From The New York Times:
While I'm not into this scene at all here in Xi'an, I can confirm that it exists.
BEIJING — A week before Americans tune in to the Super Bowl, another televised mega-event will kick off on the other side of the globe. On Sunday more than half a billion people here are expected to watch the annual Chinese Lunar New Year gala. Organized by the state-owned China Central Television, the marathon event showcases the country’s musical diversity with an extensive lineup of Chinese pop stars performing hit songs. But one genre audiences are unlikely to see is Chinese hip-hop, despite its growing popularity among the country’s urban youth.
Over the last decade many students and working-class Chinese have been writing rap as a form of self-expression. Rougher and more rebellious than the well-scrubbed pop that floods the airwaves here, this kind of hip-hop is not sanctioned by broadcast media producers or state censors but has managed to attract a grass-roots fan base.
“Hip-hop is free, like rock ’n’ roll — we can talk about our lives, what we’re thinking about, what we feel,” said Wang Liang, 25, a popular hip-hop D.J. in China who is known as Wordy. “The Chinese education system doesn’t encourage you to express your own character. They feed you stale rules developed from books passed down over thousands of years. There’s not much opportunity for personal expression or thought; difference is discouraged.”While American rappers like Eminem and Q-Tip have been popular in China since the 1990s, home-grown rap didn’t start gaining momentum until a decade later. The group Yin Ts’ang (its name means “hidden”), one of the pioneers of Chinese rap, is made up of global nomads: a Beijinger, a Chinese-Canadian and two Americans.
If you go to Xi'an's Bai Hui markets (where tons of counterfit DVDs, clothes, etc. can be found), you will see many shops selling hip-hop style clothing and blaring hip-hop rap music. If you are anywhere where there are young people, there will be the occasional guy with a baggy hooded sweatshirt and jeans hanging down off his ass.