Hip-hop is a new wave which has overflowed from the West and infiltrated many areas of Vietnamese modern society. The phenomenon is attracting a lot of young people, especially youth who were born in the 1980s and 1990s. Hip-hop has penetrated into Viet Nam’s music market, both professional and amateur, and it is now considered the youth’s fashion music.
Currently, most music shows are accompanied by dancers who perform break-dance. In an effort to soar to fame, many young singers have "renewed" themselves, using the hip-hop style. They include singers such as Hong Ngoc, Doan Trang, Ly Hai, Thanh Thao and Quang Vinh...
...Hip-hop has also made an appearance in amateur performance establishments. Most of the universities now have hip-hop groups, even, the Ha Noi Art College has hip-hop as a training programme, in addition to its academic music lessons.
Dang Anh Tuan, a student of the Viet Duc senior high school says a "movement" to learn break-dance – a part of hip-hop – is now popular among students. "We learn hip-hop to have a healthy and quick body," Tuan says.
His friend, Thai Bao, says Vietnamese youths are quickly adapting to hip-hop. "Hip-hop is like a kind of language, which helps us express our personalities," he says.
Some students’ parents also says they agree with the movement. "There’s no reason to protest hip-hop. I’d rather see my children practice hip-hop dance skills than seeing them lured to use heroin or drugs," says Hoang Thanh who lives in District 1 of HCM City.
To meet the rising demand of young people, many training centres for hip-hop dances have emerged and most cultural clubs in Ha Noi and HCM City now have break-dance classes...
Here's where it starts getting funky:
Hip-hop followers often wear their distinctive clothes, including loose trousers, colourful T-shirts, headbands, necklaces and metal chains with monstrous images. It is this side of the cultural phenomenon that can cause discomfort to many people.
Hip-hop spreads out so that we can see hip-hop clothes or breakdance performers everywhere, especially in schools. Many schoolboys perform their skills of hip-hop, such as handstands or head-spins during their breaks in school hours.
This is not so good, I think, because a school is not a club and hip-hop clothes are not suitable to cities with hot weather, such as HCM City.
Hip-hop also penetrates youth language. Many young Vietnamese now prefer to add into their conversation a few words that they learn from the rappers, such as "oh yeah", "come on", or "check it". Unfortunately, these words are not enough to express all their feelings.
By choosing hip-hop style, many young people try to prove that they are sanh Dieu, or stylish, but in the wrong way. They speak in a devil-may-care manner, and they swear as if they are the real street children.
Hip-hop followers in their typical clothes walking around solemn places such as lecture halls or pagodas can cause bad feeling to many others.
Hip-hop was born in America in the early 1980s. Unemployed black youth used hip-hop as a way out of dead-end lives and hard situations.
Hip-hop penetrated into Viet Nam in the early 1990s. Before that, hip-hop came to Japan and China, but in these countries, it is still not considered a part of the culture.
In fact, hip-hop only exists among a part of American youth, who have a couldn’t-care-less lifestyle.
Therefore, as many young local people now rush to follow hip-hop, they may lose their way in orienting their personality, because hip-hop means freedom, and it means a couldn’t-give-a-damn attitude.
I think we should consider hip-hop a new type of entertainment only, and youths should absorb it in moderation.
If the hip-hop movement goes too far, it may cause many young people to forget traditional culture and their origins, and they can become unmindful of others.