Taipei Music Center and American Institute in Taiwan Foster Hip-Hop Diplomacy: Music, Island, Stories Salon Initiates International Dialogue

Taipei Music Center (TMC) and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) recently co-hosted the “Music, Island, Stories Salon” event, inviting five top hip-hop musicians and creators from the U.S. Department of State’s “Next Level Taiwan Hip Hop Exchange Program” to share their creative journeys. Nearly 100 music creators and industry professionals attended, engaging closely in discussions. AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk also attended, demonstrating support for this Taiwan-U.S. hip-hop cultural exchange initiative.


The “Music, Island, Stories Salon” series invites musicians from various fields to share their creative ideas, offering diverse perspectives on Taiwan’s pop music. Following the hip-hop theme in early 2024, the second season extended its reach to the birthplace of hip-hop culture—the United States. This collaboration with AIT elevates the forum to a new level of internationalization.

The event began with performances by the five American hip-hop artists, showcasing rap, DJ, dance, and other elements of hip-hop culture. The audience enthusiastically engaged with the music and dance, creating a vibrant atmosphere for the forum.


TMC Chairperson Kay Huang emphasized the importance of international exchange as a core mission of TMC. Following the launch of TMC’s first overseas exhibition at the University of Washington in Seattle, TMC collaborated with AIT to invite the host and five artists from the U.S. Department of State’s “Next Level Taiwan Hip Hop Exchange Program” to visit TMC. This also marks the first time the program has visited Taiwan since its inception ten years ago. Chairperson Huang expressed special gratitude to Director Oudkirk for her presence, adding significance to this hip-hop cultural exchange. As one of Taiwan’s premier pop music centers, the cooperation between TMC and AIT reflects the shared vision in promoting artistic exchange and deepening cultural ties. This collaboration is expected to lead to deeper Taiwan-U.S. cooperation and strengthened cultural ties in the future.


During her remarks, Chairperson Huang also introduced Nisan, founder of Mandala Works and a pioneer of hip-hop culture in Taiwan, and Jutoupi, known as the “first person of Taiwanese hip-hop.” She extended her heartfelt appreciation to the Next Level artists for sharing their hip-hop culture in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere, transcending language and cultural barriers.


During the dialogue session, rapper Rah Digga, DJ Rugged One, dancer Dez, graffiti artist Jurne, and stage manager Phes shared their life experiences and artistic pursuits. They discussed how the hip-hop spirit shaped their outlook on life, emphasizing the importance of continual learning and self-challenge in creative endeavors.


Taipei Music Center (TMC) remains committed to promoting international exchange and bringing Taiwanese pop music to the global stage. Since 2022, TMC has collaborated with RUR Architecture in New York on the “Lyrical Urbanism” exhibition, signed a MOU with the French Office in Taipei for the “Taiwan-France Music Creation Camp,” and participated in an artist exchange program with the “Busan International Rock Festival” in South Korea. This year, TMC launched “MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!” to the University of Washington in Seattle. The team also visited Seattle’s renowned Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) and KEXP, laying the groundwork for future collaborations. These transnational exchanges not only showcase Taiwan’s abundant creative energy but also create more opportunities for Taiwanese musicians to establish themselves internationally. Looking ahead, TMC will continue to support world-class international performances and actively assist Taiwanese musicians in participating in overseas opportunities, allowing Taiwanese music to shine on the world stage.