The US ambassador to Vietnam has released a rap video that has set the local internet alight
Released on Monday (local time), Daniel Kritenbrink’s flow has elicited equals parts admiration and cringing from those who’ve watched it.
While some may say don’t quit your day job, that is precisely what Mr Kritenbirk is doing, as he nears the end of his posting in Hanoi.
He has used the video to send his best wishes to families across the nation as they get ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam.
“I’m from Nebraska. I’m not a big city boy,” raps Mr Kritenbrink in the song, released on the US embassy in Hanoi’s Facebook group. “Then three years ago I moved to Hanoi.”
The clip begins with a phone call showing Mr Kritenbrink eager to take part in the second season of Rap Viet, a popular TV talent show for Vietnamese rappers.
Mr Kritenbrink collaborates with local rap star Wowy, who rose to prominence in 2006 with pioneering rap group SouthGanZ.
The dynamic duo walks by cultural landmarks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, thrashing out lyrics and working on rhymes.
The video, which showcases Vietnam’s charms, features Mr Kritenbrink leaping out of a public bus and firing off lines about the coming festival.
“Check the calendar, Tet is coming soon / Can Tho and Danang are in the mood.”
He sips tea, walk the streets with an entourage and intermittently checks a sheet of paper that appears to contain the lyrics.
Ms Kritenbrink has been the US ambassador to the country since 2017 and has also served as senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
The words to the song, a mixture of English and Vietnamese, urge the locals to “get ready to party from Hà Giang to Cà Mau” and “Clean the house now, friends are on the way.”
It’s no rapper’s delight, but it does rhyme.
Reactions to the performance were mixed but the sentiment was largely appreciated.
“It gets beyond the typical stiff diplomatic ceremonies and meetings and comes across to the young people and all Vietnamese,” reads one response on Facebook.
“Nicely done, Amb. Kritenbrink! Your appreciation of the people and culture of Vietnam shines through,” writes another user.
Other commenters weren’t so kind.
“Undeniably the worst thing that the US has done to Viet Nam,” lamented one responder, tongue hopefully in cheek.
“Hello fellow kids,” mocked a critic on Twitter, where the judgements weren’t as generous.
The exhortation to enjoy the new year celebrations come despite strict measure to maintain Vietnam’s efforts to stay on top of the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has limited its tally to a low 1,850 cases and 35 deaths, courtesy of mass testing and strict quarantine measures.
Schools in 22 provinces have been closed ahead of the lunar new year holiday, while the governing Communist party wound down a congress early on Monday following the detection of a new cluster of cases in northern areas.