‘Bag That Bao’ is the hip-hop anthem dumplings deserve.

By Mike Pomranz
July 05, 2019
Busakorn Pongparnit/Getty Images

In an era where Lil Nas X can make the biggest hit of the year (“Old Town Road,” of course) with a $30 beat he bought online, and then go on to get panini-making lessons from Gordon Ramsay thanks to a tweet, anything is possible in the music world, really. A lot of this madness can be traced back to 2013 when Billboard changed the way their charts were calculated, and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” immediately debuted at number one. (Can you believe it’s been six years since “Harlem Shake”?) All it takes is some solid streams on YouTube and anyone can top the charts!

So with that in mind, why couldn’t the song of the summer be about something as mundane as putting Asian food in a sack? In fact, it seems oddly sensible in the current climate.

So meet “Bag That Bao” by NITEMARKT. With plenty of free time on the Friday after Independence Day, the site Eater turned us on to this wild little 2-minute-35-second banger about bao. We’ve already seen bao crossover into the world of loveable animated character thanks to the Pixar short of the same name. So why can’t they also be the centerpiece of a rap song?

As Eater further explains (I like to leave my hip-hop analysis to other food sites), “Fittingly, the song’s lyrics — delivered in nearly equal parts English and Mandarin — use bao as both imagery and metaphor for staying on the grind, accumulating wealth, moving on up in the world. Bao is what they eat, but it’s also what slews of Chinese immigrants have built their livelihoods on, washing dishes and cooking in restaurants. It’s a song, in Nitemrkt’s words, ‘saluting the culture, confidence, and hustle.’”

Well said. Though on a more superficial level, how can you not simply like lyrics such as “Rockin’ off-white on my apron; we do delivery caterin’” or “Hot pot water look like gumbo; used to struggle now we only order combo”?

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