Who is MC HotDog, GMA Winner, Father of Taiwanese Hip Hop and Dedicated Family Man?

MC HotDog, a dominant figure in Asia’s hip-hop scene, recently clinched accolades at the 35th Golden Melody Awards, where he was named as Best Mandarin Male Singer and Best Lyricist. His earlier GMA success came 17 years earlier at the 18th Golden Melody Awards with “Wake Up,” winning Best Mandarin Album.

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MC HotDog whose real name is Yao Zhongren, is celebrated for his raw, unfiltered lyrics and his role in pioneering new sounds and styles within Taiwanese hip-hop.

After two decades in the business he has earned the nickname “Father of Taiwanese Hip-Hop” and says he has witnessed the genre evolve. “When I started doing hip-hop, it was really a niche genre,” he told Variety. “It has been developing for twenty years now, and while I can’t say how popular it is in Taiwan today, it’s definitely not niche anymore.”

His latest album, “Disgusted Artist,” is one that makes him proud. “For me, the greatest significance lies in the awesomeness of my album ‘Disgusted Artist.’ it has the power to move people and embodies true quality,” he said without guile.

He was an early advocate of rap’s crossover potential in Taiwan. “Defying early naysayers, he demonstrated conclusively that rap music could have mainstream appeal in Taiwan,” Meredith Schweig, the author of “Renegade Rhymes: Rap Music, Narrative, and Knowledge in Taiwan,” told Variety. “His sound has continuously evolved as he’s matured, both as an individual and as an artist, providing a compelling model for career development and longevity to younger generations.”

MC HotDog’s influence extends beyond his own music. The rapper has played a pivotal role in nurturing emerging talents, through mentoring and involvement in local contests and televised reality shows with wide viewership.

“Today, more young people are making this kind of music themselves,” he says. “I am very happy to see more and more rappers and their works. Everyone has different styles, creating a sense of a hundred schools of thought contending. Because Taiwan is small, it’s easy for everyone to know each other, making us relatively more united.”

And, contrasting with the less wholesome behavior of some overseas artists, MC HotDog is a dedicated family man. “Of course, I was very happy and excited [about the GMA wins], but the next day after waking up from my celebration hangover, I felt quite calm. Maybe it’s because there are too many things to do in life, especially since the kids are now starting their summer vacation.”

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