“Get Your Defense Up, It’s Standing Room Only.” – What’s Up, Jungle Party

It’s weird of me to start this report with a line that’d you hear from a coach on the sidelines of a football game (“Get your defense up! Arms up! Elbows out!), and it’s simply because during this show I witnessed fans getting mad at each other due to people “cutting” into open spaces in front of them. After notching hundreds of shows under my belt, I had to share my 2 cents on this. Standing room shows are really an insane game of defensive human Tetris, meaning you have to fight to fill and keep a good spot no matter what. People lose all sense of manners at these shows and you have to be aware that every person there is out to get in front of you, and therefore your defenses must be up. So while I feel sorry for people who lose their spots, if you’re not playing the game right, the fault runs both ways!

But anyway!

We arrive circa 9:40pm, and the Walkerhill Vista Hall is already a madhouse. Tickets are sold out and fans are turned away. The What’s Up Jungle Party has an interesting concept: it’s a Halloween club like party, but it also includes a full concert from the entire Jungle Entertainment line up and other members of The Movement (I’ll dub it “The Cluboncert”). In a last minute change, Epik High is out of the line up and Buga Kingz replaces them. Tablo got married last week to actress Kang HyeJung and they’re on their honeymoon currently. So while Epik fans are greatly disappointed, the line up now looks like a throwback to the 2001 Movement crew (sans Dynamic Duo and YDG), and some fans are looking forward to the journey back in time.

After enduring what was probably the longest hour of trafficking music (music played during seating/placing people), Soul Dive starts the show. I don’t know much about this group other than each member has had their own shine with some of the top hip-hop artists here, but their stage presence reminds me of Far East Movement. They bring a lot of high energy to the stage and get people jumping. Their music, like Far East, is club friendly and fun, but doesn’t fall into the standard autotune Dirty South mimicry that has been abused lately in hip-hop.

LeeSsang is second, and they release a ridiculous onslaught of songs dating back to their first debut. Their set starts with a unique remake of the classic K-hiphop song, “우리 같이 해요 (“Together We’ll Do It),” the very first hit they did with their old crew, Honey Family. The crowd goes wild as they take the crowd forward through time with songs like “Loving You,” “인생은 아름다워 (Life Is Beautiful)”, and of course songs from their newest album, “Hexagonal.” Jungin soon joins the duo and adds her powerful vocals to their set. Jungin has worked with LeeSsang since their fist album and her voice is comparable to a mix of old school Korean folk and raw R&B soul.

Gil is an interesting character in LeeSsang, a real entertainer. In middle of his set, he picked up speakers on stage, threw tons of water bottles to thirsting fans, and during their 3-song encore, said “I need a cigarette… Fuck it,” and lit one up with no regards to the conservative image that most Korean star live by.  I love rule breakers.

Zeebra follows LeeSsang, which is not an easy feat since they delivered a whopping hour long set that hyped up the crowd. For those who don’t know, Zeebra is one of the pioneering hip-hop artists in Japan who started his career circa 1995. He spent some years in the US, so he speaks fluent English and Japanese.  I’m not familiar with Japanese hip-hop, but he sounds similar to old school DMX with a very raspy deep voice and defiant stage presence . He speaks English to the crowd and only a few of the fans are able to understand. He addressed it with this line:

“You know what I like? I like Korean food. Make some noise if you like Korean food *some people respond*… Ya’ll have no idea what the fuck I’m saying, do you?”

The few of us who did understood died laughing, while others laugh just at the sound of the word “fuck.”

Buga Kingz follows with a short set, but member Juvie Train doesn’t leave the stage without leaving an impression. Buga Kingz style of music is closer to the jazzy hip-hop that keeps you chill, but Juvie is sure to keep the crowd laughing with his on stage antics (I’ll explain more later).

As Palo & Bizzy step on to the stage, DT fans become more alert. Soon JK and Tasha, the night’s featured act, will be stepping on stage, but not without Bizzy & Palo delivering a hyped set. The beat to YDG’s “Run,” plays, which is a tease to fans: the song features both Tasha and JK, but Bizzy delivers only his verse and leaves fans yearning.

Gil returns to give the crowd Shany cookies (considerate!)

So after 2 1/2 hours, JK comes out from backstage jamming at first to Michael Jackson’s Beat It. The MJ documentary, “This Is It,” just premiered here, and JK attributes a lot of his stage presence and inspiration from the late star. In line with the theme, JK wears a tie-dye like vest that screams 80s.

JK is sure to perform a song from every album (sans 2nd and 5th). Lately, he’s mixed his classics with old school and modern hits, including FatMan Scoop’s “Be Faithful” and  Dr Dre’s “Next Episode.” Tasha soon follows with a rare performance of “Wonder Woman” and “G Hwa Ja,” both great songs from her 2nd album, Gemini. In my opinion, this album is really underappreciated and it ranks in my books as one of the best Korean hip-hop albums of all time (right behind DT2 and DT4). So definitely check it out if you haven’t yet!

Wonder Woman live (mixed with Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On”)

G Hwa Ja live

However, the DT highlight of the night comes when Zeebra and the rest of the performers join JK to perform “Jet Pack.” The 8th album is filled with collaborations with international artists, so when they come together live on stage, it’s a special moment, as it may be the only live performance of that song that will ever happen.

a shaky vid of the performance – my apologies as I was getting pushed left and right!

In the midst of the performance, JK takes off his shirt (he calls it his “Rico Suave” move), and Juvie dumps a bottle of water on JK’s head. Below is the result.

While JK speaks some philosophy to the crowd, Juvie distracts them by mimicking JK’s Rico Suave.

Bobby jokingly comments that Juvie killed the mood, but it doesn’t deter the crew from finishing stong with a group performance of “Monster.”


Backstage is a scene of a massive DT/Movement family reunion. Each corner speaks a different story about the Movement fam – Zeebra’s entourage, Drunken Camp, Korean DT fanclub Tigebalm, and then a group of Movement’s producers. There are brief celebrations and a relief of joy in the air, but they are quickly rushed out, and the only way out is through the main hall where fans are still waiting. As JK is rushed out, he is not afraid to pose the whole way to his van. Every step, JK is camera ready, and as he descended down the escalator, he turns around, throws a peace sign in the air, and bids farewell to his fans.

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