chinese listeners. Soon we will be posting a new exclusive interview, so stay tuned!

“YOUNG JACK” track: 

FRESH TAPE page: http://site.douban.com/FRESHMUSIC/

Young Jack’s page: http://site.douban.com/jimmy/

Celie’s page: http://site.douban.com/xilly/?ref=similar_sites

Anner’s page: http://site.douban.com/anner/

42’s page: http://site.douban.com/forty2/

Fabio Nalin for Vivere Liquido