‘Crazy Rich Asians’ introduces world to VAVA, China’s ‘Queen of Rap’

Digital Originals

Credit: Visual China Group (VCG)

Chinese musician VAVA is making a name for herself in the international, hip-hop scene, from performing on “The Rap of China” to being featured on the soundtrack to “Crazy Rich Asians”.  CGTN’s Isbella Diaz takes a look at how this talented artist quickly shot to stardom.

The 22-year-old rap artist VAVA recently made her debut on the global music stage in the blockbuster hit film “Crazy Rich Asians”. Her rap single “My New Swag” was part of a motion picture soundtrack featuring other Asian musicians.

Even so, this wasn’t the first time audiences had heard about VAVA. Before “Crazy Rich Asians”, VAVA had already made a name for herself in Asia.

Credit: Visual China Group (VCG)

She gained popularity as a standout contestant in the Chinese reality TV show, “The Rap of China.” She made it all the way to the finals in the first season of the rap competition, finishing as a runner-up.

Since her time on the show, VAVA’s gone on to have numerous hit singles, including “Know My Style”, “Rap Star” and “Shady Wit Me”. She released her debut album “21” last year, which included “My New Swag”.

Before her rise to stardom, VAVA was simply known as Mao Yanqi.

She was born in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. In her early years, she was raised by her grandmother and dropped out of school at 16-years-old.

She started her music career by singing cover songs in bars, and occasionally ghostwriting songs for other musicians. She credits her success to her mother, who never questioned her choices and gave her autonomy.

Credit: Visual China Group (VCG)

VAVA also says Chinese rappers owe a debt to their American counterparts:

“Hip-hop comes from the U.S., and let’s be honest here, we’re really just copying their style […] “We’re still finding our way, still creating and finding our own Chinese style of hip-hop. We need to put more Chinese elements into our music.”

And that’s exactly what VaVa does.