In the late 1990's, interest in hip hop on Taiwan developed into performance art in which DJ's adopted turntablism and lyricists began fitting Mandarin Chinese to freestyle rhyming. Before the TriPoets formed in 2002, the members were all active in discovering underground sounds and spreading the word about hip hop in online forums and through a university club. In fact, MC Teacher Lin gets his vast knowledge of the genre and for his method of rapping with classical Chinese poetry. Both Ill Mo, the group's main songwriter, and Shortee, whose roots are in DJing, share Lin's passion for making Western hip hop viable in a Chinese-speaking culture. In true underground fashion, TriPoets released their first album "Listen & Speak" unofficially as a mixtape. This proved to be successful in gaining a wide fan base that lead to a 2008 major release entitled "The Beginning of Rhymes."

Despite rising from a humble scene that skirted the mainstream hip hop sounds prominent in Taipei at the time, TriPoets's message spread taking their thought-provoking lyrical style and golden age hip hop influence to fans across the island. The trio were among the first rappers alongside MC HotDog and Dog G to adapt Chinese language to the genre, and these artists also started out sharing the stage at events together. As the group saw more success, they were invited to join several golden age legends and underground MC's on stage including Public Enemy, Ice-T, Ugly Duckling, Supernatural, Kero One and hip hop ambassador Toni Blackman among others. In mid 2009, TriPoets served as emissaries themselves when they made a trip to Los Angeles with MC HotDog to play at the Tatou Club sparking interest in Asian urban culture overseas. When in Taipei, it's best to check listings at the mega club LUXY or other dance clubs that feature live hip hop events if you want to get a earful of TriPoet's Chinese rhyming style.

"Used to Love Her" - MV



The Vinyl Word



TRIPOETS - Listen & Speak - 2008