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Suboi Brings Saigon Swagger on Debut U.S. Tour

A new rapper, hailing from a sprawling urban scene; spitting powerful, multilingual lyrics, and embodying all that is hip hop swagger, is making the rounds in America.

It’s not a new Jamaican sensation, Chicago-based MC, or even a K-pop crossover.

Her name is Suboi, a young female rapper who calls Ho Chi Minh City home and she’s created a tremendous buzz in the US just in time for music festival season.

Suboi recently wrapped a performance in Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right venue, yet another notch on her belt after a breakout performance at SXSW. Suboi made her US debut in San Francisco at this year’s CAAMFest, the Center for Asian American Media’s annual film festival.

Suboi cites artists ranging from Lauren Hill to Eminem as influences, and it’s not hard to note the edgy inflections and flow in her music that are trademarks of those musicians.

While American audiences are just learning about Suboi, don’t think that the 25-year-old performer is new to the rap game. She’s amassed over a million fans on Facebook, and her music videos top a quarter million views.

Suboi could be the leading edge of an Asian wave, powered by a youthful, internet-fueled fan base. New Korean and Japanese music artists have tried with varying success to break into the US market, which has become increasingly hungry for a new sound to counter US-based acts.

“It would be great if her involvement [at SXSW] increased interest in the festival from southeast Asia,” SXSW music festival general manager James Minor recently told the Wall Street Journal. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a whole pool of undiscovered artists which we haven’t tapped yet.”

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