Take 5: Adrian Blackstock on VaChina and Desert Island Discs

By Matthew Bossons, January 17, 2017

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Every month, Take 5 sees a PRD resident answer five questions on whatever our editors feel like asking.

A rocker, hip-hopper and just all-round cool guy, Adrian Blackstock is a key part of Shenzhen’s growing art scene. Originally hailing from Danville, Virginia, Blackstock is a major player in a number of the city’s notable musical acts – one of which we chatted with him about this month:

What brought you to China?
In America, I studied Wing Chun, and philosophers like Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu and Confucius. I also got really big into Shaw Brothers Kung Fu films after reading the RZA’s books Tao of Wu. I came to China to be a teacher but I started playing music at an open mic audition at Rapscallions with Rue and Jon, and it’s all history from there.

What made you pick the name VaChina for your most recent musical project?
VaChina is a combination of dope musical styling’s from traditional Chinese music and Southern VA hip-hop and soul sounds, where I’m from, but it’s also about honoring where we all come from, loving and respecting one another, and especially women.

What sets Shenzhen’s music scene apart from Guangzhou’s?
Shenzhen’s music scene grew as the city did, from nothing, and Guangzhou has been established for a while and lots of big acts come through Guangzhou and that’s only been happening for the past five years here [in Shenzhen].

Three desert island discs (albums)?
If I was deserted on an island and I only had three albums they’d be Wu Tang Clan’s Return of the 36th Chambers, James Brown’s Live at the Apollo and College Dropout by Kanye West.

If you could open for any major act, which would it be?
Kanye – I love his sound. He’s one of my biggest inspirations.

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