It's a big week for Vice.cn. In what might be their most mutually beneficial China move yet, they just released a three-part documentary about fallen-star / still-aspiring rapper and streetwear boss Edison Chen, who was essentially blacklisted from the Chinese entertainment industry after a 2008 scandal involving sex photos of him with various stars, which were released by his computer repair guy.
He's like, the [one] bad boy of Chinese pop...
Despite threats on his life and isolation after the scandal, Chen remains widely popular, and runs the successful streetwear label CLOT, which has a shop called Juice on Julu Lu. The theme of this documentary is:
"I'll show you my life, you can film everything except me fucking."
…but feels more like "Hey I really, really wanna get back in the Mainland film industry." His agenda becomes especially apparent in the third segment, during an extended rant about dreams and chances, and how China should give him a second chance because he's a good example of dealing with struggle.
He comes across as a smart, manipulative poser who has a lot of ups and downs. Other themes include haters, the energy he gets from haters, his move to LA, and the streetwear industry.
He's rapping over trap music these days, and is apparently about to release a 26-song double-album then quitting the game. In part two, he talks bout how "hip hop is my dad…It taught me how to talk to girls, how to make love, how to play basketball, what to eat and drink, to beware of the people next to me…" To be fair, he did introduce something fresh to Chinese pop music in the early 2000s, but comeback attempts felt much like similar efforts by Axl Rose and Vanilla Ice.
Anyway, definitely recommended viewing, and an easy conversation topic for the next week. Smart move by VICE, as they'll expand their readership beyond just cool kids / scenesters with this one.
Streaming: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Note: this is half English / half Mandarin, but Edison's Mandarin is not great, so you should be able to catch most of his meaning if you're at that intermediate / upper-intermediate level.