Namewee’s (黃明志) most famous hit “Stranger in the North” (漂向北方) featuring Wang Leehom (王力宏) has been a fan favourite’s since its released, garnering various covers and parodies from many music artistes and YouTube talents.
Recently, the song was performed on China’s rap competition “The Rap of China” (中国新说唱) by contestants You Zhangjing (尤长靖) from boy group Nine Percent (百分九少年) with new rap lyrics by rapper Lil-Em (那吾克热).
The duo scored high scores for the performance, receiving wide applause from the audience and high praises from the judges, making them the champion of the night. Judges Kris Wu and Will Pan even compared rapper Lil-Em to American rap god Eminem.
The new rendition was so famous that it landed on several China’s charts including Kuwo Music (酷我音乐), QQ Music (QQ音乐), China’s Billboard, and more, and was widely discussed on forums and chart forms like Baidu Tieba (百度贴吧) and Zhihu (知乎).
But what’s surprising is that many netizens from China didn’t know that the song was released a year ago and was originally sang by Malaysian singer-songwriter Namewee. Some of them were also surprised to know that Wang Leehom was featured in the original version.
After discovering the original singer of “Stranger in the North”, many Chinese netizens flocked to Namewee’s social media to express their love for the song. The 35-year-old local talent also openly welcomed his new fans and explained the reason why he was not very well known in China.
“These few days there has been a lot of Chinese netizens on my page. I want to say Hello to all my new friends,” Namewee shared on his Facebook. “It is true that I have been struggling outside of China’s wall for many years. The reason most of you didn’t know me is because there’s a huge old wall blocking me from the outside.”
“I will be going to China soon to promote myself and there will be tons of new works coming out, hope that you all will support. But I also recommend everyone to check out my other works on YouTube because some of them are not available inside the wall of China,” the Johor-born singer continued.
Upon seeing the new rendition of “Stranger in the North” on the rap competition, Namewee shared the story behind the creation of the song in a lengthy Facebook post as many started to compare the 2 versions.
“When I was discussing about the song with Leehom, we understood that it was very personal as it was about one’s hardships in life, which is why when we sang the rap or the hook part, we decided not to overdo it as it comes from the heart. This is something we both agree on as we share the same feelings towards the song,” Namewee expressed.
“What I’m trying to say is, if I want Leehom to turn this song into R&B, using his real and falsetto voice in the chorus, I’m sure it’s going to be a piece of cake for him. If you want me to rap the song in a cool and vigorous way, I don’t think that’s a problem for me. But we both didn’t do that, because the song is ‘Stranger in the North’.”
“Also, I don’t think the new rendition was bad, as a matter of fact, I am glad that this song finally reaches the north after being released for more than a year. Thank you Rama Liu from ‘The Rap of China’ for the creative rendition,” Namewee added.