Thanks to a Rapper, China’s Third “Disneyland” Opens in Chengdu

Beef between a rapper and a TV competition judge has turned a nondescript neighborhood into a travel destination

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3:51 PM HKT, Mon April 22, 2024 1 mins read

Two weeks ago, a crowd of more than a hundred people gathered at an unremarkable fitness area in Yulin Seventh Alley in Chengdu’s Wuhou District. They each waited for a single “amusement ride” — an exercise bike machine for senior citizens. It became so crowded that security guards tried to limit the number of tourists in the area. When their turn arrived they would sit on the bike and scream, “Xie Di, Xie Di, I want Disney!” So how did this humble corner of a neighborhood become known as China’s new Disneyland? A rap diss track.

The crowd in Chengdu’s Yulin Seventh Alley. Image via Bilibili.

This whole sensation started after rapper Nuomi failed an audition for rap competition show “The Rap of China.” During the audition, a judge named Xie Di (Boss Shady) scorned Nuomi, saying he should “just make rapping a hobby.” The judge also angered Nuomi by misremembering a song written for his grandfather as being written for his grandmother. To express his frustration with Xie Di, Nuomi released the song “Xietian Xiedi” (谢天谢帝).

In the music video for the song, Nuomi rides the exercise bike in Yulin Seventh Alley while singing the chorus “Xie Di, Xie Di, I want to diss you.” Incidentally dropping the English word “diss” into Chinese to say “diss you” (diss , diss 你) sounds similar to “Disney.” Based on this coincidence, netizens started posting the “I want Disney” challenge on Douyin, and even commenting “Take me to Disney” on Xie Di’s recent Weibo posts.

As “Rap of China” reached its next elimination round, Xie Di responded indirectly to the incident, saying “I hope no one will diss me today, but today is 1V1 (competition). If you want to diss each other and don’t want peace, try to see the situation from where we’re sitting.”

Netizens were also curious about how Nuomi’s take on the controversy. In an interview, the rapper expressed that he didn’t think of his diss song as a rebellion or attack on Xie Di. He simply wanted to express his feelings, to “keep [it] real,” and believes that Xiedi, as somehow who used to be very “real” himself, should understand.

Perhaps, Nuomi’s down-to-earth personality is what has gained him public support and 420K+ more Douyin followers than Xie Di. Before he became a rapper, Nuomi accompanied his father as a construction worker. Also, when visitors began flooding into Yulin Seventh Alley, he posted online reminding them to not make too much noise there, as the neighborhood is filled with senior citizens.

It seems like what the internet has fallen in love with is not Nuomi’s rebellious song, but rather the wholesomeness that lies beneath it. After all, the rapper still holds a sense of respect and admiration for Xie Di, and in the aforementioned interview, even expressed his hope to still work together with the judge in the future.

Banner image via Bililbili.

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