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Transcending languages with DIGI GHETTO

“Right now, we're focused on breaking our own boundaries & pushing forward.”

LiFTED | Sean D | 13 Feb 2024

If you haven’t heard of China’s Digi Ghetto yet, you soon will. The six-member Rap outfit from Chengdu has already conquered mainland China and made inroads in the US and Europe. They have captured the imagination of the Chinese Hip Hop community in a way that reminds us of the Higher Brothers in 2017, but there are six of them so maybe it’s more like a Mandarin-spitting Wu-Tang Clan.

Like The Clan, rappers MAC OVA SEAS, ASEN, THOMEBOYDONTKILL, TOYOKI, MULA SAKEE, and KIV, who came together in Chengdu in 2019, have broken out as DIGI GHETTO and individually, with numerous successful group and solo projects. MAC OVA SEAS tore it up on The Rap of China in 2020, THOMEBOYDONTKILL has been labeled a ‘music genius’ by the Chinese music press, and MULA SAKEE has been invited to tour Europe with Korean giants Balming Tiger - to name just a few highlights.

Digi Ghetto’s videos have over 10 billion views across Chinese and Western platforms, and they have over a million followers on China’s Weibo, plus almost 100K on Instagram. In a word, they are buzzing and have recently formed a partnership with Warner Music China. LiFTED caught up with them recently to talk about music, fame, fortune, and Chinese New Year.

Ni Hao, Digi Ghetto! Glad we finally got a chance to chop it up with you guys!

DIGI GHETTO: Yo, thanks for having us.

You guys formed in 2019 in Chengdu, right? How many of you are from Chengdu? Where are you all from originally?

THOMEBOYDONTKILL: I'm a Chengdu local. KIV is from Zhuhai, Guangdong province. TOYOKI hails from Liangshan, Sichuan province. MAC OVA SEAS is from Jiangyou, Sichuan province, and ASEN is from Enshi, Hubei province. MULA SAKEE represents the ‘Heavenly Flow.’

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Chengdu is known as the Hip Hop capital of China. Why is that?

ASEN: It's not just about Hip Hop, the overall music vibe in Chengdu is awesome. Besides Hip Hop, other genres like Electronic, Rock, Folk, and more thrive here with their own scenes and audiences. It’s just a musical place, and Chengdu's strong embrace of diverse cultures makes it a hotspot for musicians.

Congrats on forming a partnership with Warner Music China. How does it feel to be with a major label now? When you formed in 2019 did you ever think that would happen?

MAC OVA SEAS: The collaboration with Warner China is a significant milestone in our careers, proving that our initial persistence was indeed the right call.

2024 is the year of the dragon. Are any of you guys dragons? What does the dragon year mean to you?

KIV: No Dragons here, but we’re all humans. The Dragon year is just another chance for us to keep building and expanding all of our cool projects.

Do you write songs collectively, or is it like each member brings his own tracks in and then you work on them?

TOYOKI: Actually, our creative process is quite free. We create individually, and the whole crew contributes. It depends on the track. If someone's got an idea, we roll with it.

You guys have toured in the US and Europe. How did that come about and what was it like repping China abroad?

MAC OVA SEAS: The US tour with THOME and SAKEE was a project that opened our eyes. Performing in NYC, LA, and San Francisco, and experiencing the vibes there made us feel legit. The recognition we got from local producers while working in LA studios was great.

THOMEBOYDONTKILL: Recording in the US was a different approach and efficiency than what we're used to in China, but we adapted well. After the US, SAKEE and I headed straight to the UK, recording and vibing with local friends. I love connecting with people through music!


ASEN: In November of 23 we collaborated with a local organizer in London for an STKD TOUR. After the show, many new Western faces came for photos and wanted to exchange ideas. It was a moment where we felt our music transcends language.

What’s your biggest hit so far as a group? Individually?

KIV: We've had quite a lot of successful songs. It's hard to pick the most successful one. ‘Fangcaodi’ turned a residential area into a must-visit spot for Chinese fans nationwide. ‘Huanxue’ became a club anthem. Check the whole DIGI TAPE for our answer.

THOMEBOYDONTKILL: Each piece is like our own child we gave birth to, so we can't say we love one more than the others.

TOYOKI: Many of our individual songs stand out because we showcase each MC's style. Just explore, listen, and enjoy.

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Which Asian countries have you performed in so far? Any particular countries in Asia you really want to play in?

ASEN: We've been to Kuala Lumpur.

TOYOKI: We made a trip to South Korea. Planning to hit Japan and Southeast Asian countries soon.

MULA SAKEE: Japan, Malaysia…

KIV: Malaysia, and honestly, there are many places in Asia we'd love to perform.

MAC OVA SEAS: Japan, Malaysia…and we all went to Thailand for Rolling Loud in '23.

THOMEBOYDONTKILL: The audience in Singapore during our last trip was amazing!

Which rappers were the most influential for you when you were just getting started?

DIGI GHETTO: Many American hip-hop artists, like 2pac, we’ve been listening to since we were little.

If you could collab with any artist who would it be? Why?

DIGI GHETTO: Actually, we really aspire to collaborate with influential artists who have made an impact on us such as Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTentacion, or King Von as well [RIP]. We hope that one day we can be on par with them. It's tough to choose. Right now, we're focused on breaking our own boundaries and pushing forward.

Thanks for sitting down with us. Please let us know what’s in store for Digi Ghetto in 2024.

DIGI GHETTO: We’ve got tons of plans after recording sessions and our overseas tours in 2023. We’ve got some new vibes going with people we met. If the chance pops up in 2024, we’re aiming to vibe more internationally.

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