Hatin' on hip hop: China's rap scene frustrated by crackdown

Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT) March 29, 2018

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Hong Kong (CNN)Hip hop has been getting a bad rap in China.

Last year, the genre was having something of a heyday, but since then, the bubble has burst.
In the wake of new rules from China's media regulator, songs have been blacklisted; rising Chinese rappers, such as Gai and VaVa, have been dropped from shows; and another artist, PG One, even apologized for lyrics that came under fire for glorifying drugs and sex.
The crackdown has had a chilling effect on a genre more commonly associated with blasting rebellious opinion.
"There's definitely a period of straightening, moral straightening, and hip hop is an example of that," said Archie Hamilton, co-founder of Split Works, one of the largest live music promotion companies in China. "It's not really anything different to what worked before ... it's just much more strictly enforced."
Hamilton said he is reconsidering his festival line-up in China even though he has always chosen to tour more "socially conscious" rappers, versus those that may have a more anti-establishment vibe. This is to appease both advertisers and government regulators, he said.
New York rapper A$AP Ferg performs at Split Works' Concrete & Grass Music Festival in Shanghai in September of 2016.