撰文： Adan Kohnhorst
1993年出生的美国小伙 Adan，原本是个只听古典乐、视 Hip-Hop 为“垃圾”的“保守派”，不想因为少年时迷上了中国功夫，转而爱上了街舞，最后入了嘻哈音乐的坑，现在他是“DJ 老外”，也是 B-boy “乌冬面”。
在中国，他做 DJ、参加地下 Battle、采访音乐人（《Higher Brothers：才一年半，就在美国红了起来》就是他的大作），经历了2017年嘻哈在中国的爆红，Adan 有自己的一些独特的看法……
Looking back on it, my connection with Hip-Hop culture seems almost like an accident.
作为一个在德州长大的白人小孩，我曾经非常不待见嘻哈文化。我总会告诉别人，有三种类型的音乐我不喜欢，乡村、重金属以及嘻哈（现在我也可以欣赏重金属，不过乡村我还是欣赏不来）。我父亲祖籍是荷兰，我小时候也在那里生活过一段时间。在那儿，我经常和我祖父母在一块儿，而他们基本上只听古典音乐，老得甚至连爵士乐都不听。我一直把父亲作为我的榜样——每次一有人放嘻哈乐，他就会皱起眉头露出一副厌恶的表情。他会评价说，“这垃圾也能算是音乐吗？”我便在一旁点头表示同意。在我看来，真正的音乐要么是有小提琴，要么有吉他，要么有歌唱组成的，而不是一群人在那儿 rap 婊子，金钱和毒品。所以每当有同学跟我讨论 Lil Wayne 或者 Eminem 的时候，我有一种优越感——毕竟，我听的才是真正的音乐。
Asa white kid growing up in Texas, I used to hate Hip-Hop as a rule. The threekinds of music I couldn’t tolerate, I would explain, were country, heavy metal,and Hip-Hop (now, I can appreciate heavy metal - country music is still hard to enjoy). My dad’s side of the family comes from Holland, where I also lived for a while as a child. I used to spend time with my grandparents, whose musical taste was essentially limited to classical music. They were too old-school even for Jazz. My dad was my biggest role model - whenever Hip-Hop music came on,his face would curl up in disgust. How can they say this garbage is music? he would say. And I learned to agree. Real music is made of violins, or guitars,or singing, I decided. Not people rapping about hoes, money, and drugs. When kids at school would talk about Lil Wayne or Eminem, I felt superior to them -I listened to real music, after all.
Around that sametime, I was falling in love with something else - martial arts. I got my blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do before realizing I wanted to learn Chinese kung fu. Seeing Bruce Lee in movies is what really did it for me. He was so fast, so strong, so cool. I wanted to be like that as well, so I started training every day anddevouring books about kung fu. Kung fu, I decided, was my life’s aspiration. I wanted to create my own style and teach it to other people.
At this point, I still hated Hip-Hop music. I felt like it wasn’t musical, and that it wasn’t art. The thing that really ended up changing my path wasn’t Hip-Hop music, but Hip-Hop dance. I’d always looked at breakdancers with huge fascination. The things they did with their bodies defied explanation.Breakdancing had the same kind of beauty, grace, power, and speed that drew meto martial arts, so when I got the opportunity to learn some breaking, I jumped on it.
I started to practice breaking, in addition to martial arts. My schedule used to be wake up in themorning, run, go to wrestling practice at school, do weight training, practice breakdancing after class, and then go to study kung fu at night. But breakdancing,an art, was unlike anything else in that list. Spending time inside the culture, I felt my preconceptions melting away - it was an awakening for me. I learned the history of Hip-Hop culture, from when it was born in the Bronx in the 70’s until now. I grew to understand the drums and rhythms that moved people, and the lyrics and rhymes that offered a voice to people who didn’t have one. I met people through Hip-Hop who changed my life. I learned the stories of people who were all connected by this music that spoke to them.Later, I would travel around the world competing in breakdance competitions,connecting with people like this from all different walks of life.
But as a kid in Texasin the meantime, it introduced me to a different crowd. Breaking was created by black and Puerto Rican people in New York decades ago, but today, many of the best breakdancers are Asian. China, Japan, and especially Korea all have powerful crews that make up some of the best breakdancers in the world. In Texas, a generation of Asian-American youth took notice of this. Chinese and Korean Americans latched onto breaking as a mode of self-identity, in a majority white society that still didn’t really understand what they were all about. Breaking was a way for them to express themselves and pursue something,while also being cool and understood by non-Asian Americans. Almost every one of my friends that I practiced with was either Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese.This was my first real introduction to Chinese and Asian cultures. We would come home late from practice or a competition and be greeted by my friends’grandparents with warm water. We would eat choco pies and go out for milk tea.We watched kung fu movies and Korean dramas, and ate homestyle dinners together with their families.
在一个“美国亚洲人领袖学习会议”上，Adan 与知名韩裔嘻哈歌手 Dumbfoundead 相识，“为什么我会在那儿？因为我是个 weeb（哈日的死宅）……”
At the time, I was living as a white kid in Texas, tangled in all these Asian cultural currents. This, and the fact that I still held kung fu as my life’spriority, offered my path into the Chinese language. I decided I could notexcel in kung fu without traveling to Henan to train at the Shaolin temple, andso I dropped my French class and enrolled in introductory Mandarin.
In those few years, I got to Chinese level three and became Vice President of Chinese Honor Society,all while speaking about as much Mandarin as a one-and-a-half year old. I wasterrible. But I graduated from high school and went on to study at New York University. New York was worlds away from Texas. I was suddenly surrounded by a huge influx of culture and art, and new friends who were all trying to do something creative. I was impressed by the drive of the people around me, and became fascinated with art and creativity in every form. As martial arts becametoo expensive for me as a student, I started to devote more and more time to breakdancing, and then to writing, and then to creating music of my own.
Adan 开始自己创作嘻哈音乐前，总需要在唱片店泡上一会，花很多时间在听黑胶上，如果对他自己的音乐感兴趣，YouTube 上搜索“Lao Wai 老外”便是他本人了
In the middle of allthis, I moved to Shanghai. I went to study abroad for one year during my Junior year of university, and for the first time, Chinese culture existed as something outside of a book. It was all around me - Chinese people, Chinesefood, Chinese language. For me as an American, it was amazing. Because my dad was from Europe, I’d already seen more of the world than most Americans would see in their lifetimes. But China was something entirely new and exciting. It felt like I was living in the same world I’d previously only seen in kung fu movies. I became involved with the local breakdancing community out here, and got a peek into a group people who were the same as me, but also so different.I continued to dance, write, and make music.
2014年刚来中国，Adan 和朋友跑来西湖边跳街舞，没有伴奏，他们就让周围游客鼓掌打节拍，“每次随意开始跳街舞都会有好多人来看，太奇怪了……”Adan 至今还对被热烈围观觉得很不解
When the year was over and I had to return to America, I was sad. Had my adventure in this new place come to an end? I didn’t feel ready to leave, but I also felt that I knew I would come back. Back in New York, I had to complete an intense graduating thesis to receive my degree. I decided I didn’t want to write a long essay that would sit in a drawer after I was done. Instead, I chose to bring all my different passions together, into a longform multimedia project that would document China’s growing Hip-Hop culture. I applied for a research grant,and got funding to return to China to create the project. Back in Shanghai, I reached out to the breakdancers and artists I’d become friends with while I wasliving there. The result was a diverse collection of writing, music,interviews, photos, and videos that we called The Tao of Hip Hop. Finally, the complex web of currents I’d been surfing for years of Hip-Hop, China, art, and writing had coalesced into something tangible.
快进到今天，我已经生活在上海。我的中文进步了很多，但还不是很好。我现在在一个网站担任编辑。这个网站致力于将最新最前沿的中国文化新鲜事传递给大洋彼岸的美国年轻人，而我最大的聚焦点就是嘻哈。在我的业余时间，我也给类似于街声的其他网站写作，跳舞，做嘻哈乐。与此同时，嘻哈乐在中国发生了发生了爆炸性的变化。像 Higher Brothers 之类的 Rapper 已经在美国也有了相当的知名度，而吴亦凡也在到处问别人有没有 freestyle。现在的我很难想象我小时候居然觉得嘻哈乐低俗。但不管怎样，我现在过得不错，而如果没有嘻哈乐，我可能也不会走到今天这一步。
Fast forward to today, and here I am living in Shanghai. My Mandarin is way better,but still not great. I’m an editor at a website that brings new-school Chinese cultural content to American millennials, and my biggest area of focus is on Hip-Hop.I spend the rest of my time contributing to other websites like StreetVoice,dancing, and making Hip-Hop music. Meanwhile in China, Hip-Hop is exploding.Rappers like Higher Brothers are known by all my American friends, and Kris Wu’s face is everywhere asking people if they have freestyle. It’s hard to picture myself as a kid, dismissing Hip-Hop as uncivilized. But as it turnedout, my life is pretty good, and I would never have been able to make it hereat all if Hip-Hop hadn’t found me.
Adan 纪录的2016年上海霹雳舞 DYM Jam 的最后一战，作为毕业作品《中国嘻哈的道》的素材之一。29秒那个扎着丸子头上蹿下跳的外国小哥就是他了
That about sums up how I got here. When I talk to people about it in China, theyalways tell me it’s a really weird story - I guess they’re not wrong. And theyalways have some questions, so I’ll do my best to answer some of the ones I getfrequently before I sign off here.
How did you get to know all this Chinese music?
多亏我刚刚提到的那些美国的华裔朋友，我从小就对中国流行音乐有所接触，不过也就是像周杰伦这类的比较大众的流行乐，不过那时也只有这些。当我开始听嘻哈乐后，我会在网上自己找音乐听，所以发现了像是“隐藏”这样的嘻哈团体（呃，他们真的挺烂的……）接下来我会去一下现场演出去看看有什么新发现。在上海我去了 Iron Mike freestyle 比赛，在纽约的时候我有幸现场看了 MC Jin（也就是“嘻哈侠”欧阳靖啦）。Jin 其实在美国就很有名了，基本所有听嘻哈的都看过那段他在 Freestyle Friday 节目里秒杀全场的视频，因为他可能是第一个能做到这样的亚裔 MC。我有一阵子很迷他。上周我有幸通过 Radii China 的平台采访到了他，但我没告诉他我们其实曾经见过，因为我不想让他知道我曾经是那个拿着滑板让他签名的脑残粉。
Thanks to all those Chinese-American friends I’d mentioned, I’d been listening to modern Chinese music since I was pretty young, but it was all just stuff like Jay Chou. Pretty standard pop stuff, because that’s kind of all that existed at the time. Later when I started to get more into Hip-Hop, I started digging online and finding otherstuff on my own, like Yin Ts’ang. Yikes, those guys were pretty awful. And thenI started hitting up shows to try and find out more. In Shanghai I went to IronMic freestyle competition, and in New York I got the chance to see MC Jin live(who some of you might know as HipHopMan from Rap of China). Jin is actually mad famous in the states, every Hip-Hop fan has seen the videos of him smoking people on the Freestyle Friday TV show, because he was probably the first real“Asian-looking” MC to hold the mic and do something like that. I was pretty geeked out about that. Later at Radii China I got the chance to interview him,but I didn’t let him know we’d met before, because I didn’t want him to know I was the same geeky white kid who asked him to sign his skateboard.
How do you feel about the development of Hip-Hop in China in recent years?
坦率来讲，近几年中国嘻哈的发展远远超出了之前，这点很棒。在美国，嘻哈的发展处于平稳阶段，Trap 音乐现在处于霸占榜首的位置。在美国，那种老派的，以歌词为主的嘻哈已经渐渐消失，所有人都在找寻下一个潮流。而目前来讲，这个潮流就是无脑的歌词配上简单的节拍。这不能说是一件坏事，Trap 的流行突出了音乐整体的能量感，而不强调于歌词本身。要创造出一张大师级的“愚蠢”唱片，还是需要一种特殊的才华。
Honestly,it’s moving faster than it ever was before, and that’s a great thing. Hip-Hop in the states is pretty static right now, since trap music has kind of risen to the top and is holding down that position across the board. In America, it’s kind of like all the old-school, lyrical styles of Hip-Hop have run their course, and everyone is looking for the next big thing, which happens to be super dumbed-down lyrics over really simple beats. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - the trap movement puts an emphasis on the overall energy of the music,rather than the lyrics themselves, and it still takes a certain kind of talent to craft a masterful “dumb” record.
而在中国，歌词为主的嘻哈仍然是一种主流。但同时，中国的嘻哈歌手也在向西方流行趋势看齐，越来越多的运用 Trap 音乐和“傻瓜”式的歌词(比如“bitch don't kill my dab”) 所以我觉得中国嘻哈目前最大的优势就是每个人都在做自己的东西。在美国，90%的嘻哈歌手都在做同一件事，因为这本证明是“成功”的秘方。但在中国，嘻哈仍然是一股新兴潮流，所以不同的嘻哈歌手和嘻哈乐形式都找到了自己的立足之地。我觉得中国嘻哈乐的演变速度会超过美国，并跨出国门在海外也找到属于自己的听众。说到这，吴亦凡前不久就在美国 iTunes 榜单上登顶。
In China on the other hand, lyrical Hip-Hop isn’t “used up” yet. But at the sametime, Chinese rappers are looking to the west and doing the trap-style dumbed-down lyrics too (“bitch don’t kill my dab”). So I’d say the advantage of China’s Hip-Hop right now is that everyone is doing different styles. In America, 90% of rappers are doing the same style, because it’s been proven that that’s what “works,” but China is still opening it’s mind to Hip-Hop, and yousee all these different rappers trying out different styles and sounds all at the same time. I think it’s going to accelerate the development of Hip-Hop in China at a faster rate than we had in the states, to the point that it will start reaching listeners outside of China - case in point, Kris Wu just randomly had a number one hit on the international iTunes store list.
3、那年轻的中国嘻哈粉丝呢？你觉得他们 get 到嘻哈吗？
What about China’s young Hip-Hop fans? Do you feel like they get it?
中国的嘻哈粉，有懂的。一直都是有这样一群人一直追寻嘻哈，并且理解嘻哈的精髓，和他们在一起混就感觉是和我的美国朋友一起混一样。但是如果对中国的年轻人整体而言，很多人还是不太能 get 到嘻哈文化，就算他们会有几首喜欢的饶舌歌曲。如果要理解今天的嘻哈音乐，你一定要理解嘻哈乐是从哪里来的。如果这里有刚刚开始听嘻哈的新粉的话，我强烈推荐你去听一些1990年代的 old-school 嘻哈乐，比如 Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre 之类的。
For China’s Hip-Hopfans - yeah they get it. There has always been a base of people who listen toand understand this music, and kicking it with them feels the same as kickingit with my American friends. But if we’re talking about China’s young people asa whole, a lot of them still don’t really get the culture, even if they have afew rap songs they like. To understand Hip-Hop music today, you have to understand where it came from. For anyone just now starting to tune in to Hip-Hop,I would definitely encourage you to listen through some of the older importantstuff from the 90’s - Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, etc.
同样，要提防在美国嘻哈乐中曾经经历过的一些陷阱。在1990年代，也就是我们所说的嘻哈“黄金年代”之后，有一段时间嘻哈乐火到街头巷尾所有人都在听。这时候，音乐变得非常商业化，而丢失了原本所拥有的灵魂所在。当然，就算在2000年后，还是有许多厉害的嘻哈歌手，但总体而言，并不如以前。这是一个能让 Ludacris 火起来的十年。不要犯这个错误，不要盲目跟风！不要让正在崛起的嘻哈乐被大型唱片公司收购，用来做电视广告背景乐。嘻哈乐的世界非常广阔，了解它的历史是理解现在嘻哈乐必不可少的一部分。
Bewary of the pitfalls we went through in the states. After the 90’s, which wascalled the “Golden Age” of Hip-Hop, there came a point where everybody wastrying to jump on board. The music got commercialized, and lost a lot of the soul it had before. Of course, the 2000’s still managed to produce some greatartists, but overall, it was unimpressive. This is the decade where Ludacriswas popular. Don’t make the same mistake - don’t be band wagoners! Don’t let the blossoming Hip-Hop movement out here get scooped up by record execs and people making TV commercials. There’s a whole world out there and knowing the historyis important to understanding the music coming out today.
Anyway, that’s mystory, and some of my own thoughts on the Hip-Hop scene out here in China. Muchlove from New York City to Shanghai and everywhere else - don’t stop doing what you’re doing, and keep the soul. Peace!
昵称: DJ Lao Wai 老外（音乐），B-boy Udon (乌冬面)（街舞）
A Tribe Called Quest -《Electric Relaxation》(1993)
Frank Ocean ft. Jay Z and Tyler the Creator - 《Biking》 (2017)
Lonnie Liston Smith - 《Summer Nights》 (1975)
Bohan Phoenix and Higher Brothers - 《No Hook》 (2017)
图片来源：Adan Kohnhorst 柯豪丹
点击这里，就可以看到 Adan 的毕业项目啦