Saigon-based rapper Suboi has been dubbed “Queen of Hip Hop” in Vietnam. A very brave career choice under a repressive regime where outspoken artists fear upsetting the authorities with their lyrics. Last nigh though, more bravery was required as she was put on the spot by the President of the United States, Barack Obama. During a town hall style meeting between the American President and young Vietnamese people in Ho Chi Minh City, Suboi — real name Hàng Lâm Trang Anh — put her hand up to ask the President his views on the importance of arts and culture to nations.
“Before I answer your question, why don’t you give me a little rap?” Obama replied.
President Obama jokingly started a beatbox where Suboi immediately dropped a few verses, in Vietnamese. “I was just talking about some people having a lot of money, having big houses, but actually, are they really happy?” she explained. The rap was about stereotypes, she said, saying people often see her as “an Asian rapper … the cute girl.” She also added “For Vietnamese people it’s different, they think like rapping is not for women.”
Watch above and watch President Obama’s full speech here.