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Hip Hop From Away 

straight outta taiwan

kou cho ching
  • kou cho ching

Last week it was announced that a wide array of hip-hop artists and musicians —- including Pete Rock, Classified and Halifax’s favorite Beatnut, JuJu —- would both be performing at the rather cool-sounding Hopscotch Arts Festival (Sept 4 to 11.)

While it gives us an undeniable thrill to be staring down the barrel of a week-long Halifax event that celebrates everything good about hip hop, spoken word and graffiti, there’s also another important cultural event taking place a few days beforehand that warrants a mention; next week, Taiwan-based rap group Kou Cho Ching will head on their first-ever tour of North America, with Canadian stops in Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver. (They hit the Seahorse on August 31.)

The group is profiled in an article in this month’s Exclaim!, where they discuss fusing elements of traditional Taiwanese lyrical storytelling, the inspiration of Public Enemy and Bob Dylan and how they wrestle with cultural censorship and absorb these restrictions into their storytelling. It’s fascinating stuff, and this tour marks a rare chance to see hip-hop music and conscious lyricism distilled through a unique, unfamiliar lens. They’ll be joined by the post-rock group Aphasia (who sound a little bit like a Taiwanese Mogwai) among others.

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