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LiFTED celebrates 3 years elevating Asian Hip Hop

Reminiscing at some quotes from the best artists in the world

LiFTED | LiFTED StAFF | 14 Mar 2024

Three years ago in the b2 Music office, we were just putting the finishing touches on a new Best of Asian Hip Hop compilation for VIBE Magazine in New York. We started to research media outlets that focused on Asian Hip Hop, only to find that there really weren’t any – at least none that solely covered that market. It was then that we had a collective Aha moment and realized we had to start LiFTED.

Launching a new digital music media platform in the middle of a pandemic is not for the faint of heart, nor is it advisable. But we were being driven by a higher calling – or a fool’s errand – and that was the undeniable talent in the Asian Hip Hop game. From Bombay to Bangkok to Beijing, new MCs were coming out almost daily with fire tracks, and they needed a dedicated platform to cover them. Our first black and white cover was Bohan Phoenix because he perfectly epitomized the ‘organic’ form of Hip Hop we love most. At that time, he was in NYC, his manager was in San Francisco, the photographer was based in LA, and we were in Hong Kong. After many files flying back and forth in the ether, we got the cover done and haven’t looked back since.

We’ve learned as we’ve gone along. Some highlights include having India’s Prabh Deep on our third cover and watching as his rabid fans almost shut down our site. Time to optimize. This happened again when we had DIVINE on the cover last year as well. The lesson? Don’t sleep on Desi Hip Hop! We also wrote about Cambodia’s VannDa first and then invited him to be on the cover. Like with so many other rappers we’ve covered, watching them blossom into stars has been incredibly fulfilling.

Towards the end of year one we came up with the LiFTED 50 because there were no official rankings and we thought it would be fun to do it. It was a daunting task, mainly because there were so many deserving rappers across the region. We eventually crowned Jay Park number one and sent the Korean fanbase into a frenzy. Then last year we named India’s DIVINE number one and our site actually did shut down briefly as his fans and rival fans had it out on our Instagram page. Who will be number one this year? We’ll get back to you on that in June, but we can tell you that the competition is tough. So many Asian rappers have had insane years so far. Japan is making big moves. The Rap of China is back this summer. Rolling Loud will steam through Thailand again. It’s all still building and gaining momentum, and that means LiFTED has a lot more work to do.

To everyone who reads LiFTED, thanks for three great years and cheers to many more!