Five Stars

March 4, 2019

Listen: Open It Up by Higher Brothers

Happy snowy Monday. If you’re blessed with a day off, please occupy yourself with Five Stars, the new album from Higher Brothers, the biggest Chinese hip hop group this side of the Atlantic. Their single “Open it Up,” sung half in Sichuanese and half in English, feels a little like an ask for acceptance from the genre’s gatekeepers stateside, but judging by their features of Soulja Boy, Denzel Curry, and Schoolboy Q, I’d say they’ve broken in.

WeChat influencers of New York

I wanted to start this bit with “Calling all urban food tourists,” but on second thought, don’t tell them. Here’s the secret: there’s a whole world of Chinese spots in New York that the food establishment doesn’t even know about. And that’s because they don’t care if destination eaters come– instead of promoting their businesses on Yelp, where people pick apart the minutiae of service interactions, or finding Instagram influencers who care foremost about hip hop lyrics etched in neon, these spots busy catering to Chinese eaters who come reliably for really bomb food. Although, it’s not like the seats just fill themselves. There’s still an influence element at play here– it’s just on WeChat, where paid reviews are cheaper and no one is worried about what Zagat thinks. Remember how we learned last week that you have to campaign to win an Oscar? This is kind of like that.

A word from the academy

In case you can’t find your way onto WeChat, this chili oil comes highly recommended by the nice folks over at the Strategist. Hot tip: put it on eggs.