Rhyme Report

Published on January 26th, 2019 | by Guest Editor

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Higher Brothers Announce New Album With New Video “Open It Up”

Higher Brothers – the first Chinese rappers to break into the American mainstream – are releasing their sophomore album, Five Stars, on February 22, 2019. Poised to be the biggest Chinese hip-hop album in history, Five Stars (like the Higher Brothers themselves) represents China, top-quality and global-internet culture.

Higher Brothers also release their newest single and video, “Open It Up.” Produced by LUCA, “Open It Up” is inspired by the popular mosh pit phrase that they first discovered during Rolling Loud Bay Area last year. Higher Brothers’ flip of the phrase and use of a classic boom-bap beat is a nod to hip-hop history and harkens the globalization of the genre. Shot in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where the group took over the block with a celebratory parade complete with lion dancers, the “Open It Up” video exemplifies Higher Brothers ability to incorporate western influences into their music while keeping their own culture and influences at the forefront.
Watch the mamesjao-directed video for “Open It Up”

below and pre-order Five Stars here!

Higher Brothers closed out 2018 with their second sold-out North American tour and the release of the video for their latest single, “16 Hours.” Named after the flight time between China and America, “16 Hours” is a playful homage to Higher Brothers’ journey to the west and was written and recorded during their first trip to America. In support of the “16 Hours” single, 88rising released an accompanying documentary by the same name that highlights stories from many young people as they detail what it means to be Chinese in America. The film is directed by Emmy Award-winner Christine Yuan. Watch the “16 Hours” music video here and watch the “16 Hours” documentary here.
“The current breakout stars of the Chinese hip-hop world,” (The New York Times) Higher Brothers are defining what it means to be Chinese in an increasingly globalized, internet-fueled world. Recently named ‘2018 Hip Hop Artist Of The Year’ by one of China’s top music streaming platforms, NetEase, and featured in extensive profiles by international media like CNN, Vice News, Rolling Stone and Los Angeles Times, to name a few, Higher Brothers are already the most heralded rappers in Chinese history and this is only the beginning. Best known for acclaimed singles like “Made In China” and “WeChat,” the group “have held a certain panache for tapping into the sweet spot of rap culture that bridges the Eastern and Western hemispheres.” (XXL)
Since last year’s release of their debut album, Black Cab, Higher Brothers have exploded onto the world stage, racking up nearly 250M streams globally and appearing on tracks with many of hip-hop’s most exciting up and comers, including Blocboy JB, Ski Mask The Slump God, Goldlink, 03 Greedo and many more. They were featured alongside Joji, Rich Brian and AUGUST 08 on “Midsummer Madness,” the lead single from 88rising’s group album that reached #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart. Higher Brothers have also been tapped by brands like Adidas, Sprite and GUESS, and even connected with Russell Westbrook for an Air Jordan campaign in China.
With their sophomore album positioned to be the biggest Chinese hip-hop album in history and more unexpected collaborations coming in the new year, “Higher Brothers’ success story is more than a tale about four kids “making it”-it’s emblematic of a bigger trend towards globalization in hip-hop.” (GQ)
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