Su Qinglan couldn’t tell that Yin Suli was actually doubting his ability.
He nodded happily, “I practice melodic rap more, especially of the R&B genre, but I also listen to just rap alone.”

Yin Suli raised her brows.
“Such as?”

Su Qinglan thought about it carefully for a moment, then answered, “Many, but I often listen to Eric B nowadays.”

This caught Yin Suli’s interest.
She was a little curious to see if this little curly ball was like the previous batch of trainees who pretended to know things they didn’t, or if he indeed had some ability.

She tapped her ballpoint pen in her hand on the table twice.
“Can you freestyle? If yes, let’s listen to one verse.”

The trainees sitting on the pyramid-shaped seats couldn’t help but feel nervous for him.
Yin Suli was harsh as she was the rap mentor, and she had already made many people feel embarrassed and ashamed of themselves with her words.
Su Qinglan seems to have a happy-go-lucky type of personality; they didn’t know if he would collapse and not be able to get back up if he was criticized.

Just when everyone thought that he would refuse, Su Qinglan simply raised one hand and grinned, showing his cute canine teeth. 

“Mentors, can you give me a beat? Make it a little louder, thank you!”

Rash, he’s simply too rash.

Yin Suli could tell that Su Qinglan wasn’t nervous.
The mentors granted the request, but the beat given was extremely unfriendly to people who didn’t have any ability. 

The little curly ball, who was constantly all smiles, followed the beat of the music, getting himself familiar with the rhythm.
He looked very relaxed, with not a hint of nervousness in him.

When he started, mentor Yao Cheng who originally didn’t have many expectations was slightly moved.

Yin Suli, who had been mentally preparing herself to listen to some horrifying ear-piercing music, sat up straight instantly after he started rapping his first line.
Her face showed a rare look of astonishment.

She could tell instantly if someone’s rap had a real foundation or if they were just faking it.

Although Su Qinglan looked like a newbie, in reality, not only was he not a newbie, but he was also completely unrelated to that term.

He had a good sense of the beat and could stay on it.
He could switch his flow according to the beat, making every line of his rap end right on the beat and he could even predict what was coming next.
He also made facial expressions that corresponded with the music style and livened up the atmosphere.

The entire studio began vibing with him.
Su Qinglan wasn’t like other trainees who tried their best to rhyme when rapping.
Instead, he effortlessly gave people a sense of ease.
If it had to be described, it just meant that it sounded very soothing.1One line of rhyme and two lines of rhyme.
From what I heard from my Taiwanese friend, the more lines you can rhyme, the higher points you’ll get in shows like SMTM

This was a very difficult thing to do.
There were many great rappers who could rap fast with great enunciation while also having a great stage presence that could make the audience feel hyped after listening to it.
But there was also a problem——they pursued ‘richness’.
It was good to have rich content but overdoing it would make people feel cramped inside.
It was just like having someone behind chasing you, making you go faster and faster.
Although everyone recognized you as a good rapper with great talent, it was still tiring to listen to. 

But for Su Qinglan, it was very clear to others what his personal style was.

It was freedom.

Although there were parts that had a faster tempo, and also parts that had a slow and light rhythm, his rap was distinct, unique, creative, and overall had a good structure. 

Su Qinglan, who had picked up the microphone and started performing, seemed to have become a completely different person.
He emitted a glow that couldn’t be defined with a simple description.
He was shining.

Yin Suli couldn’t help but start to groove to the rhythm, her eyes showing a rare sign of appreciation.

Not bad.
In fact, not only was he not bad but it can also be said that he was extremely good.

 ——He’s enjoying the music. 

Indeed, there were many trainees who worked extremely hard, putting in a lot of time, sweat, and tears.
Of course, they were serious about it as well.
But despite having exceptional abilities and flaws that even a trained eye would have a hard time detecting, they lacked individuality.
They were exactly like an essay with a perfect score——beautiful on the outside but missing a soul on the inside.

Rap originated from the African Americans in New York City.
When they heard the music, they would improvise one line after another following the rhythm.
Their lyrical content didn’t have to be meaningful; it could simply be about how someone had stolen money from them which made them upset, or it could be about how they had met a beautiful girl today, making them feel elated. 

Rap was used to convey emotions and to express oneself.
This kind of creative work had no constraint, no framework tied to it.
There wasn’t anyone who would shackle it.
You can express yourself at will and set yourself free, regardless of the kind of emotions you’re feeling. 

Be it worry, anger, happiness, or sadness, as long as it was something that you wanted to express through the lyrical content of a song, there won’t be a single restriction.
You can be wild and unrestrained or hide your inner self deep within. 

Rap was not limited to only rapping with a fast tempo.
It can even be done in a simple and straightforward manner.
You can slowly tell your story using three minutes of your time.

State what you think, show your attitude, and declare your stand.
It’s up to you to decide if you want it to be simple or full of complexity.
Letting the world hear your pure voice was the right given to every human born in this world.

You’re free.

Rap is free.

Rap isn’t only music; it also represents the fire burning in your soul.

When Su Qinglan finished rapping the last verse, the atmosphere in the entire studio reached a high.

“I misjudged you, that was too cool.”

The lenses were once again, focused on Lu Zhi who had been reacting to each and every trainee earnestly.
He was currently talking to someone beside him with fervor, rapidly shooting out praises.
Even the director himself was utterly convinced that he was a complete chatterbox.
After all, he couldn’t have pretended for so long——

He was too good at talking!

The trainee sitting beside Lu Zhi had been listening to him chattering away for almost three hours.
In the beginning, he was amused and laughed at what he said.
Now, he was already numbed to it, having entered the phase of ‘soul leaving body’. 

Help! Is there anyone who could throw this fella out and make him shut his trap? Even the Tang Monk wasn’t that good at talking when he was alive!2Tang Sanzang

However, the director won’t know what he’s saying in his heart.
He was also embarrassed to tell Lu Zhi to stop talking.
Lu Zhi was a pretty nice person after all.

He’ll just silently recite a scripture.3The scripture mentioned here is a Buddhist scripture referring to the four great elements that make up the universe.
It is believed that these elements came from emptiness, so everything in this world is an illusion.
It is to pursue nothing in life

On the stage, Yin Suli expressed her admiration for the first time, “You’re very talented.
When did you come into contact with rap?”

Yin Suli will soon regret asking this question.

After finishing his performance, Su Qinglan turned into the little cutie with a silly aura again.
He thought about it seriously for a moment before saying, “Middle school, maybe?”

“…That’s not right.” He seemed to have recalled something and continued firmly, “I remember.
My first experience with rap had something to do with you, teacher.”

“Me?” Yin Suli was already used to being flattered.
Mn, that’s right.
She’s the widely-known female rapper who created a new era in rap——

“I heard that teacher’s first rap song was called Love Battle!” Su Qinglan exclaimed.
He had to think long and hard before he could call out the name of the song with confidence.

Yin Suli instantly stiffened: “…”

It had been almost 20 years since someone mentioned this matter.
Yin Suli had been painstakingly avoiding the topic of her dark past, the bubbly and girly raps that she made during her teenage years that made her uncomfortable now.4In Chinese, it means that you unknowingly watched something that made you shocked and uncomfortable

Yin Suli had also been a teenager once, but she absolutely doesn’t want to look back at that time.

It’s still all right if no one mentions it.
Yin Suli debuted so many years ago.
She understood how these kinds of variety show work and how they would edit the shots later——

Right at the moment, Su Qinglan finished saying the last word, a clear view of her history would appear on the screen.
The MV that she dreaded watching would be played repeatedly for at least three times.
It can even be sped up, slowed down, or in a freeze-frame… They may even input words describing her current feelings, the text box on the side having three big words: Ye Qing Hui.5To think of their youth again

Yin Suli was currently full of regret.

Her cool and gorgeous female rapper image stopped a minute ago and Yin Suli was shattered on the spot.

She’s now sure that her purpose in joining this program wasn’t to make money but to endure hardships.

Cui Zhihao, who was beside her, was still holding back a smile.
Lai Yuhan picked up the mic with a smile and began rapping, “I’ll give you a love letter, you’ll gift me a bunch of roses.
We’re a match made in heaven…”

Su Qinglan: “Oh, oh!”

Yin Suli took a deep breath and expressionlessly said, “…Shut up.”

After they had enough of joking around, Yao Chen promptly brought the topic back to Su Qinglan’s performance.
He couldn’t help but sigh, “Your improvisation was really wonderful.
I must say, if this program was solely for rap, I won’t be able to teach you with my standard.”

This one line made the entire studio flustered as soon as it came out.
The trainees that sat on the pyramid-shaped seats made indistinguishable noises.
There was even one sitting in the front row that made a gesture showing that he was utterly convinced, and even shouted out a ‘respect’. 

As a mentor, Yao Chen who made his debut with a boy group had great talent and ability.
Paired with his experience, he was more than qualified to comment on most trainees.
However, every individual has their own specializations.
Yao Chen’s position was in dance after all, and his strength in that was one of the best in the industry.
On the other hand, his rapping skills weren’t as outstanding.
He could only ensure it was good enough to not drag his team down.

He was actually very young.
It’s just that he had debuted early, so he was considered their senior.
Yao Chen had participated in countless big and small programs; he has also seen many different performances with varying standards.
Hence, he was very clear on how brilliant and outstanding Su Qinglan’s rapping was.
It was enough to make him the trainee with the highest number of votes after the first episode was released.

Yao Chen had the face of a 20-year-old, but his thoughts were very mature.
It was natural for the younger generations to surpass the older ones, and he didn’t know when he would be overtaken by them.  

Su Qinglan had no idea of how great his skills were, but he knew Yao Chen had given him a high evaluation.
His eyes shone and the corners of his mouth curved up. 

“Thank you, teachers! However, I want to be a vocalist.”

Yin Suli’s blood pressure which had just gone down started rising again instantly.
She glared in anger, “You little… you’re so good at rapping.
Such a waste of talent for you to be a vocalist.”

Su Qinglan blinked, seemingly confused.
However, he persisted on with great confidence, “But I prefer singing more!”

Yin Suli thought back to the ‘First in Campus Singing Competition’ she saw in the information earlier. 

Could it be that his vocal is better than his rap? She thought unsurely.
That meant that she would have to go up against Lai Yuhan, for he would not let a good seedling go so easily.
This senior who looked refined, cultured, and had a good temper is actually very stubborn.

Lai Yuhan suddenly recalled that Su Qinglan had said he preferred R&B.
He should be able to sing the vocal parts of that song pretty well too.

“You originally prepared a song, right? You can sing first.” Lai Yuhan pushed his glasses up and purposely adjusted his in-ear mic.
He carried high expectations for the song he was about to hear.

“All right.” Su Qinglan was elated the moment he heard he could sing.
The other trainees are quietened down, trying their best to not let other noises affect his performance.

The song started off with a very soothing melody.
Hearing this, the four mentors and the other trainees all felt that the song they were about to hear would definitely be something akin to heaven, enough to wash away all their fatigue.

When everyone’s expectations had reached the peak, Su Qinglan opened his mouth and began.

Lai Yuhan’s expression slowly turned from expectation and shock to stiff and alarmed, then finally settled on bewilderment.

He was slightly doubting life right now.

Yin Suli quickly took off her earpiece.
She didn’t have any specific thoughts; she just wanted another pair of ears that hadn’t heard this song before.

Surprisingly, no one interrupted him, as if they all tacitly agreed to do so.

Once the song was finished, Su Qinglan was extremely happy.
With bright eyes, he asked, “Teachers, how was my singing?”

The four mentors had solemn expressions and appeared listless.
They didn’t know where to start.

Yin Suli questioned weakly, “…Didn’t you say you like singing R&B?!”

Su Qinglan was stunned for a moment, then he scratched his head and replied, “Yes, but they all said I sang badly.”

He was disheartened for a moment, but brightened up again and said energetically, “But I believe I can make it up with hard work.
There will definitely be results from my deep love for it!”

Yin Suli still wanted to debate, “…How did your ‘First in Campus Singing Competition’ come about then?”

Su Qinglan rubbed his curly hair in embarrassment, “The girls in the class said I sounded better after lots of practice.”

Yin Suli looked at his cute and confused face, the face that could make people overflow with motherly love and instantly soften——

All right then.

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