[interview] Tiger JK: “Hip-Hop Comes First Before Business”

[interview by Ten24] 

It’d be hard to find someone other than Tiger JK to fit the title “Korean Hiphop godfather.” Debuting in 1995 with his solo track, ‘Enter the Tiger, then as Drunken Tiger, and now part of his crew MFBTY, Tiger has taken on many forms since his debut.

Tiger JK has traveled on a wonderful musical journey spanning over the past 20 years. He’s witnessed Korea transforming from a hip-hop no-mans land into a country that accepts it with open arms and embrace it, Tiger JK has been through it all and made his mark in Korean Hiphop’s history. Although his age may be slighter higher than some of the other rappers on the scene, his passion and his love for hiphop cannot be superseded by anyone.

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There is no other person fitting for the title of Korean hip-hop’s Godfather.

The interviewer was curious about Tiger JK. His music, life, and his interpretation of Wondaland. Meeting with Tiger JK was not easy to facilitate. Due to his shy personality and his preference to stay away from interviews, the interviewer was finally able to meet with him after a long wait.

Tiger JK definitely had a natural presence with his charisma. It did not take long for my misconceptions about him to fly out the window. With his corny punchlines such as “Without MiRae, we have no future,” he joked throughout the interview with his witty remarks.

Between all the jokes, Tiger JK expressed his love for his wife, his son Jordan, and the project group, MFBTY. He said “I’m a fool for MiRae, Jordan and people.” However, when it came to music, his tone changed into a serious note. “We are getting love from fans around the world, especially since our album Wondaland released about a month ago.” Although he advised he is getting inquiries about possible overseas concerts, he said, “There are good opportunities for us to earn good money, but shouldn’t the performance and our stage quality be the first priority?” In true Tiger JK style, he still did not want to compromise.

“Yoon Mi Rae? She’s a world-class rapper”

His love for Yoon Mi Rae was second to none. There was also the love for hip-hop blended into it as well. Tiger JK respects Yoon Mi Rae as an artist.

“Mi Rae is seriously a world class rapper. On top of her rapping skills, her lyricism is just mind blowing,” he says while putting his thumb up. However, when it came to actually saying this out loud, he was clearly shy to do so. This was evident in his recent TV appearance on Happy Together 3 Lovers Special where Tiger JK had to make a call to Mi Rae to get her to say a code word. During this phone conversation, Tiger JK struggled to say lovey-dovey words. Reflecting on this, he stated “After that show aired, Mirae had a word with me. I really should’ve gave her the heads up before I made the phone call…”

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JK fails to make Tasha say, “I miss you” during the Happy Together code word challenge

Tiger JK also spoke about his son Jordan and his musical ability, shown in the track enlisted in Wondaland Album ‘Fart Dance’, which Jordan composed all by himself whilst thinking that it was a game. Tiger JK said that if Jordan wanted to pursue music as his career, he was not going to hold him back. “When I listen to Fart Dance, I really believe he is a musical genius. I know he is going to be great. (smiling) However when it comes to a point where I have a critically analyze his musical ability without any biased opinions, I am prepared to do so if need be.”

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“Without MiRae, we’d have no future. If Jordan wants to do music, I will not be biased in my criticisms.”

Rapper Tiger JK – a fool with a reason

Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae had their humble abode set in UiJeongBu even before they were married. Unlike popular artists setting their nests around the Gangnam area, the hip hop-couple even had their recording studio set up in city-suburban town. This is also the place where MFBTY’s first full album Wondaland was produced. The interviewer was curious about the reasons as to why Tiger JK insisted on staying at UiJeongBu.

“I love the life UiJeongBu. It’s comfortable and awesome. It’s like heaven. This is where MiRae grew up, and I want to live where she feels comfortable.”

His employees & staff members sacrificed a bit due to Tiger JK insisting on staying in UiJeongBu. However, he did not let this one go unnoticed. Bizzy and all of his staff now now reside in UiJeongBu, and he took care of everyone’s rent. For him, they were family – not just employees.

Due to his 20-year anniversary and Wondaland’s success coincidentally happening all at once, he admitted he is continuously receiving invitations for performances especially overseas. With his strong rapport around the world, Tiger JK has the power to negotiate and agree to a more lucrative deal, but Tiger JK refuses to do this. “I am not the type to ask favors on a business level. It is true that we are receiving a lot of offers, but we want to provide a good performance where the music comes first. I didn’t even realize this but apparently it’s been 20 years since my debut. It’s that long ago? I can’t remember when that was. I think it’ll be a great idea to have a meaningful event for our fans. I would want to meet them on a more personal level.”

Source: News24

Translated by JSK

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