Chinese Hip Hop Pioneer Brings Tiger Energy to the Mic

J-Fever was born in the Year of the Tiger in the ’80s and is one of the original hip hop pioneers in China.

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5:28 PM HKT, Thu February 3, 2022

Today, hip hop is everywhere in the country, from state-sponsored TV shows like Rap of China to brands embracing the culture to stay relevant. But 20 years ago, when J-Fever was first getting into freestyling and battling, he felt very alone. 

“I feel like it was a new encounter, like a road I’ve never been down before,” he says. The industry has grown up around him throughout his career, but he always continued exploring. His travels, from Peru to Japan, have inspired his work. 

Freestyle has always been an essential aspect of his music, so much so that he helped establish an app called Bluegrass to bring young rappers online during Covid. He has focused on bringing up young talent and even battling with them from Japan, where he was stuck during the early days of the pandemic. 

The image of a tiger seems fierce, he says, but it can also be gentle and protective: The jaws of a tiger can provide security, like in the case of a cat carrying a kitten. 

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