French hip-hop collective Chinese Man formed in 2004 and are still going strong, having released their latest album, Shikantaza, last year. The album is highlighted by the tracks “Liar” that features Kendra Morris & Dillon Cooper, and “Escape.” The album is said to act as a link between its musical origins and new aspirations. Its title is a term used in the Sōtō school of Japanese Buddhism that can be translated to “just sitting,” making the album an invitation to let go, capture the moment, and find a personal path to enlightenment. Based in Marseille, Chinese Man formed in 2004 and is made up of High Ku, SLY, and Zé Mateo. Influenced primarily by hip-hop and electro, but also incorporating elements of funk, dub, reggae, and jazz, audiences have gravitated to the heavy focus on beats and samples, reminiscent of early dub-heavy Gorillaz, Morcheeba, and DJ Shadow. They spent the mid-2000s launching their own label (Chinese Man Records) and releasing a series of EPs.
High Ku, beatmaker SLY. and MC Youthstar of Chinese Man took a moment during their recent San Francisco tour stop to talk about their latest album, Shikantaza, the differences between using live instrumentation and MCs/rappers at their live shows and more. Check out the interview: