On July 31st, one of the members in Kris Wu’s Studio receive the CAM music award for best the best single of production while Kris is busy for promoting his new album in other countries. The staff member said few sentences about cyberbullying and then left the ceremony. It is clear that he had to go back to work to handle the PR mess from the day before.
On the day before, Kris released his diss track named “Skr”. Netizens on Hupu pointed out that some parts of his beat were plagiarised from “Mashin” by Curren$y. Heated debate about this issue were everywhere online between people attacking Kris for plagiarism and fans protecting him, going so far as to make complete unfounded claim that the beat is a public non-copyrighted beat.
An hour and a half after the song was released, Universal Music Group China announced that the song “Skr” will not be put to commercial use, and the copyright belongs to Kris. And the song is not plagiarised. The beat was produced by Universal’s in-house producer group Krack Beatz & Almatic. And Universal Music Group legally purchased all the samples used in the song.
The attack from the Hupu community backfired when one of its member Ku Li Zong De Tie Yi Chang’s diss track’s beat was confirmed to be a copyright infringement of Dungeon Beijing, an independent record label.
Several hours later, the author deleted the post and Hupu’s official weibo has also apologized for his copyright infringement.
Even though Kris Wu realised Skr on July 30th, and said he hope this dispute would stop there. However, this PR battle did not end. Hupu users rearranged the beat for “Diss Back” and released it again on August 15th. The “diss battle” between Kris Wu and Hupu lasted for a very long time.
Compare to other celebrities, Kris Wu’s reputation was not bad in Hupu because he was a semi professional basketball player. No one foreseen the feud between these two unlikely enemies.
Kris always ignored negative public opinions against him. Why did he respond this time?
On July 25th, Kris posted on his Weibo: “You don’t have to do all the work to make me sound bad. My song is not produced for you.” Even many people think it was unnecessary to respond to this rumor, Kris Wu still tried to solve this problem with Hip Hop. He said that: “This song Skr was produced to show my respect of Hip Hop music. I’m using music to voice against cyberbullying.”
In April 2018, Universal Music Company announced that they have signed with Kris Wu in Santa Monica, LA. Kris Wu became the first Chinese musician of Universal Music Group’s global expansion plan. Spreading “Chinese Hip Hop” all over the world is the common goal for both Kris Wu and Universal Music Company. During the interview, Kris has also said that he is from China and wanted to connect eastern and western culture through music.
Before Kris signed with Universal Music Group, he has already had achieved a lot all over the world. In January 2017, his single called Juice was ranked 28 in iTunes U.S. This was the best result that Chinese singers had ever achieved on iTunes U.S chart. His next single Deserve from last year October also got the 1st place in both iTunes and iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap chart only two hours after the song’s release. This year his single Like That also ranked 73 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting yet another record for Chinese singers.
Kris mostly focused on his acting career from 2014 to 2016 but has recently refocused his attention to music and hip hop. Even with his outstanding achievements internationally, the general public has yet recognized his musical achievements. Therefore, he can’t stand that people on Hupu doubting his musical ability. And the best way to prove them wrong is with music.
“Skr” is finally known to the public, but the fans and “Hupu Circle” has no interaction
Netizen uploaded a recording of a live recording of Kris’s concert where he was completely out of tune, and the post started circulating and getting ridiculed all over internet. And his massive fan base was quick to react.
On July 24th, a user called “Yin He Sha Yu Hu Wei Dui” on Weibo has posted about how to report the negative posts about Kris and encourage fans to buy accounts and diss back too. Even there were even stores on Taobao selling Hupu accounts to fans so that they can go on the forums and defend him.
Users on Hupu were really riled up. An user named “Hupu’s Pedestrian Street” has also posted that “This is a war. Are JRs ready? I’m ready. Skr. Skr.” He even wrote 20 posts on Weibo in one day to respond to fans of Kris Wu. Each post ended with “Skr”.
“Skr” didn’t go as viral as people expected. However, it suddenly becomes popular from this diss war. According to Baidu, there were minimum searches for the word “Skr” before the diss war, but the search surged on July 26th. Now, “skr” is as popular of a buzz word as “freestyle” from last year’s show. However, this doesn’t mean fans and users of Hupu have successfully communicated with each other.
Kris’s fans and Hupu’s users are from two different worlds and had no interactions before. They have distinctive cultures, rules and two values. It didn’t seem like the diss war would go anywhere.
How should Kris face increasingly strict scrutiny from the public?
The more popular Kris gets, the higher the standard the public holds him to.
When Kris was one of the judges in last year’s Rap of China, he was dissed and doubted by the audience and even contestants he judged. “Do you have freestyle?” was repeated over and over by Kris a lot in the show and it became very popular. Netizens even wrote a joke about it. Kris asked the director of the Rap of China, “What do I do on the show I do not understand hip hop.” The director said, “You just ask people, do you have freestyle?”
Comparing to other producers, Kris seems stricter to rappers. He would outline their strength and weaknesses in detail and people started to acknowledge his expertise in hip hop. They even started calling him the “beacon of Chinese hip hop”.
However, him being strict as usual to the contestants received opposite reactions from the public. He usually fail contestants for the tiniest mistakes before other judges and people started criticizing him for “knowing all there is to know about rapping but still can’t rap.”
Building on Kris’s participation in the diss war himself, the debate became a war on fandom and participatory culture. It seemed like unless you criticize the irrational behavior of crazy fans you’re politically incorrect. With the explosion of idol culture in China, the hate on idol culture has exploded as well. A lot of underground rappers capitalized on the diss war to release diss tracks and got famous.
On the other side, many famous people in hip hop circle have voiced their supports on Weibo, such as MC Jin, Chang Chenyue, Wilber Pan, Beibei (from Red Flower Society), MAI(also from Red Flower Society), Ding Fei(from Red Flower Society), After Journey, LIL-EM, Jony J, Bridge, TT, Cyan Dragon(Xiao Qing Long), Hui Zi, Watch Me(Wang Qi Ming), Wang Yitai and ect. They recognized Kris Wu and his music because they all love rap and hip hop. They know how big of a influence Kris had on hip hop in China and bring it from underground to the public eye. They also know that which side they should choose for healthier development of Chinese hip hop culture.
The Rap of China 2 is not as popular as the first season. But the diss war between Kris and Hupu brought much more attention to the show.
Unlike the underground rappers who earned their “hard fame” from performances after performance, Kris, who got popular instantly as an EXO member would need to keep producing good music in order to get rid of his name as an idol who doesn’t have actual musical talents.
But rap skills aside, there’s no doubt Kris contributed greatly to Chinese hip pop culture and will continue to play a huge part in its development.
Copyright © 2015 China Music Business News