Lay Zhang Shuts Down MetaMoon with Krumping, Rapping in Chinese Dialect

A night in Brooklyn filled with diverse music, krumping, and a freestyle rap about durian — here are some highlights of MetaMoon Music Festival

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4:39 PM HKT, Tue November 29, 2022 2 mins read

MetaMoon — a music festival dedicated to bridging the cultures of Asia and America — officially landed in New York on November 26. And if you missed out on the action, we’ve got you covered with this detailed recap of the show’s highlights.


Chinese-American rapper and comedian MC Jin was the host of the night. He kicked off the four-hour concert with a recorded video from professional basketball player Jeremy Lin sharing his insights, or “linsights,” according to MC Jin, on how to better host the event.

Chinese singer and rapper Sury Su opened the show with a rap song in Mandarin. Su also performed a new song, ‘Dust of Dreams,’ from her debut EP Domain, which she just released on November 23. Listen to her full EP below:

“Thank you, MetaMoon and everyone who gave me a chance to meet you all here,” Su told the crowd during her performance.

Followed by Su was Chinese-American singer Karencici who surprised the crowd with an unreleased R&B track before telling the audience, “It felt incredible to be able to sing in Mandarin in New York.”

metamoon music festival

Some artists also revealed touching stories behind the songs they were performing.

As his debut performance in the U.S., Hong Kong artist Tyson Yoshi performed his song ‘if i die tonight,’ released earlier this year. The 28-year-old rapper disclosed that one of his fans who was diagnosed with cancer encouraged him to reflect on his life, a process that led to the hit track’s creation.

During the breaks between performances, MC Jin kept the audience entertained with some — shall we say, unique — activities. In one game, he asked a group of blindfolded concertgoers to guess the fruits he was holding.

metamoon MC Jin

Image via the author

MC Jin later hyped the crowd with an epic freestyle rap featuring the fruits he’d presented earlier — including bananas and durians.

metamoon MC Jin

Chinese singer and songwriter Tia Ray also engaged with concertgoers by teaching them to sing the hook to one of her songs, creating the best crowd-singing moment at the event. Her impressive vocal skills also earned her thunderous applause.

metamoon music festival

One of the show’s headliners, Amber Liu, performed several of her hit tracks alongside her band.

“Do you know any toxic people? We will dedicate this next song to them because we don’t dance with them,” said Liu before breaking into her 2021 single ‘Don’t Dance.’

To say Lay Zhang was one of the night’s biggest highlights is an understatement. The star associated with Exo was the last artist to perform, and even before he appeared on stage, many audience members stood up and chanted his name.

Zhang showcased his krumping skills and performed his song ‘Changsha.’ The song was released in 2020 and written in Mandarin, English, and also the regional dialect of his hometown Changsha, the capital of South-Central China’s Hunan province.

“Have you ever been to Changsha before? Next song, I am gonna introduce my hometown Changsha to you guys,” said Zhang.

As you expect from an event elevating Asian artists, the music festival featured many Asian elements. Although the performers communicated primarily in English, many also dropped well-known phrases in Mandarin and Cantonese.

For example, Ray greeted the crowds with “Ladies and gentlemen” before adding “fellow comrades” in Mandarin.

Indeed, the cultural significance of the music festival attracted many to travel from other cities to watch the show.

lay zhang, metamoon music festival, lay zhang concert

Layla, a young Chinese professional working in Middle America, flew to New York for the festival.

“I hope more people can get to know Chinese artists,” Layla told RADII.

Sijia, a Chinese national working in Chicago, opined, “It is really cool to see this many Chinese artists here. My friend in Chicago told me that she hopes MetaMoon can go to more cities so she can also see these artists [without traveling].”

Aiming to highlight Asian music in America, by our reckoning, MetaMoon’s debut was a success. We look forward to seeing how the festival evolves in the months and years ahead.

All images via Shea Kastriner unless otherwise stated

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