While New Year’s Day often signals new beginnings, it was the day that Tiger JK announced the Drunken Tiger name will retire.
Feel Ghood Music has hinted of a new Drunken Tiger album, but it being the last was cemented yesterday when JK discussed his plans for 2017.
This announcement coincides with the 18th anniversary of Drunken Tiger’s first album “Year Of The Tiger.” Drunken Tiger, then a duo with former partner, DJ Shine, was one of the most controversial yet pivotal artist debuts. Drunken Tiger strived to represent hip-hop culture to the mainstream in a time when it was not accepted. It was expected of new artists to be “packaged,” with coordinated dancing, coordinated outfits, lip-synching, and acting conservative. Drunken Tiger hardly conformed to these conventions, and utilized their fame to speak on controversial issues, both political and cultural. It was no surprise that this behavior often resulted in banning from mainstream media, with only 3 of the album’s 13 songs deemed acceptable for public play.
Despite the obstacles, Drunken Tiger exposed the country to the underground hip-hop culture then mainly known in small circles of Seoul’s Hongdae Arts District. From this scene came artists like Dynamic Duo, Leessang, and Epik High.
It is widely believed that the Korean hip-hop scene would not be where it is today if it were not for Drunken Tiger’s achievements. Drunken Tiger was the first widely recognized hip-hop artist to win #1 on chart shows like Inki Gayo, with their 3rd album single, “Good Life.”
Feel Ghood Music made it clear only “Drunken Tiger” will be retired, and Tiger JK will still be active in other forms. Future plans are indefinite. However, the continuance of MFBTY is still a high possibility, as well as mentoring new Feel Ghood Music artist, Junoflo. UPDATE: Tiger JK still plans to promote music under his own name.
One of JK’s more immediate projects involves his participation in a hip-hop competition show, now known as “High School Rapper.” JK had long refused to participate in similar programs, but felt this particular project was unique.
“I got a confirmation from the producers there would be no dissing on High School Rapper,” JK says. The dissing focal point of shows like Show Me The Money has been a contention for JK, as he felt there was more to hip-hop culture. Regarding how he will be involved in High School Rapper, “I will be working with the winning participants to produce their music.”
There is no estimated date on Drunken Tiger’s last album (update: The later half of 2017 was mentioned), but it will be a bitter sweet end of an era for all of the Korean hip-hop industry.
Photo: Arena Homme, Vogue Korea
-Elsa, Drunken Tiger International