‘Your boy in Hanoi’: US ambassador to Vietnam rings in the Lunar New Year with ‘remarkable’ rap song

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U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, a career official who was appointed to his current post by former President Donald Trump in 2017, thinks he’s a rapper.

Though whether or not he’s a good rapper is for you to decide.


As part of an outreach effort, “Your Boy in Hanoi,” as he calls himself, released an officially approved rap music video in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year.

“The Lunar New Year, known locally at Tet, is the most important annual holiday for Vietnamese and is centred around family gatherings, which will be more modest this year amid the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the Daily Mail. “It also has enormous significance in relations between Washington and Hanoi, as North Vietnam launched what became known as the ‘Tet offensive’ over the holiday in 1968, catching the US-backed southern Saigon government unawares.”

Watch the homeboy’s rap video below:

The lyrics, which are comprised primarily in English, though Kritenbrink and his hype man sprinkled in some Vietnamese as well, can be read below:

Time for introductions are at hand,
Hi, my name is Dan,
I’m from Nebraska, I’m not a big city boy,
Then three years ago, I moved to Hanoi,
Check the calendar, Tet is coming soon,
Cần Thơ and Da Nang are in the mood,
Xuan xuan oi xuan da ve,
Clean the house now, friends are on the way,
Cash for the kids, blessings for the family,
Love for my parents, and everyone around me,
Nam moi binh an from mine to yours,
From my shores to your shores, our friendship endures,
U.S. and Vietnam from now to forever,
We’re trusted partners prospering together,
Chuc mung nam moi from your boy in Hanoi,
Chuc mung nam moi spread the joy,
Chuc mung nam moi khap moi noi,
Tet Tet Tet, Tet den roiiiiii!

The clip concludes with Kritenbrink submitting his music video to Binz, a Vietnamese rapper who serves as a coach on the American Idol-styled reality TV show, “Rap Viet.”

See a clip from the popular Vietnamese reality show below:

As for Kritenbrink’s video, the sentiment was appreciated by some.

“The song includes several nods to holiday traditions including cleaning the house and buying cherry or peach blossoms and features Kritenbrink with a duster, rapping: ‘Clean the house now, friends are on the way,'” according to the Daily Mail. “The three-minute video, produced by culture magazine Vietcetera, has been viewed, liked and shared thousands of times since it was uploaded on Tuesday. Most praised it as ‘lovely’ or ‘fun.'”

But not everybody, because there always gon’ be hataz, mayne.

Look:

The United Nations, for its part, liked the track.

“Dan realizes that people-to-people cultural diplomacy to engage young people is as important in Vietnam as formal diplomacy, particularly for the U.S. given its history here,” U.N. Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra said to The Washington Post.

That kind of sounded like a diss of the United States though, didn’t it? What’s REALLY hood!?

Nevertheless, Malhotra appreciated that the song showed sensitivity to Vietnam’s Tet traditions.

The song “must have brought much-needed smiles and warmth to many Vietnamese faces,” he said to the Post.

Fair enough.

“Your Boy in Hanoi”

Former President Trump appointed Kritenbrink to his post in the summer of 2017 because of his extensive experience in the region.

“Kritenbrink has deep experience in east Asian affairs including service for the past two years as the senior officer for Asia and Pacific on the National Security Council,” retired veteran diplomat David Brown told the Vietnamese newspaper VnExpress at the time.

“His intimate knowledge of the foreign policy ‘process’ and close relationships with other senior Asia hands will be a key to Kritenbrink’s effectiveness in Hanoi.”

And his rap skills, of course!

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Vivek Saxena

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