An underground rock group combining traditional Chinese folk music with rock, Slap (耳光乐队) was founded in 1998 in Baoding, Hebei province. As the Chinese title of this song suggests (让牛逼的), the lyrics might take delight in gutteral humor. But they're also quite erudite in the way they reference Chinese myth and idioms, and that's one reason the band has become a mainstay on the music festival circuit where its shows are perhaps surprisingly considered family-friendly affairs.

On a side note, we've actually wanted to cover this song for a long time, and not because of the vulgarity. What makes 让牛逼的 special is that it's probably the most highbrow, lowbrow Chinese song we've ever heard. If you can't pick up on the layered meanings from the audio alone, be sure to view our manually annotated transcript of the lyrics. We've added commentary in the notes fields explaining the double entendres in the more difficult passages, so be sure to enable the notes field in your popups if you haven't yet.

Tip: there's currently a single copy of this song available via Baidu's MP3 search. Grab it while you have the opportunity, since the audio quality is better than you'll get in the live recording captured above.
 said on
March 17, 2011
awesome!

I heard this band before but forgot their name because my chinese was lousy at the time, thanks for helping me find them again!
 said on
March 17, 2011
Yeah. They're a really good live band too. Looks like the video here was setup for recording (everyone sitting down, etc.). Their concerts are usually a lot busier.

 said on
July 12, 2013
Can you give me a hint, how to understand the transition from the literal meaning of 牛逼 which means 'spoke' to 'fuck you' and all the other variations in your translation? If I put the two parts of the words together I come to 'to force an ox' ?? I have no clue to it.

By the way: great song!
 said on
July 16, 2013
@Franek,

It's a long story. 牛 means "cow/bull" and 逼 means "to force". So the second character in the bigram has nothing to do with the meaning of the compound. The proper second character for this is historically 屄, which refers to the female reproductive organs.

The reason for current usage is that when the Chinese government created its first online standard for representing Chinese characters in digital form (GB2312), it deliberately omitted 屄 from the standard. People didn't have any way to type the original character, so resorted to using 逼 as a homophone.

This ended up sticking. People got used to typing 牛逼 and many (most?) these days aren't even aware that the proper character is the much less common 屄. Modern IMEs also default to 牛逼 since that is what people got used to seeing/using.

Best,

--david

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