“Can you freestyle?” has become an immensely popular phrase on China’s social network thanks to Chinese pop singer and actor Kris Wu.
Wu, 27, recently appeared on reality TV show The Rap of China as a judge.
Each time Wu had to choose the winner, he had just one question for the contestants: “Can you freestyle?”
The pop star’s humorous catchphrase was quickly adopted by Chinese netizens.
Many began to follow him and use “freestyle” wildly on social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo.
According to the Oxford Dictionary and Wikipedia, “freestyle” refers to a style of improvisation with or without instrumental beats, where lyrics are recited with no particular subject or structure.
It is similar to other improvisational music, such as jazz, where there is a lead instrumentalist acting as the improviser and the rest of the band providing the beat.
Since the early 1990s, “freestyle” has come to be the widely used term for rap lyrics which are improvised on the spot.
The method of improvised rap was made popular by groups and artists such as Freestyle Fellowship and Eminem.
Now, “Do you have freestyle?” has morphed into other memes. Some internet users even adapt the buzzword into a variety of emojis, further promoting the use of “freestyle”.
For instance, one of Chinese ancient philosopher Confucius’s well-known sayings about self-introspection is: “Every day I do self-inspection on three aspects: Were my suggestions to others betraying his own perspective? Was my conversation with classmates and co-believers not congruent with the facts? Or did I spread any idea without practicing it?”
Now, it has been reinterpreted as “Can you freestyle? Can you freestyle again? And can you be freestyled?” and has been mockingly knowns as the modern principles for daily self-inspection.
At the same time, some internet users have been inspired by the buzzword and consider it the new standard to live up to.
Chinese pop star’s freestyle becomes instant buzzword
“From now on, I do not care about what others say about me, good or bad, positive or negative, I am my own and enjoy my own freestyle,” WeChat user Jiang Yuqiu wrote.
“I believe the essence of the buzzword is to go your own way regardless of what others say. When my idol Kris Wu first said it, many people ridicule him and doubt his legitimacy as a rapper. However, he later made a fantastic performance to smash rumours and prove his professional status as a rapper and a dedicated artist,” Zheng Shaoqiu, one of Wu’s fans declared.
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