The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Christopher Wan Kicks in the Door of Cantonese Rap
Photo by Emily Foley | Photo Editor | [email protected]

There was once a time in the rap world when the only people who rapped on shows like BET and 106 & Park were black. After a few revolutionary figures emerged like Eminem, a white American rapper, the notion of an all-black music scene was broken.

Nowadays, rap has seen a good cultural mix of not just white rappers, but Chinese-American rappers, who have started to emerge from the underground world.

Christopher Wan, a 20-year-old City College student, says he hopes to find opportunity in America by being a Chinese-American rapper and R&B artist. Wan found interest in Cantonese rap and R&B when he was 16. His music has been heavily influenced by artists such as Jin Au-Yeung, also known as MC Jin, and Stevie Hoang. Both artists are popular Chinese rappers in America. MC Jin was the first Chinese-American to release a solo rap album on a major label in the U.S.

Wan raps about the struggles with life, family, friends and relationship. There was an instant when Wan, a business major, based his rap on one life experience. He was in the Air Force in 2012-2013 at a drilling exercise.

“When I landed on that fake grenade, my whole life flashed before my eyes,” says Wan. “It was crazy, and from that point I realized I must reflect my experience for others to connect with.”

Since, Wan has made recordings and videos of his rap and R&B songs on social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Sound Cloud. His music tag, theChosenWan, has about 3,700 views on YouTube. Wan, a Chinese-American born and raised in Sacramento, gears his music toward the underground with old classic beats and lyrics based on the style of MC Jin.

“I’m proud of MC Jin and how he made it this far in America being an Asian-American, being able to think on his feet and rap in such a heavy black-based music world such as 106 & Park and BET,” Wan says.

One of Wan’s song, titled “My Struggles”, raps about the struggles that all people face in life. He emphasizes in his lyrics that individuals should “pick ourselves up no matter what happens and to not dwell on the past because there is always a better day.”

“Ninety-nine percent mental and 0.01% physical,” says Wan about the notion of being confident in what one does, to have love and respect for rap, regardless of race.
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The first Cantonese rap song that was posted by Wan on YouTube was called “Because I Love You.” The song, posted on May, 7, 2014, has more than 850 views. The song was based on a Chinese television broadcast and named “Gloves Comes Off”. The show inspired Wan to rap duet with Nancy Tran.

Garvin Yee, who knows about Wan and his music through a friend, says he watched the music video of “Because I Love You”. Being an Asian-born Chinese, Yee says he understood what the song was going for. Yee feels Wan’s style isn’t similar to Cantonese rappers in China, but says he can relate to his approach to rap.

“I’ll give it props for being something that rhymed and something that made me laugh,” Yee says. “Making me laugh is always a pro. The fact that it’s a rap makes it even funnier to me, because I don’t see myself ever listening to this kind of music.”

Robert Lin, who watched Wan’s video, gave a unique view of Cantonese rap. Lin enjoyed the inclusion of Tran at the end.

“It gave a comical sense to the song and it included her side of the story,” Lin says. “I liked the inclusion of a stringed instrument since it sounds like a viola. It made it different from regular beats of the genre, rap.”

For the past two years, Wan has developed his style, shifting from English rap to Cantonese rap. Wan was offered his first public gig at the University of California, Davis, during Picnic Day earlier this year, but he turned it down. Nonetheless, being asked was a validation of Wan’s musical talent as a Chinese rapper who can rap in both English and Cantonese.

“Aim to make a difference yielding good results,” says Wan. “We all fail every day. The moral of the story is the pick yourself up, and don’t dwell on the past, I hope my music can help people.”

Christopher Wan’s video “Because I Love You” can be seen on YouTube at

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