Chinese rap group disses South Korea’s missile defense system
After years of geopolitical negotiations, a U.S.-designed ballistic missile defense system known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, went into operation in South Korea earlier this month. While the system’s stated mission is to defend South Korea from its brash northern neighbor, THAAD’s installation has been steadily opposed by Beijing, which views the deployment as a way for the U.S. to monitor missiles launched from China. Now, China has ramped up its opposition with a new weapon in information warfare, rap music.
“NO THAAD,” the latest song by Sichuan-based rap group CD Rev, published a day after the defense system went online, firmly rejects South Korea’s military escalation. Over 808s and scratched vocals, the group’s vocalists argue in English and Chinese for nonviolence and improved South Korea-China relations. Or as CD Rev puts it, “We wanna be grinding to reverse your views about China.”
The song is full of barbs against American foreign policy framed as complaints by a spurned lover addressed to South Korea, a selection of which I have listed for you below:
- “You know your big brother is annoyed / Tryna avoid the sight of me and install a camera in my room”
- “It seems like you never wanna be friendly to me / But some 21st century colony, some puppet committing felonies / It’s enough to make me sick”
- “Because now the area is in peace / Why not choose us rather than Uncle Sam? / This situation seems to be out of control”
Skeptical readers and listeners, I say, show me the lie.
The song’s hook brings home the central point that THAAD won’t bring peace to the region, which is either a savvy bit of realpolitik or an ominous threat by the Chinese regime. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the song was posted on YouTube by a state-sponsored news agency.
Tell me, do you like violence? No / Tell me, should we have to choose silence? No / Now I’m telling everybody all over the globe about THAAD / We say no, no, no
As The New York Times reported, CD Rev has a history of producing propagandistic songs for the ruling Communist Party. Li Yijie, one of the group’s singers and lyricists, explained in December: “Chinese patriotic education has failed — it’s stiff and awkward. I think we need to accept the responsibility to make it better.”
Your move, Kendrick.