Hong Kong Rap Pioneer DoughBoy Talks Kanye, Kicks and Karhu

DoughBoy is one of the most recognizable names in Hong Kong’s small but burgeoning hip-hop scene, yet his reputation belies his otherwise quiet demeanor. Growing up primarily in Canada and Singapore, the rapper had created tracks in English before, but it wasn’t until he returned to Hong Kong in 2007 and became a producer for local hitmakers such as MC Jin, Sammi Cheng and Jill Vidal that he became receptive to using Cantonese as a vehicle for artistic expression.

Today, he writes and performs songs that have become the toast of the tight-knit rap community, such as “Chinglish” and “HONG KONG!” We caught up with the trendstarter to learn about his start in the industry, his influences, and his new fascination with Karhu sneakers.

Hey DoughBoy! Could you tell us yourself and how did you start rapping?

Hi I’m DoughBoy, I’m a music producer and rapper. At first I liked this music but I was shy and didn’t want to perform, so I chose to stay behind-the-scenes, like helping people to produce songs. It was only in the past two years that I realized that I might not be able to express myself as much as I wanted by being a producer, so I decided to become a rapper.

When I helped others producing songs, there would always be some tunes that they didn’t want. I thought, this stuff is great, why let it go to waste? The only way to save it was if I performed it myself.

What do you think about Hong Kong’s hip-hop scene?

I think a few years ago, between 2009 and 2011, it was going strong, and then it died down for a while. I think it’s picking up again recently. Now there’s more people listening to hip-hop.

Have you been watching [Chinese rap talent show] The Rap of China?

Yeah I’ve been watching it. I think it’s pretty good because I know a lot of the contestants. It’s kind of weird, seeing my friends on that show, but I think the programme is great. The organizers asked me to join the show many times, but I can only speak Mandarin, not rap in it. I’m scared that I won’t have anything for the freestyle portions, so I refused once I realized I had to do these things. It’s kind of awkward too, rapping towards a panel of judges. I know what the beginning of the show will be like, because they told me about it. I was a bit reluctant so I ended up not doing it.

Who is your favorite rapper?

Umm… I quite like Kanye West. He’s not only involved in rap or fashion, he’s tried everything. He’s been setting trends for over a decade now. It’s not easy to achieve that big of an impact. He was one of the first rappers to wear Karhu, and that has set off a trend for chunky sneakers.

Would you say he’s one of your inspirations?

Anyone who’s involved in pop culture in the past ten years has definitely been inspired by him in some way. I’m sure you guys have been influenced by him too. You can’t not like him [chuckles].

How would you define your style?

In terms of fashion, I like to wear clothes without branding, and clothes that are “ugly” in most people’s eyes. I like shopping for vintage clothes. I think as long as you’re daring enough to wear “ugly” stuff outside, you can make it trendy.

Your red "1113" stock trader’s vest looks cool, where did you get it?

We actually made that vest ourselves, because we have a song that’s called “Lee Ka-Shing.” The music video is coming out tomorrow. I wanted to create a song around the subject of the stock exchange, so we made the vest for fun.

Do you usually collect sneakers?

I like wearing vintage clothes, so I’m looking for sneakers that aren’t too modern in their design too. The shoes can be new, but I like retro models. Karhu is going for the hiking aesthetic and blending modern elements with a classic silhouette, so it matches vintage items like plaid shirts or gold-rimmed glasses.

Check out the cool shots of DoughBoy rocking the Karhu’s Fall 2017 “Outdoor Pack II” below:

Hot on the heels of Karhu’s Fall 2017 “Outdoor Pack II”. Keep your eyes peeled for DoughBoy’s upcoming Instagram giveaway of new colorway of the Fusion 2.0 on our instagram @woawstore.

In the meantime, head on over to our online store to enjoy a 10% discount off Karhu sneakers with the exclusive code: DOUGHBOYXKARHU