Vietnam’s ‘Queen of Hip Hop’ impresses Obama with her rhymes

by H.N26 May 2016 Last updated at 07:00 AM - Time- an American weekly news magazine on May 25 run a story about a meeting between President Obama and young Vietnamese people in Ho Chi Minh City.

Obama talked to twenty-six-year-old rapper Suboi who has been dubbed "Queen of Hip Hop” in Vietnam. 

It’s a brave career choice in a repressive state where outspoken artists fear upsetting the authorities with their lyrics.

On May 25, though, more bravery was required as she was put on the spot by US President Barack Obama.

The rap artist — real name Hang Lam Trang Anh — put her hand up to ask the President his views on the importance of arts and culture to nations. Despite the restrictive environment, Vietnam’s artists “have a lot to say,” she said.

“Before I answer your question, why don’t you give me a little rap?” Obama replied

Suboi immediately launched into a few lines of impressive verse, in Vietnamese. “I was just talking about some people having a lot of money, having big houses, but actually, are they really happy?” she explained. The rap was about stereotypes, she said, saying people often see her as “an Asian rapper … the cute girl.”

“For Vietnamese people it’s different, they think like rapping is not for women,” she added.

President Obama Gets a Rap by Vietnamese Girl Suboi

In response to Suboi’s question, though, Obama took the opportunity to make a point about the importance of free artistic expression. “Let’s be honest, sometimes art is dangerous,” he said, “and that’s why governments sometimes get nervous about art. 

But one of the things that I truly believe is that if you try to suppress the arts, then I think you’re suppressing the deepest dreams and aspirations of a people.”

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