Fighting the Power
In Vietgone, Tong and Quang use song - rap/hip-hop in particular - to express their feelings of alienation, rage, shock, and the general difficulty of adapting to a new country. But they weren't the only or the first people to do so.
Disclaimer: Some videos contain explicit language.
Hip-hop music has a long history as a genre of protest. From Public Enemy in the 1980s to Kendrick Lamar today, hip-hop artists have used the spoken word as a vehicle for criticizing and commenting on the world around them, and conveying the African-American experience.
Perhaps, in Qui Nguyen's play Vietgone, Tong and Quang are trying to do the same thing for the Vietnamese-American experience.
Houston Hip Hop
Our production of Vietgone at the Alley features its own twist: the songs will be influenced by the Houston style of rap. Local Houston rapper EQuality from The Hue has assembled a playlist of important Houston rap artists.
In the early 1990s, Houston came to the forefront of Southern rap with the rise of the Geto Boys. DJ Screw pioneered the "chopped and screwed" technique, which involved remixing music and slowing it down.
Houston rap can be considered a response to the 1980s flow of hip-hop culture from the East and West coast - embodied primarily by New York City and Los Angeles - and had sprung Southern rap permanently onto the national scene by the early to mid 2000s.
The Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular among Americans in the late 1960s and 1970s.
While some artists used their music to show their support of the war, many rock and folk musicians protested the war in their music.
Do you know any modern protest songs?
Have you ever tried making your own?
Using these beats, create your own song of protest.