Chow Mane
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Chow Mane

San Jose, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | INDIE

San Jose, CA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Hip Hop




"Chow Mane Showcases His Growth in "Ever Since""

In a highly under-represented industry, Chow Mane, born Charles Yan, is a Chinese-American rapper ready to take the world by storm. The San Jose native's debut EP Mooncakes has been lauded as a landmark release in the Asian-American hip-hop community for its intimate, honest look into the life of growing up as an Asian-identifying person in America.

Now, Chow Mane is back with the release of "Ever Since" – a more downtempo anthem still wrought with hip-hop influences. However, it is now a significant departure from his earlier releases as an Asian-interest rapper and signifies his entrance into more genre-bending music.

Striking a fine balance between flourishing imagery, ridiculous wordplay, offbeat flows and lively fun, Chow Mane weaves a narrative of relatable characters and cleverly-inserted anecdotes about his family in "Ever Since". The playful and melodic sounds highlight his personality whilst creating an engaging and infectious scene. The video, while not showing his blood family, shows him with his friends, all dancing and having the time of their lives. The psychedelic edits and cuts, help frame the energy Chow Mane brings to the table, and paints him in a laid-back, relatable manner. The experimentation in both his sound and in the visuals, is a testament to his growth as an artist; simplifying ideas so the story is more easily digestible, he has come to elevate his sound and story to new heights.

Speaking on his departure from being known as an Asian-interest rapper, Chow Mane shares: "Mooncakes was thematically about my Asian American experience, and I think it was an important piece of expression. However, since the release I’ve started to feel boxed in as an “Asian rapper” as opposed to an artist with many interests and talents. “Ever Since” is one of the first few songs where I feel like I’m liberating myself from those constraints."

His next project SIMMERING is set to release in early 2019.

Read more at - EARMILK

"Chow Mane's Excellent Far East Trap"

Ask Charles Yan where he comes from and he won’t start with his birth. For him, it all goes back to China’s Cultural Revolution. Yan’s father fled his homeland as Mao Zedong was consolidating power—only to land in Vietnam. When government forces there “repurposed” his home, he and his family fled again, this time by boat to Thailand. Yan’s paternal line ultimately made its way to America with the help of the American Red Cross and finally settled in Seaside, California. Yan was born 1994. During this time, the Yans were supported by a local Catholic church in Pacific Grove that provided what they could for the struggling family.

Hard times like these are the foundation of Yan’s deeply personal, lyrical storytelling.

On the title track of his new EP, Mooncakes—which he recorded under his stage and production name, Chow Mane—Yan revisits the struggles of his childhood.

“It was like eight of us in my grandma house. Dad was sleeping on the floor, my mama on the couch,” Yan passionately raps, recalling how some of his earliest life lessons came from “watching old Chinese dramas and talkin’ bout havin’ honor.”

For those in the know, this lyric is a nod to the song’s twangy sample—a bittersweet melody played on an erhu, a two-stringed bow instrument common in Chinese music. The snippet, which is paired with slouching sub-bass and trilling trap hi-hats comes from the Chinese film, Farewell My Concubine.

“Mooncakes” is a textbook example of Yan’s sensibility and sense of humor. Many of the beats on Mooncakes put distinctly Asian textures front and center, and Yan spices up his flow with allusions to the Chinese-American experience. Still, while Yan wants his heritage to be apparent, the 23-year-old has larger aspirations than capturing the attention of rap fans seeking novelty.

“I want to have people relate to it and then eventually break out to more diverse topics,” Yan says.

Expanding on this point, Yan explains that he sees the music he is making as an opportunity to create meaningful change in the rap world. “There’s this perception of Asian-Americans that’s starting to break away from the stereotypes and I want to be a part of that movement,” he says.

As a student of his own family history—and history in general—Yan is motivated to upend what academics have identified as the Asian erasure. It’s a term that describes popular culture’s portrayal of Asians in an unflattering light, or else ignores them completely. Think of Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson or Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise.

The rap industry doesn’t exactly tout rhymesayers of Asian descent either. American-made myths about Asians have derailed their success in this realm, even as their cumulative experience can easily be fit into hip-hop’s rugged, hardscrabble image. As a first-generation Chinese-American, Yan knows this first hand.

“Growing up in Salinas, I was only one of two or three Asian kids in my school,” says Yan, who split his youth between Monterey County and East Side San Jose. “We used to get made fun of, people called us ‘chinks.’”

UC Berkeley, where Yan studied political economy, was the first place he had been around so many people who shared his cultural identity. “College was a whole new world,” Yan says. “I felt I didn’t have this costume on.”

While in college, Yan produced tracks and experimented with many sounds—from weed rap to comedy tracks—in his dorm room while he pursued his degree. His studies fueled his curiosity and pushed him to dig deeper into his family’s history. The more he realized that he had taken his culture for granted, the more his rhymes were shaped into the cohesive form they take on Mooncakes.

“But I don’t want that to box me in the same way these other [Asian] artists have by their own identity,” Yan says. “I don’t want to do that to myself.”

All of this isn’t to say that Yan doesn’t know how to have fun stunting. Just take his party-starter, “Dumplings”—an ode to his grandmother’s cooking, which closes the Mooncakes EP: “Grandma steaming dumplings up on the stove,” Yan raps, before an overdubbed callback cuts in. “Whip it up, Grandma!”

It’s a funny play on trap music tropes, which proves Yan has a firm grasp on the current hip-hop culture, even as he aims to push it forward. “Vibes and musicality are more important than lyrics,” he says. “I’m trying to find a compromise.” - MetroActive

"Chow Mane Brings Back The Boy Next Door Charm on "Ever Since""

San Jose, California based rapper/producer who goes by the moniker Chow Mane displays a down to Earth personality on his new song “Ever Since”. Lyrically he keeps it light and playful on the track. The track is a slight departure from his previous releases( etc “Mooncakes”). The beat here is mellow and bouncy adding that fun-filled vibe to the entire song.

The visual was shot in the Berkeley Botanical Gardens which boasts one of the biggest selection of greenery from around the globe. This makes for a very organic and surreal aesthetic. - The Word Is Bond

"Chow Mane On Sidestepping Stereotypes And New Video For "Ever Since""

Chow Mane has been rapping “Ever Since” he first heard Tha Carter III.
Chow Mane, who just premiered his new music video through Earmilk, is ready to break out of whatever box he may be put in. “Ever Since” is a bouncy, feel-good, Hip-Hop jam anthem and the video is like a psychedelic journey through a botanical garden. Since his Mooncakes EP, which mainly focused on his experiences as an Asian-American, Chow Mane has been trying to defy the notion that he is nothing more than an “asian rapper.” With this new single and his upcoming project, due out next year, he seems to be doing just that. We got a chance to speak with him about finding his identity and the making of the “Ever Since” video. - Good Music All Day

"Chow Mane Has Hot, Fresh Bars"

Chow Mane- "Mooncakes": Hip Hop is the way we tell stories, it's not simply a genre. Whatever your story is, you can tell it through hip hop. Chow Mane is telling his story, which is one of struggle, come-up, dreams, and nightmares. On his latest release, "Mooncakes," which dropped earlier in October, the Bay Area rapper is claiming his piece of the pie in truly unique style.

There is a bounce in Chow Mane's voice that reflects urgency. His metaphors and his flow are instantly likable. His tape, "Mooncakes" immediately sounds like something that you can put on and vibe out to easily.

The tape starts out with the phenomenal "Mooncakes," the tape's title track. It features a lush beat, filled with crafty Asian-sounding strings and dope drums. Chow Mane tells the story of his family and their struggle. "My dad came from the struggle, they lost it all in the war / The government took the house and they raided out all the drawers / And every one of em looked at the sky, asked why lord? / So I could now take my family where we ain't been before"

"Kamikaze" bumps hard with a spacious and futuristic sounding beats with notes that sound like a lead pipe clanking down a tunnel. On this track, Chow Mane really shows off his lyrical ability, reciting hilarious and creative metaphors and similes. His word-play is top notch on this track.

The club-banger on this thing is "Jackie Chan" which sounds like a dark, dangerous club where villains definitely hang out. The song is insanely catchy and thumps hard out of speakers in the club or the car. "My teeth is so shiny, my sour so sticky / I feel like Chip Skylark I smoke Icky Vicky/ My pack way too loud like Meek Milly / Put me on anything like sweet chili sauce."

That's just good shit!

Chow Mane is leading the way with his impeccable wordplay and it by the sounds of "Mooncakes," he is not stopping anytime soon. Chow Mane is definitely a unique artist coming out of the booming Bay Area, and it'll be interesting to see where he goes in the next couple years. - Man of the Hour


Chinatown - single (2017)

Woah - single w/ Jordan Garrett (2017)

Mooncakes - EP (2017)

Cozy - EP (2017)

Out My Civic - single (2018)

Little Luvin' - EP w/ Menend (2018)

Rare - single w/ Alan Z (2018)

Ever Since - single (2018)

Lighthouse - EP (2018)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Chow Mane, born Charles Yan, is a Chinese American rapper from San Jose, California. His debut EP, Mooncakes, has been considered a landmark release in the Asian American hip-hop community. A string of singles ranging from lo-fi RnB to bouncy trap have solidified Chow as a refreshing, multi-talented artist. His newest project, 'SIMMERING' is set to release early 2019.

Chow's versatility in his sound knows no bounds. His biggest influences include André 3000, Lil Wayne, Curren$y, & Mac Dre, which is reflected in his writing style - a fine balance between flourishing imagery, ridiculous wordplay, offbeat flows, and fun. The sounds in Chow Mane's music range from experimental and playful to moody and melodic, so fans can always expect something fun to jam to.

Band Members