Chinese influence on Hip Hop

You'd be surprised. I was.

I had heard that breaking was partly influenced by kung-fu due to the popularity of kung-fu films at the time. (By the way, the link above points to hip hop chess. RZA of Wu Tang, note the kung-fu influence, holds the Hip-Hop Chess Federation belt. The federation's mission is "using chess, music, and martial arts to promote unity, strategy, and non-violence." Wu Tang even has a chess site, The layers are deep.) Through my research I found out that kung-fu may have also had an influence on the DJ by way of titles given like "Grandmaster."

What I really wasn't aware of though was the involvement of Chinese in the scene in Jamaica, who's dancehall sound system influenced Kool Herc, the father of hip hop. I first learned of the connection of dancehall sound systems and Kool Herc when researching the beginning of hip hop a couple months back but I unfortunately didn't document it. Hopefully I can find all my sources again to document later.

"The first Chinese arrived in Jamaica as indentured laborers for British sugar plantations in the 1850s and 1860s... The first Chinese Jamaican music pioneer was Kingston hardware merchant, Thomas Wong, better known as "Tom The Great Sebastien". He is generally credited with developing the first real dancehall sound system in the early 1950s." He used sound systems to draw customers away from bands and in a way started the dance club scene. Chinese also played a roll in Bob Marley's career.

This is a very interesting read if you care to know more about the relationship between Asians and Africans. It digs into social and political aspects.

So... now you know. And if you already knew, please educate me. I'm still digging for knowledge.


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