Since the start of his music career in 2009, Taiwanese hip-hop artist Soft Lipa has gained a strong following with his smooth, jazzy hip-hop tracks. Songs like “Re Shui Zao” or “Cai Jiao Ta Che” bring out his enjoyment of daily life, or his song “Guan Yu Xiao Xiong”, which narrates the relationship of two lovers through a toy bear. Soft Lipa has adapted the hip-hop genre to fit a personal style that’s all about, in his words, “comfort.”
台湾嘻哈音乐人蛋堡，自2009年开始音乐生涯以来，已经通过他恬淡优雅的爵士嘻哈曲目赢得众多粉丝。 《热水澡》《 踩脚踏车》等作品描述的是他日常生活中的愉悦，《关于小熊》则是讲述两个恋人通过一只玩具小熊维系感情的故事。蛋堡认为，一切最重要的就是“舒服”，更是将这种个人风格渗入嘻哈音乐，让自己的作品独具一格。
Soft Lipa Choice Tracks:
Neocha: When you were back in high school in Tainan, what did you think then about hip-hop music and rap as a form of expression?
Soft Lipa: I first got exposed to hip-hop when I joined a club at school, the hip-hop dance group. Because of that group, I started to listening to hip-hop music. I heard MC Hotdog’s music during my last year of high school, and I thought about how Chinese rap could sound. That’s when I first tried writing my own music.
Back then, I thought of hip-hop as a music form that could give me a feeling of release. Since Taiwan’s school system is pretty intense, as well as in most of East Asia, I felt like hip-hop gave me a path outside of that.
蛋堡: 我一开始接触到嘻哈是通过参加学校的一个社团，就是热舞社，开始跳街舞。因为加入那个社团，我开始听一些像hip-hop风格这样的音乐。到了高三的时候，听到热狗（MC Hotdog）的音乐，我当时就觉得中文的饶舌也可以这样唱，可以这样写饶舌。所以我就开始自己尝试写写看。
Neocha: Most of your songs have a laid-back feel to them, or what you call “soft rap”. Does writing songs that are smooth and laid-back help you feel relaxed?
Soft Lipa: I tend to like things that I find comfortable. Not just hip-hop, also other kinds of music that feel comfortable to me. For me, it means letting myself relax. I always want to listen to music when I’m by myself working on something.
In terms of making music, I feel that music should be smooth and natural, which is how my music ends up sounding. Even with jazz, it’s all in a style that I like.
Another aspect is that hip-hop originated in the U.S., and East Asia is not like the U.S. As someone from the East, I find that people are more introverted here, which could make hip-hop less suitable. If you were to take it directly and move it over here, or copy it over here, it wouldn’t really work.
另一方面， hip-hop这个东西源自于美国， 我觉得东方不像美国，以东方人的角度来说，可能比较内敛一点，hip-hop不见得那么适合。如果你要直接把它移植、复制过来的话，其实没那么适合。
Neocha: There are only a few songs of yours that have Taiwanese in the lyrics. What is the difference between using Taiwanese versus Mandarin in your music?
Soft Lipa: The tonality of Taiwanese is different, since Taiwanese has eight tones. Because of this, when it comes to singing, Taiwanese has a greater degree of freedom. Mandarin is the official language, so it already has certain limitations to it, while Taiwanese has a lot of slang, and it has a very local feel to it. For writing songs, though, I still tend to use everyday Mandarin in my lyrics.
Neocha: Hip-hop music is obviously not native to Taiwan, with its origins in New York in the 1980s. How do you view hip-hop culture? Do you try to produce entirely your own style of hip-hop music, or do you strive more to build upon traditional hip-hop?
Soft Lipa: Right now I have been adding more of my own ideas, my own feelings, into my music, so the creative frame is even looser. Whether something is hip-hop or not is more of a feeling or a vibe for me. All these years, hip-hop has become internal to me. It’s my main key that plays in the background. Whatever I do from here won’t stray from it.