iQiyi dropped a bombshell on August 10 when they announced Korean artist, Jay Park, was joining “The Rap of China 2020” (中国新说唱 2020) as a mentor. While there were initial rumors that Jay Park would be joining, it seemed like the show was already locked down with the four mentors, Kris Wu (吴亦凡), GAI, Wilber Pan (潘瑋柏) and Jane Zhang (张靓颖), after Jane Zhang was announced. Even though Jay Park is a well known figure in the rap and hip hop communities and has served as a judge on the fourth and sixth seasons of Korean rap program, “Show Me The Money”, his announcement as a mentor on the show was not met with excitement by some Chinese netizens.
Under Jay Park’s announcement post on “The Rap of China’s” official Weibo account, there is a sea of comments about Jay Park not being able to speak or understand Chinese. The top comment under the post was liked by over 4,000 people. It mentioned, “Your program requires Chinese hip hop to be rapped in Chinese. MC Jin’s English rap was so awesome, but yet it still had to be changed to rap in Chinese. Now you guys invited a mentor who can’t even understand Chinese. Also, there will be a bunch of people waiting for the English and Korean translations. You guys are really low…”
The second most liked comment was, “So you guys are going to mosaic his entire body?”, referring to Jay Park’s tattoos. China’s broadcast censorship rules require tattoos to be blurred out and male artists can’t wear earrings either as it will also be blurred out.
A lot of netizens mentioned previous contestants were eliminated because they didn’t know Chinese or weren’t fluent enough. This is in reference to rapper, Al Rocco, who rapped entirely in English in his audition during season 2 of “The Rap of China”. He was eventually eliminated by Chang Chen-yue (張震嶽) for not being fluent in Chinese. One person also mentioned, “Is it fair to the contestants for inviting a Korean person who doesn’t know Chinese to be a mentor?”
Al Rocco once collaborated with Jackson Wang.
There were some netizens who defended Jay Park joining the show saying, “It’s already 2020. Only people who are fluent in the language can make music? Dying of laughter.” Jay Park’s fans mentioned he was already a judge/producer on two seasons of “Show Me The Money” and that there is practically an artist under his label, AOMG, who serves as a producer on each season. Some people also brought up Jay Park’s nationality to attack him, which led to some back and forth bickering between his fans and Kris Wu’s fans. Jay Park is American, while Kris Wu is Canadian. Wilber Pan is also Taiwanese-American.
There were also comments saying music/rap transcends language and that Jay Park is well liked and respected by a lot of Chinese rappers. One person said, “Why would people who really respect and understand rap care about language barriers? A bunch of “frogs at the bottom of a well” think they are the godfathers of rap saying this and that.” Some people defending Jay Park being a mentor also brought up Rich Brian, who is Indonesian of Chinese descent. He doesn’t speak Chinese, but he is serving as a mentor on bilibili’s rap show, “Rap For Youth” (说唱新世代). Other mentors include Huang Zitao (黄子韬), Li Yuchun (李宇春), MC Hotdog, and Higher Brothers’ members, KnowKnow, and Masiwei.