Korean-American Rap Duo Drops Shocking Music Video “Viral” On Contagious Racism

The music video is gut-wrenching

Year of the Ox, an LA-based Korean-American rap duo comprised of Lyricks (Rick Lee) and JL (John Lee), recently came out with a music video called “Viral”. The message of the song revolves around the rise in xenophobia and contagious racism that Asians have been struggling with since the coronavirus outbreak began spreading worldwide.

The duo, who work under Transparent Arts, originally released the video on NextShark, along with a commentary on their thought process while making the film. The video features numerous real-life clips of racist attacks that people have instigated over the last couple of months, as well as heart-wrenching footage from the residents of Wuhan during the middle of the pandemic.

This was what their original message behind the music video stated:

During times of uncertainty and fear, it is human nature to point fingers and look for others to blame. This global situation doesn’t only reveal the true nature of our character, but also the hatred towards one another that’s been hidden all throughout. After countless stories of discrimination, assaults and xenophobia all across the world, we felt that it was time we spoke up for the voiceless. ‘VIRAL’ is not a track for only Asian Americans, this is a message that needs to be heard by everybody right now. Keep your heads high, hands clean, and hearts pure. Love y’all #OXGANG

— Year of the Ox

The duo also sat down for an interview with Wong Fu Production‘s Phillip Wang, where they answered questions about their thought process behind the track.

While they said that the process of writing the lyrics itself wasn’t difficult, it was mentally straining to compile the clips of the attacks together to make the music video. Nevertheless, they thought it was important that the message was spoken, so they persisted.

We didn’t want to put on the cape and be like ‘Ok we gotta be the superheroes and talk,’ but, we had to speak for the voiceless. We had to do something where [we] not only protect our people — our brothers and sisters — but also bring awareness and another perspective.

— Year of the Ox

The interview also brings up how children might be affected by the increase in xenophobic attacks, either from experiencing them personally or seeing them in the media, and how it could lead to self-loathing and anger.

We could’ve easily ended the track by saying, ‘We will retaliate on others.’ But we wanted to let people know that this is like a preventive measure. Let’s stop doing this because we don’t want our youth to hurt themselves or feel so low about themselves. It’s going to affect them forever. Our hearts went out to the young kids right now because we can’t even imagine.

— Year of the Ox

Their closing statement on what they want people to get out of their video is simple but profound, and they also mention the impact that they’ve already seen on people that have watched the film.

We gotta find a way to bring people closer. Love is really gonna help us get over this — this hatred and this anger that’s coming out of ignorance and fear. There are people that are coming clean [about their own past prejudices]. For them to really self-reflect and not feel threatened and not feel disrespected and then to leave a comment [saying], ‘You know, I too, was messed up back then,’ that to me is progress.”

— Year of the Ox

If you’d like to watch the music video, as well as their interview with Wong Fu Productions, you can check them out here: