Warner Music Group has unveiled a new Asian label based in Hong Kong, Asiatic Records, which will focus on signing hip-hop and rap talent across the region, with a special emphasis on supporting female artists in the region.
While WMG has launched country-specific hip-hop labels in the past, the new label is the first Warner imprint to have as its mission the creation of “truly cross-Asian — and worldwide — superstars in the genre,” the company says in a press release.
Rival music companies have also established hip-hop-focused labels in Asia in recent years. In 2019, Universal launched Def Jam South East Asia, which is based in Singapore and has teams in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. That year UMG also started Mass Appeal India with New York-based Mass Appeal, to focus on India’s thriving hip-hop scene.
Warner says it plans for Asiatic to “lean heavily into supporting female artists,” noting what it sees as an underrepresentation in recorded music of female talent from Asia working in the hip-hop genre.
“The label will seek to provide a home for these artists, and a platform for them to reach the widest audience possible,” the label says.
Asiatic’s first signing is Indonesian artist RAMENGVRL (real name: Putri Estiani), who just released the singles “I’m Ugly” and “Ain’t No MF Like Me” featuring pH-1 on the new imprint. The Jakarta native released her debut studio album, Can’t Speak English, in 2020 on Empire, and won Hip-Hop Song of the Year in 2018 and 2019 at the Anugerah Musik Indonesia Awards for “Decide” and “Ca$hmere,” respectively. Forbes Indonesia also featured her in its latest “30-Under-30” edition.
“She is just one example of the cutting-edge, multi-lingual artists breaking out in the region,” says David Stouck, vp A&R Asia, Warner Music. “We really see an opportunity at Asiatic to amplify top-tier talent from across Asia and to provide a launchpad for their worldwide success.”
In a statement, RAMENGVRL says that “making it in Indonesia with music that defies conservative views is one crazy accomplishment. Now with Warner Music’s support, I’m ready to make my mark across the rest of Asia, and beyond. I’m so glad that the team at Asiatic Records is fully in line with this vision and my unapologetic f-what you think style.”