Drunken Tiger “Yet” Lyrics Reflect Years of Triumphing Over Hardships

After a (thankful) year long delay, the final release of Drunken Tiger’s album has dawned upon us. The April 13th release of the single, “Yet,” took Drunken Tiger fans through memory lane, and both long time and recent fans were posed the question of, “Are you still Drunken?”

LYRICAL STORY

drunken tiger jk final album

“Yet”  is a visual and lyrical journey through Tiger JK’s career obstacles. While JK reminisces in a room filled with MFBTY memorabilia, his first verse takes us back to his early artist days. Long time fans can remember that although Korean hip-hop was gaining popularity during the 90s, it was still considered unprofitable and genre most mainstream labels were afraid to touch. Tiger JK was considered an outcast, for his Korean-American heritage and for the music he represented even through DT’s most successful days.

However, the “Yet” hook is an homage to the millions of fans that Drunken Tiger have gained through the era despite those obstacles. As we’re simultaneously taken through Tiger JK’s transformation and legendary performances visually, we’re reminded lyrically of “fans wearing Drunken hats (2004-2012),” and the “one shot” call is a nostalgic phrase that has prevailed through Drunken Tiger songs since the beginning.

It’s the second verse where we’re taken into JK’s deepest struggle.  We’re told a story of JK discovering trusted individuals (inferred in his lyrics as Jungle Entertainment), stealing from and betraying him. The lyrics describe these individuals misusing his, Yoonmirae’s, and his son, ‘Jordan’s “dojang” (a Korean stamp used to officiate documents) to forge documents and misuse funds for personal gain. To add insult to injury, JK’s father’s cancer diagnosis is also mentioned having happened at the same time. We’re taken through JK’s dark frustration, as he alludes to trying to raise his son, take care of his father, and dealing with a massive financial and emotional betrayal. However, we’re given a sense of promise and sense of invigoration towards the end, and he calls to fans who have stayed with him once again.

Though only a bit over 3-minutes long, the song leaves numerous contextual questions: What did JK particularly endure?

BEHIND THE SCENES

tiger-sitting.jpg

In a recent podcast episode with Jung YoungJin and Choi Wook, JK answered numerous questions related to his career, many relating to the “Yet” single.

The first verse: When he first debuted with his solo album, Tiger JK was met with much backlash by the industry for bringing in hip-hop culture in a time where its rebellious elements were still considered taboo. JK revealed that though his solo sold 150,000 copies, a feat that defied the numerous bans on its songs, it was considered unsuccessful in comparison to other artists of the time. Censorship carried over into when Drunken Tiger the group debuted in 1998, and while they started to receive recognition in the underground scene, the label still saw Drunken Tiger as an unprofitable liability. Much of Drunken Tiger’s earlier work relied on themselves to book shows, set up studio time, and direct their own music videos. Long time fans can remember the MVs being low budget, being primarily filmed on streets, subways, and in their own clothing. However, Drunken Tiger soon proved to be an anomaly success, having prevailed locally and also within the international community.

The second verse: “Yet’s” second verse is given context midway through the interview, where JK discusses having had suspicions of his former management hiding money, despite him and Yoonmirae being at peak points of their career. While initially overlooking this as much of his management were familiar with JK for nearly a decade, the amount of work put in did not add up to what was being earned. After doing numerous advertisements with big name artists, how or why Jungle could be in deficit did not add up. During a late night where JK returned to the office, files were discovered revealing how the management were forging documents and embezzling nearly 5 million USD in album sales and appearance fees. Plans were in place to secretly sell off the company while simultaneously dumping JK and Yoonmirae. The couple have alluded to Jungle’s mishandlings for years, but to fully disclose in this matter has not been easy.

JK, Yoonmirae, and Bizzy left the label to establish Feel Ghood Music. However, the legal ordeal between Jungle lasted for years. To add insult to injury, JK’s father received cancer treatment that was initially misdiagnosed, and later inadequately treated, contributing to his death in 2014.

When asked if JK is able to legally fight for the funds, he replied, “By the time I was able to start litigations, the label was sold off to a larger more powerful corporation,” implying it would a feat to fight legally.

Although the years have been tumultuous, JK found solace that his music wasn’t a failure. He made million dollar music, but just millions that he never saw.

The podcast covers an extensive amount more that this blog space can cover (i.e. JK’s TaeKwonDo instructor days, and why he donated thousands of savings to Sewol Ferry tragedy). Set aside an hour for an interesting listen.

What are your thoughts on “Yet” and the final Drunken Tiger album?


Drunken Tiger “YET” (Eng. Translation)

[Verse 1]

If you say I’ve aged, I’ve aged.
If I’m done, above the period I’ll draw a line, an exclamation point
My ‘right to remain silent’
I breathed the Boom Bap, I danced the Boom Bap.
Even then fingers pointed at me saying my soul is black
Light turns to dark and shines only on the flashy
Exploding happiness or tears, we’d pour the shot
The Medallion that hangs now of lost values
Fills the chain around your neck taming you
Guilty principles are dirty, guilt conscience
Having nothing can become a sin, you see I jumped higher
The law is a high stonewall for the well off
We without money, get locked in
You still don’t get it
Scarier than a bullet was my MC philosophy
Now it doesn’t scare me
Those that clearly just follow
Rebellion without reason
Without souls, their bodies follow
In any case, even then it wasn’t easy
Choking with my own two fists
It’s my life
The red tattoo dripping from my body ya mean
Drunken Tiger – Feel Ghood Music

[Hook]

‘Drunken’ we’d say and sing
Saying One shot we’d raise our glass
Where are all my friends (come on!)
Yet yet…a recent once upon a time…
‘Drunken’ we’d say and sing
Saying One shot we’d raise out glass
Where are all my friends (come on!)
Yet yet…a recent once upon a time…

[Verse 2]

If you say I’m crazy, I’m crazy
If I’m done, above the period I’ll draw a line, an exclamation point
My ‘Right to remain silent’
Honest ‘Jeong’ and hero ‘Geol’, (the Chinese characters for “Jungle”)
My father gave me – Name, Trust, my everything
Those I trusted, stole from me
They took my youth, songs from my soul, Me
Night or day playing golf, playing – never satiated
My son’s seal (dojang) became the golf club,
My wife’s seal became two houses
My seal they forged then gambled, I don’t know, don’t know, intercepted
Enemies repaid their favors with a stab in the back
With nowhere to go, my family, my son’s crying steps drove me mad
I wanted to kill them, really wanted to kill them,
I could’ve killed them, really could’ve killed them
Right then the heartless heavens, father fell to cancer
Given 6 month to live, and so exact
While the scum that receives lives well
Why is it my father that has to go
Don’t go father, don’t die
What is mom supposed to do
Finally then, let’s live, I set my mind to sarang (love), the only two syllables left
The father who passed, now with grandmother, 845 to
This is not a game, was the promise made before his death
It’s the king and I – my soul dripping the red tattoo

[Hook]

‘Drunken’ we’d say and sing
Saying One shot we’d raise our glass
Where are all my friends (come on!)
Yet yet…a recent once upon a time…
‘Drunken’ we’d say and sing
Saying One shot we’d raise out glass
Where are all my friends (come on!)
Yet yet…a recent once upon a time…

[Translated by JSK & J. Libert]

-Drunken Tiger International

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