On Friday, two rappers came to Penn to prove that Iggy Azalea isn’t the only non-stereotypical hip hop artist.
In honor of the Lunar New Year, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition and Korean Student Association hosted a concert headlined by two of the most well known names in Asian-American rap at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Awkwafina is a half-Chinese, half-Korean rapper from New York City. Her real name is Nora, and she performed songs including “Fresh Water Salmon, “Marijuana,” “Daydreaming” and “Queef.” Shortly after Awkwafina’s performance, Dumbfoundead closed the show. His real name is Parker and is a male Korean-American rapper from Los Angeles. He performed a medley of his songs from the past eight years of his career including “Are We There Yet?,” “Genghis Khan” and “Korean Jesus.”
College sophomore and Vice Chair of External Affairs of APSC Sarah Cho organized the event in collaboration with the KSA and the Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women.
“It is about celebrating and recognizing Asian culture. A lot of [Asian Pacific Islander] artists do not get recognized,” she said.
Both Dumbfoundead and Awkwafina are known as extremely popular in the Asian community at Penn. Their recognition spurred a lot of hype on campus and drew in a roaring flood of audience members.
“We turn on the TV and turn on the radio, and we don’t get many Asians represented. It’s important because other ethnicities are represented; we are the last ones,” Dumbfoundead said.
“Asian people make up a group that doesn’t have a voice. There is much staunch racism, and Asians are still the butt of a lot of jokes,” she said.
This isn’t Dumbfoundead’s first time on campus. Last year, he came to Penn to speak on Asian culture awareness. This time, Cho said she wanted to bring Dumbfoundead in for an “authentic concert experience.”
“I want people to know that there are also eccentric Asians, and that is the way we are on stage.” Dumbfoundead added.
Prior to their careers in the music industry, Dumbfoundead was a high school drop-out and Awkwafina was a publicist for a magazine. They found their voices in a unique medium, which the language society has grown to know as rap.
“Symbolic of something bigger; we don’t have a voice in this country yet. I’m not Iggy Azalea or Nicki Minaj, and I can never be that [with society’s racial inequality]. What [Dumbfoundead] and I promote is an Asian face. We are Asian American. We need to make people understand the difference between Asians and Asian Americans,” Awkwafina said.
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