China’s Hottest New Song Is a Rap About Noodles
The latest hit song from Chinese Canadian pop idol Kris Wu is a self-deprecating — and incredibly catchy — riff on a previous impromptu rap he performed for noodle shop patrons that ended up being widely mocked by netizens. Since its release Friday, the music video for “Big Bowl, Thick Noodle” has been viewed over 90 million times on streaming site Miaopai.
The noodle shop freestyle, part of a variety show episode that aired in 2017, quickly drew attention for its confounding, literal lyrics: “Look at the noodle, it’s long and thick — just like the bowl, which is big and round.” A deluge of snarky memes poking fun at Wu soon followed.
This year, however, Wu opted to get in on the joke himself.
“I never believed the bowl could make you happy, but that was my intention, so maybe it’s God’s will,” read the superimposed lyrics in the recent video, which features a disembodied mouth singing to cute, anthropomorphized ingredients standing in a bowl of noodles. Near the end of the video, even Wu — depicted as a legendary Chinese swordsman — finds himself inside the bowl among the beatific veggies, his hands in the air like he just don’t care.
As a former member of wildly popular K-pop group EXO and a judge on the first two seasons of televised singing competition “The Rap of China,” the 28-year-old Wu is no stranger to the spotlight. His two viral catchphrases coined on the reality show — the rhetorical “Do you freestyle?” and the versatile, onomatopoeic “skr” — spawned countless memes in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
On Friday, China’s social media influencers and music industry insiders were quick to show their support for the fresh-faced rapper’s latest track. “This song is truly great, and Kris is a real man,” Wang Sicong, the billionaire heir to the Wanda Group real estate empire, wrote Friday on microblogging platform Weibo in a post that included the song. And He Jiong, a well-known host on Hunan TV, the network that first aired Wu’s embarrassing improvised noodle rap, wrote simply, “Kris Wu is such an interesting guy.”
The food-centric song seems to have a subliminal effect on some who listen to it. According to data from Chinese food-delivery app Ele.me, over 90,000 bowls of noodles were ordered on the platform Friday, with some customers being especially clear about what had whetted their appetites: Over 3,500 users added the comment “skr” to their orders, while another 1,000 wrote, “Sorry Kris.”
The surging popularity of “Big Bowl, Thick Noodle” has caused frustration for at least one would-be noodle eater. When rapper After Journey — a finalist on the 2017 season of “The Rap of China” — tried to order noodles on Friday, he found the wait time to be much longer than expected.
“This viral song made me hungry by midday,” the rapper wrote in a Weibo post. “But when I called (a restaurant) for some spicy noodles, I was told there were already 60 people in line ahead of me!”
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: Pop idol Kris Wu performs during the 2018 Toutiao Annual Awards Ceremony in Beijing, Dec. 23, 2018. IC)