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蛋堡 Soft Lipa x Jabberloop: Jazz Hip-Hop Enters Taiwanese Mainstream [Review]

25 Oct 2010

Soft Lipa is back this month with a new album titled 月光, or “Moonlight.” Continuing with his trend-changing and unique style of rapping with jazz music, this Taiwanese artist has now collaborated with Jabberloop, the famous jazz quintet from Japan. This time around, he’s getting well-deserved publicity from mainstream media.

With matured and clever lyrics, Soft Lipa and Jabberloop are out to transform what people think of Taiwanese hip-hop. Few musicians grasp the rhyme and rhythm of the Chinese language to the degree Soft Lipa has, even fewer could make rap and jazz blend like peanut butter and jelly. [Ed. It recalls the work done by Japanese hip-hop musicians Nujabes and Shing02.] His style is a stark contrast to those other hip hop artists the mainstream Taiwanese audience has grown accustomed to in recent years, including MC Hot Dog, Machi, Wilbur Pan and Iron Bamboo.

As it is, Taiwanese hip-hop as a genre — whether it’s rapping in Taiwanese or Mandarin — is not particularly popular, partly due to the song subjects and the difficulties of rapping in Mandarin. Hopefully Soft Lipa’s enchanting style can infuse new life into the genre.

The single “I Want You” is a melodious yearning structured around a sensual saxophone that introduces every section of verse. Soft Lipa smoothly raps about meeting someone and paired with an amazing piano solo, brings about a sense of calm despite the chaotic nature of night life that most of us have come to know.

His rise to the mainstream isn’t unexpected, considering the large underground following he has acquired since his first solo album release in 2009. With his rise to fame, there is hope for the Taiwanese music industry, where talent isn’t always the most important.

[image via C.J. Wayne’s flickr]

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