The first breakout star of that scene is rapper Mrs M – real name E.Tamir, also known as Tami – who is gaining increasing international attention with a following in China and, increasingly, the West. As a result, she’s starting to tour overseas and perform in English.
Hip hop so thoroughly permeated Mongolian youth culture in the first place, she says, because it was a rare voice of common sense during a turbulent period.
Despite Mongolia’s reputation overseas as a mostly rural bastion of traditional nomadic culture, it’s actually a highly urbanised country, with about half of its three million people living in Ulaanbaatar. These days its hip hop scene is growing faster, thanks to a newly affluent younger generation in the city, many of whom have worked overseas.
Mrs M got her first breakthrough in 2015 when she appeared on Tsor Gants (“My Only One”) by Lil Thug-E, a well known Ulaanbaatar producer and one of her subsequent regular collaborators. She released her debut album Gentleman in 2016 and a new EP is due soon.
Her single Bang, a lighthearted paean to luxury brands, reached No 1 in Mongolia, and was included on the Vibe Presents: Urban Asia Vol 1 compilation album released by Hong Kong-based label B2 Music (she has also managed by the company’s management arm, B2 Talent.)
Several of her videos have racked up more than a million views on YouTube, not bad considering that until recently she had only recorded in Mongolian.
With her growing international popularity, however, she is about to release her first song in English, Tasty, on May 17. Recorded in Hong Kong, with the video shot in Ulaanbaatar, it was produced by Hong Kong beat maker Silverstrike and mixed by Nastee from Pro Era, the New York hip hop collective that includes the likes of Joey Bada$$ and the late Capital STEEZ. The single will feature on the forthcoming Vibe Presents: Urban Asia Vol 2. She also performed during her visit to Hong Kong, at the Murray Hotel.