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Politics & Policy

Restaurant owner fed-up with San Francisco crime slams ‘phony ass’ mayor in rap

A man raps outside of a restaurant called Kung Food with people in the background.
San Francisco rapper Chino Yang, who owns the restaurant Kung Food in the city's Alamo Square neighborhood, released an English-language song that criticizes Mayor London Breed. | Source: Courtesy Chino Yang

A Chinese American rap star who grew up in San Francisco has decided to weigh in on local politics using his music.

Chino Yang, 35, is known in the Chinese-speaking world for his appearance on the highly popular talent show The Rap of China (中国新说唱). This month, though, he released a song in English called “San Francisco Our Home,” which criticizes City Hall for failing to restore public safety and solve the street crisis.

The video for "San Francisco Our Home" includes pointed lyrics aimed at the city's political establishment.

In particular, he fires shots at Mayor London Breed and the city's leadership, calling them “crooked politicians” and “phony-ass liberals” in the lyrics.

“Now throw your two middle fingers up to the mayor,” the track goes. “London Breed, you ain’t nothing but a clown. / When we really needed you, you ain’t never been around.” 

The Mayor’s Office couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Yang, also known as Andy Yang or Xiao Chuan Yang (杨晓川), was born in China and moved to San Francisco when he was a teenager. He was a contestant on The Rap of China in 2018 and has participated in multiple other Chinese singing talent shows. He has about 320,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese social media app.

Yang also runs the Kung Food restaurant in the Alamo Square area. He told both the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily and KRON4 TV earlier this year that Kung Food was a frequent burglary target.

From its origins in the Bronx in the 1970s and throughout its history, hip-hop has been associated with resistance to unjust authority, frequently calling out police violence against Black Americans and other marginalized groups. So a diss track holding City Hall to account for a surge in crime is comparatively unusual.

In a WeChat message, Yang told The Standard that he’s not trying to get more fame or media coverage, but simply speaking up for the city’s Asian community.

A man pours out liquor in front of Richmond Market.
In the video for "San Francisco Our Home," Chino Yang pours out a Topo Chico to honor Yohannes “John” Tewolde, who died following a robbery at a San Francisco market. | Source: Courtesy Chino Yang

In the music video for “San Francisco Our Home,” Yang wears a hoodie printed with "Stop Asian Hate," and the video features clips of high-profile crime victims in the Bay Area, many of them Asian American. Among them are the 91-year-old man being shoved to the ground in Oakland’s Chinatown; the death of 84-year-old Grandpa Vicha; the attack on 84-year-old Rongxin Liao; the fatal freeway shooting of Chinese toddler Jasper Wu; the assault on Grandma Xie who was captured on video that she tried to fight her attacker; and the killing of shopkeeper Yohannes “John” Tewolde at the Richmond Market.

Notably, at the end of “San Francisco Our Home,” Yang evokes Scott McKenzie’s famous 1960s folk song “San Francisco,” changing its lyrics about wearing flowers in your hair to “If you are going to San Francisco / Make sure to leave nothing in your car.”