Most Genshin Impact fans agree that Hu Tao should stick to writing poetry after her embarrassing rap performance during the game's new Lantern Rite event (opens in new tab).
Genshin Impact is celebrating the Chinese New Year with the return of its annual Lantern Rite event. Like a lot of 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 sort of like a sidequest where you get to hang out with your favorite characters and see 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. Xinyan plays her signature electric guitar and sings the start of a typical rock anthem, and then Hu Tao starts rapping in a way that could only be described as a lyrical train wreck.
"Guidin' your way," she raps as the camera swerves around her, "To the afterlife / Openin' the path without a fright. Oh!" The gap between her lyrics and the beat closes as the song quickly builds to the end, but no matter how many times I watch it, it never sounds good. Hu Tao raps like someone who has only heard a description of rap and not an actual rap song.
Genshin Impact fans largely agree (opens in new tab). Nobody can tell if the English dub suffers from poor localization from 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 💯," a YouTube user wrote on a clip (opens in new tab) of Hu Tao's disastrous rap segment.
The video has over 700 comments, many of which are people exclaiming in all caps and emojis just how bad the rap is. "No autotune, no mixing, JUST STRAIGHT ASS🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥She taking over 2023 😤😤," grix (opens in new tab) wrote.
"THIS SHIT GOES HARD AT 3:09 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥," jierong (opens in new tab) wrote of the video, which is three minutes and eight seconds long.
What if the reason EN Hu Tao rap is that bad is so that every time someone DIES listening to it she gets more clients in the Funeral Parlor. pic.twitter.com/BoRrAzql4nJanuary 22, 2023
On Twitter, people are comparing Hu Tao's English rap to popular VTuber streamer and rapper Mori Calliope (opens in new tab). The comparison is a little mean: Hu Tao's voice actress probably had nothing to do with writing the lyrics to the song like Calliope does, but I can see where people are coming from. Calliope's music isn't really my thing 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 did her so dirty) pic.twitter.com/yycW1e8dqiJanuary 21, 2023
pic.twitter.com/tpvULpFiENJanuary 22, 2023
Reddit user aliencreature9 (opens in new tab) squished her verse together to try to make it less of a rhythmic sin, but it doesn't fix the cadence of the lyrics. "To the afterlife," is so packed with syllables that even when sped up, it clashes with the melody. And that's besides the fact that the actual words she's rapping are corny.
If Hu Tao's awful rap proves anything, it's that localizing songs is extremely hard (opens in new tab). And I'm sure it's even harder as a voice actor when you have to rap to a beat that wasn't written for your language. Genshin Impact already has troubles properly localizing the Chinese writing to other languages, particularly English. Characters adhere to anime stereotypes (opens in new tab) and lose the nuance in the Chinese script, which has been a constant point of contention (opens in new tab) for fans.
The Chinese version of the rap does sound better, but so does the Japanese and Korean versions, which is why some believe it's a failure in properly editing her vocals to the track for the English dub.
Hu Tao's English voice actress, Brianna Knickerbocker recently covered a fan song (opens in new tab) as her and the rap verse in it sounds, at the very least, on time with the beat. She can indeed rap when the English actually fits with the song.
One bad performance isn't going to tarnish Hu Tao or Genshin Impact fans though. When she's not attempting to rap, she's a solid pyro pick (opens in new tab) for your team comp. Plus, the game already has an outstanding soundtrack (opens in new tab), and you can listen to it at any time to try and forget what happened during this year's Lantern Rite event.