Most fans of Genshin Impact agree that Hu Tao should stick to writing poetry after her embarrassing rap performance during the new game. Lantern Rite Event (opens in new tab).
Genshin Impact celebrates the Chinese New Year with the return of its annual Lantern Rite event. Like many limited-time events in the game, Lantern Rite is an opportunity to learn more about the culture of the world and its characters. It’s kind of a side quest where you interact with your favorite characters and watch them interact with each other.
Hu Tao, a fan favorite pyro-goth girl who is also the director of a funeral home and a poet, apparently thinks she can rap. She joins Xinyan, another pyro girl who is a literal rock star, to perform “The Blaze Lilies” in front of a crowd of people. Playing her signature electric guitar, Xinyan sings the beginning of a quintessential rock song, then Hu Tao starts rapping in a way that can only be described as a lyrical trainwreck.
“Lead your way,” she raps as the camera pans around her, “To the afterlife / Open the path without fear. Oh!” The gap between her lyrics and the beat gets smaller as the song quickly builds towards the end, but no matter how many times I watch it, it never sounds right. Hu Tao raps like someone who has only heard a description of rap and not an actual rap song.
Genshin Impact fans for the most part agree (opens in new tab). No one can say whether the English dub suffers from poor localization of the original Chinese lyrics (Hoyoverse is based in China), the voice direction or the editing of the vocals.
“Hu Tao has hidden talent 🔥🔥 She should keep it hidden 💯,” one YouTube user wrote on a clamp (opens in new tab) of Hu Tao’s disastrous rap segment.
The video has over 700 comments, many of which are people exclaiming in caps and emojis how bad the rap is. “No autotune, no mixing, JUST STRAIGHT ASS🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥She’s taking over 2023 😤😤,” Greek (opens in new tab) wrote.
“THIS SHIT GOES HARD AT 3:09 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥,” jierong (opens in new tab) wrote about the video, which is three minutes and eight seconds long.
What if the reason NL Hu Tao rap is so bad is that every time someone DIE listening to it, they get more customers in the Funeral Parlour. pic.twitter.com/BoRrAzql4nJanuary 22, 2023
On Twitter, people compare Hu Tao’s English rap to the popular VTuber streamer and rapper Mori Calliope (opens in new tab). The comparison is a bit mean: Hu Tao’s voice actress probably had nothing to do with writing the lyrics like Calliope does, but I can see where people are coming from. Calliope’s music isn’t really my cup of tea and Hu Tao’s rap has a similar vibe.
Mori Calliope when she hears Hu Tao rap https://t.co/2VIcgd5gWW pic.twitter.com/qMLoL93OhRJanuary 21, 2023
do NOT give hu tao the aux (they got her so dirty) pic.twitter.com/yycW1e8dqiJanuary 21, 2023
Reddit user alien 9 (opens in new tab) squeezed her verse together to try and make it less of a rhythmic sin, but it doesn’t fix the cadence of the lyrics. “To the Afterlife” is so jam-packed with syllables that, even when sped up, it clashes with the melody. And that’s besides the fact that the actual words she raps are hackneyed.
If Hu Tao’s terrible rap proves anything, it’s that song localization extremely hard (opens in new tab). And I’m sure as a voice actor it’s even harder when you have to rap to a beat that wasn’t written for your language. Genshin Impact is already having trouble localizing the Chinese script correctly to other languages, especially English. Characters adhere anime stereotypes (opens in new tab) and losing the nuance in Chinese writing, which has been a constant point of it dispute (opens in new tab) for enthusiasts.
The Chinese version of the rap sounds better, but so do the Japanese and Korean versions, which is why some believe it’s a failure to properly edit her vocals for the track for the English dub.
Hu Tao’s English voice actress, Brianna Knickerbocker, recently covered a fan song (opens in new tab) the way she and the rap verse sound in it, at least in time with the beat. She can indeed rap if the English actually fits the song.
However, one bad performance will not tarnish Hu Tao or Genshin Impact fans. When she’s not trying to rap, she’s one solid pyro pick (opens in new tab) for your team comp. In addition, the game already has one excellent soundtrack (opens in new tab)and you can listen to it anytime to try and forget what happened at this year’s Lantern Rite event.