Shanghai Rapper Charity SsB Launches Debut Album

THE ANCIENT WAR mixes together trap, drill, and trance to bring together China’s electronic and hip hop underground scenes

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Simon Frank
5:34 PM HKT, Mon November 6, 2023 1 mins read

You only need to look at Charity SsB peering off the cover of his debut album in the form of a centaur to realize he’s your not average rapper. THE ANCIENT WAR showcases everything the Shanghai artist is capable of, colliding trap, drill, and trance with emo-tinged electronic pop.

Long a mainstay in the scene centered on Shanghai’s ALL Club, Charity SsB is known in equal parts for his high-energy live performances, die-hard fans, and cutting edge fashion sense. He bridges the gap between China’s dance music underground and hip hop scene, and fittingly the list of guest features on THE ANCIENT WAR reads like a who’s who of electronic-leaning rap from around the region.

Charity SsB hit up the Village Underground in London last weekend

Highlights include ‘Cigarettes Alcohol Women 烟 酒精 女’ with Hong Kong’s YoungQueenz, which pairs airy string plucks and choral samples with a heavy beat to at once celebrate the rappers’ drive towards success and question the endless hustle. ‘Xuan He Men 煊赫门,’ featuring Shanghai’s Billionhappy, is built around a melancholic loop of what sounds like guzheng, buoying their Auto-Tuned voices into a place between emo rap, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and music drifting out of a convenience store after midnight. Meanwhile ‘VRO DRILL,’ with G94 from Shanghai’s Gully Riddim crew, combines UK/Caribbean bass pressure with an addictive, disembodied vocal sample.

Other tracks feature Hong Kong’s NOLY, as well as 艾志恒Asen, fresh off a collab with Higher Brothers’ MaSiWei earlier this year. On the album closer, ‘Old Me,’ Charity SsB links up with Beijing underground linchpin Bloodz Boi. Turning down the intensity a touch, Charity SsB sings about missing an old version of himself over trance arpeggios and skeletal drums — as you listen, you’ll find yourself hoping he stays true to himself, but also looking forward to his next evolution.

Listen to THE ANCIENT WAR on Spotify or Bandcamp.

Cover image via Charity SsB

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