Chinese Medicine In Hip-Hop Music


The Wu Tang Clan are one of many artists drawing reference to Chinese Medicine, Taoism and Shamanism in their lyrics. The Rza’s book, The Tao of Wu, pays deep homage to the parallels of Shaolin Monks in training to be warriors, with African American males fighting for their lives (and empowerment) in the ghettos of NYC.

The Rza talks about Inner Taoism, moving the 5 elements wood, fire, water, metal and earth with your mind to remedy the heat excesses or deficiencies in one’s organs. These concepts are foreign to Westerner’s, but throughout Asian countries (from China, to India, to Iran), people refer to raw salad as ‘cold’, and chocolate as ‘hot’. Later down the line we’ll examine how these compare to acid and alkaline in modern nutritional language.

The Eat Yourself to Health course led by Kat at Tiger Boe is a masterclass of these schools of thought, plus ways to implement it into our daily diets. The 5 Elements of Chinese Medicine, as practised here, are in sync with the solar system, the zodiac, organ health and the bodily fluids that we have. The reason dairy is rarely consumed in the East is because thousands of years ago it was declared to cause Toxic Phlegm, or cancer.

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Many hip hop artists are vocal about their highly nourishing diets, vegan and otherwise. Hip hop as an art form is big into Kung-Fu imagery.

Just check out this excerpt from an essay by the Bishop Chronicles:

“In the early era of Hip-Hop the teens and young adults gave themselves titles like Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster D and so on. It is still unclear if these were names that were inspired more by Kung-Fu films, or chess, but something new was happening.

Rap crews named themselves the Wu-Tang Clan and DJ’s like Mixmaster Ice (of U.T.F.O. towering on stage above the rappers in a ninja outfit. It was all very hard to ignore, and hypnotic to almost anyone who saw it. Other Hip-Hop artists out there notable for showing an influence of martial arts philosophy and culture include Andre Nickatina, Jeru The Damaja, Afu-Ra, DJ Q-Bert and Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike.

The logo for revolutionary rap group Dead Prez is the I-Ching. The I-Ching (The Book of Changes) is an ancient divination text going back to 1000 BC. It is a book of various symbols that have rich meaning and various interpretations. The Dead Prez logo is of hexagram, shi, meaning “Leader” or “the army”. Each hexagram is composed of “inner” and “outer” trigrams. The inner trigram represents water and the outer represents earth.”

I Ching Dead Prez

The Healing Meditation we have at Tiger Boe is a discovery of your spirit animal, an insight on Chinese Shamanism, and Inner Alchemy... Is is hugely popular day-long course that we do at least once a year.

Contact Us to ask more questions about what we do here, and how Chinese Medicine might help you.

We hope you’re inspired to find out more about the connection of Chinese culture and Hip Hop... This is a theme we will revisit!

Tiger Boe.