Even though Hong Kong is known as ‘Asia’s world city’, it’s not every day that you see a bunch of white guys (or “gwai lous”, as we like to call them here) rapping in almost fluent Cantonese. It’s no wonder that this video, featuring a group of Americans rapping about their love of Hong Kong, went viral when it came out in July last year, racking up a total of 372,000 views on Facebook at the time of writing.
Titled What Up HK, the music video was filmed in the U.S. by a group called The Gwai Lou Show. Starring Jared Eyring (introduced as Ai Sing Ban, nickname Ban Chai) and Travis Tucker (Tin Seng Chung), the group rap about how much they miss Hong Kong while drinking Vita Soy melon milk and waving the Hong Kong SAR flag.
Erying and Tucker came to Hong Kong as volunteers with their home church in 2007 and fell in love with the city during their three-year stay, before returning to America. Neither of them have been able to visit Hong Kong since leaving in 2009, so they decided to make a music video about how much they miss the city as a way of reconnecting with Hongkongers.
Self-effacing lyrics such as “we aren’t Chinese, you can hear our strange accent” and “we didn’t live in Hong Kong for very long so we can’t speak Cantonese very quickly, we can only speak a little bit”, clearly show the rappers don’t actually speak fluent Cantonese, but Eyring and Tucker reassure us that they’re trying hard to learn. “It’s harder to learn now that we’re in America,” they tell Localiiz. “We can read and write a couple of Chinese characters, but we’re focusing more on being able to speak and understand.”
Despite not being fluent, it’s obvious by the way they reference local rapper MC Jin, singer Hins Cheung, and 7-11 Slurpees in their song, that the two rappers have an impressive understanding of Hong Kong culture. When asked what they miss most about the city, their answer is, “We love the unity Hongkongers have. It was amazing to see how everyone came together to clean up and rebuild when you guys got hit by the big typhoon (Mangkhut). We miss speaking your language and interacting with the people. Oh, and we can’t forget about the food – we really miss the food!”
While Erying and Tucker have no plans to visit Hong Kong as of yet, fans can listen to their new song Add Oil, and look forward to the music video coming out around Chinese New Year.