Fast forward to 2018 and popular Thai talent show “The Rapper” racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube in its first season.
That same year a collective of underground artists known as R.A.D. — or Rap Against Dictatorship — released searing verses criticizing the country’s military that drew well over 60 million views on YouTube.
Fan Pornchai Puthinarabul, who attended a recent DaBoyWay show, credits his “idol” for the genre’s growth in Thailand.
“He’s opened a market for us Thais,” Pornchai told AFP before re-joining concert-goers jammed into a popular Bangkok bar.
Asia’s dominant music-streaming platforms like Tencent-owned JOOX have been swift to take notice.
In 2020 its user base reached 290 million in Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, according to company data.
Hip-hop became the second most popular genre, after pop, on JOOX in Thailand late last year.