Communist party officials release 2min 44s rap with Xi Jinping contributing backing vocals in the form of samples from some of his speeches
By: Tom Philipps Source: The Guardian Date: 29/12/2015
Communist party propagandists have traditionally sought inspiration from Marx and Mao when trying to get their message across to the masses. Now they are looking to Eric B and Rakim.
Hoping to boost the image of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, propaganda officials this week transformed him into a microphone fiend, releasing a 2min 44s rap in which the man they call “Big Daddy Xi” contributes backing vocals.
“Rule the party strictly! Govern the country by law. [The whole country] is overwhelmed with joy,” announces one of the rap’s opening stanzas, according to a translation by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.
The track’s title, The Reform Group is Two Years Old, is definitively not ghetto-fabulous. But it makes up for that with celebrity power: samples of Xi Jinping’s speeches are sprinkled throughout the recording.
“Let the people’s wish become our action,” the Chinese leader announces at one point in the song, which was produced by the state broadcaster CCTV.
“Only the daring will prevail at key stages of reform,” he chimes in elsewhere.
The rap, which is performed by a hitherto unknown musician called Wu Wenduo, is at its catchiest when pondering Xi’s much-hyped attempts to vanquish corruption and smog.
On the president’s anti-corruption crusade against thieving “tigers and flies”, the rapper bellows: “Flies. Tigers. Big foxes. CATCH, CATCH, CATCH, CATCH.”
On the Communist party’s so-called war on pollution, he shouts: “Cure the water. Cure the air. Cure the land. CURE, CURE, CURE, CURE. Clear water and lush mountains equals a mountain of gold.”
Elsewhere, however, the Communist party’s lyricist runs into difficulties. “Streamline the administration and delegate power to lower levels and unleash energy,” Wu sings in one verse.
“This is what is we must do on ‘one belt, one road’,” he raps further on, in reference to one of Xi’s key foreign policy initiatives. “The principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.”
Xi Jinping’s hip-hop debut is the latest attempt to use contemporary music to promote a more modern face to the party, which was founded in 1921 and has ruled China since 1949.
In October Chinese spin doctors released a psychedelic music video that owed more to The Magic Roundabout than Mao Zedong.
Citizens appeared underwhelmed by Xi’s first spin on the wheels of steel. “Big Daddy Xi is lovely,” one admirer wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter. “Very creative,” commented another. But many booed Xi’s inaugural rap off stage. By Tuesday lunchtime just 717 people had viewed the music clip on Sina, China’s top internet portal.
“All you can do is shout slogans, like a religious cult,” wrote one critic. “Fuck you!”