It’s been a busy week for our MFBTY fam! So much so it was hard for me to keep up. Rather than write 4 separate posts, here is a recap of the week:
Saturday, January 11th: Interview with KPOPStarz
The night before his Kollaboration Star performance, Tiger JK sat down with news site, KpopStars, for a candid 3 part interview. JK talks about his childhood, what got him into his music, and how his father was a major musical influence for him. Click here for the write up and links to the 3 part interview.
Monday, January 13th: Fuse TV Interview
American music network, Fuse TV, focused on Korea’s booming music industry for their daily Fuse News program. They focused on the major players in the first episode, starting with 2NE1, and then equally influential MFBTY. In this short segment, Tiger JK and Tasha talk about what it was like in the early days of Korean hip-hop and who they would like to collaborate with now.
Tuesday, January 15th: Drunken Tiger Best Album is released…. but not by Drunken Tiger
Early Tuesday morning, Tiger JK tweeted about the release of a “Best” album. Unfortunately, the album was not actually released by his current label, Feel Ghood Music. Fans are free to obtain the album if they’d like, but should be aware the proceeds for the album do not go to Feel Ghood.
Wednesday, January 16th: StudioAPA releases the full MV for Chops’ “Turn It Up”
After more than 4 months of waiting, StudioAPA released the full MV for Chops collaboration with Tiger JK and Tasha, “Turn It Up.” The MV is completely animated and alludes to the artists’ personalities.
Friday, January 18th: KoreAM releases their January issue featuring a full interview with Tiger JK
KoreAM’s January issue features a whopping 12-page feature on Tiger JK. This unique article goes into the in-depth history of the Drunken Tiger legacy, then leading into a raw look into who Tiger JK is. In a rare uncensored interview, JK talks about his childhood, how he became a rapper (a choice made to fit in with the fellas!), the music industry, and how much his father really made an impact on him personally and artistically. The issue can only be ordered from KoreAm directly, or via App download (available later this month). On a personal note, this article is a must read for all die hard Drunken Tiger fans!
Tiger JK will start 2014 on the cover of magazines. Longstanding award winning magazine, KoreAm Journal, will feature an exclusive interview with him. KoreAm covers stories about the Korean American experience and KoreAms who have made pivotal moves in the world. As an LA native and hip-hop legend, whether JK fits the profile is self-evident.
The hard copy issue will be released this weekend and can be purchased online at KoreAm’s site. However, eager fans can pre-order a copy right now. The cost is $6.95 for domestic US orders, and $20 for international (quite the bargain!).
For those who prefer to go paperless, a $2.99 digital copy will be available for IPad end of this month.
In September 2013, artist, Chops (Mountain Brothers), announced he will be releasing a massive collaboration project titled, “Strength in Numbers.” The album will feature many Asian American hip-hop and R&B artists, including Ann, M-FLO, and Decipher. Most recently, Chops leaked the trailer video for his collaboration with Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae called, “Turn It Up.”
Release date for the project is expected early this year.
There was an era where I jumped on a plane once or twice a year to make it to a Drunken Tiger concert. Face it, international gigs are a rarity for Korean artists, so diehards come far and wide to see their fave artists perform. I can only imagine who and what the November 16th show of Kollaboration star will bring. With a full one hour set, this is a show that no DT fan should miss.
“Kollaboration Star”, an annual talent competition bringing in Asian talents from all over North America, is back for a second year this year. Six finalists, five of them selected based on an online vote out of thirteen city representatives of local Kollaboration talent contests, will be competing for the national title of Kollaboration Star 2013 and a $20,000 Grand Prize. This year’s competition will also be hosted by YouTube comedian David So, with guest appearances from Paul “PK” Kim and Kollaboration alumni Mike Song and KRNFX.
“Kollaboration Star 2013″ will be held on Saturday, November 16th at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Presage packages are currently on sale, with official sales starting October 10th.
Presley packages can be accessed at http://www.kollaboration.org/presale. The ultimate fan package offers the best opportunity to spend quality time with the three artists. As it includes priority seating,rehearsal viewing, and a private meet and greet ($200). Toaccess the package, type in SOOMPISTAR. These packages will only be available until October 8th.
On October 3rd, Tiger JK, Yoon MiRae, and Bizzy had their TV debut of “The Cure,” courtesy of MBC. Contrary to their usual highly energetic set, “The Cure” live set comprises of the 3 performing behind standing mics, a first in DT history. Of course, the crowd was treated to older high energy classics, such as “Get It In,” “Good Life,” and “I Want You.” However, as always with any DT performance, expect the unexpected. JK breaks through the audience barrier and performs the song while walking through the crowd and then ending “Get It In” with him relaxing on the moving camera wheelie. See photos/video below.
P.S. My camera went out during “The Cure,” so unfortunately I don’t have the full footage! Fans will have to wait until the broadcast is released.
Tiger spontaneously autographs the speaker with his microphone
On September 22nd, The Creator’s Project, a global network aimed to introduce and connect artistic individuals together, returned to Seoul to put on one of their signature technology-infused concerts. Tiger JK was selected as the Korean representative for a 3rd straight year and was invited to perform.
The event featured both Korean and non-Korean acts, thus inviting a diverse crowd to explore the multitude of talent. However, when Tiger JK stepped on stage, he was met with a group of Caucasian hecklers who repeated told him to stop rapping and instead dance the now internationally known horse dance from Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” JK took offense to the comments, seeing it as not only disruptive, but also racist. While JK has been openly supportive on Twitter for Psy’s success, he does not agree how some Western media has disregarded Psy’s talented, and instead have focused on his comedic dance. As some fans have pointed out, it has repercussions for Asian artists who are seeking to make their own unique mark in the Western market.
As a result of the heckler’s comments, JK stopped his performance and let out his frustration. This is his account of the incident:
“I told them [the hecklers] I ain’t here to make you laugh. I’m not here to dance for you. Then it triggered something really dark in me. My f*** you turned into f*** everybody. F*** white people. F*** CNN to F*** Hollywood. To Fu** all ya’ll who think Asians are here to make you laugh by dancing my ass off. F** Hollywood for thinking Asians are just comic relief. Then I Stopped my set and screamed for ten minutes I think. I said I got paid to be here b*tch ass white boiiz, I ain’t gon dance for you. I called all them b*tches. Then I said bi*ch bad. What I mean by b*tches I mean y’all white boys who are telling me to dance. I told them Asians are more than a motherf*cking comic relief, you punk ass white boy.”
The English speakers in the crowd were flabbergasted by his comments. However, an advocate for anti-racism himself, JK soon turned to his Twitter to personally apologize for his sudden outburst and gave his side of the story. The following is his full post:
While his actions have turned off some fans, many who have seen JK’s previous anti-racism actions have empathized and forgiven him for this one-off moment.
Though I try to keep my personal opinions out of my posts, I will end this with a personal account for those who are quick to label JK as a racist (Warning: This will be long, so grab a drink and some popcorn).
I have run this website for over 11 years. I am 100% Filipino, born and raised in a city of diversity (NYC). When I first started listening to Korean music when I was 14 years old, I was one of the few non-Koreans listening to it then. I tried to make Korean friends so I could find people who shared my musical taste. Some laughed and labeled me a wannabe. I would post in K-music forums, and was not taken seriously because I was a “fake Korean.” When I would go to festivals to see Korean singers then, I would get dirty looks. I could not speak a word of Korean then. I was in love with Drunken Tiger, then a group, and decided to fly out to Los Angeles to see them perform live. I had met a few Korean singers before, but when I met them, it was the first time I felt I was seen as a person, not just a fan. What most people don’t know is at that time, when Korean artists had non-Korean fans, most of them were Asian. DT was the first to have a large non-Asian following, but these fans usually knew little about Korea and Korean music. From that, this site was born, obviously it was larger then than it is now, and despite my race and my inability to speak Korean, DT named my site as the official English site in 2003. My race to this day has never been brought up in conversation, nor has it been an issue. I have been to countless performances, and I have seen JK show after show give pounds to his non-Korean fans in the crowd. He has treated them with the same respect he has treated me all these years. I’ve gone from his fan to his friend. I’ve met his closest friends, his family (not just Yoon MiRae), some Korean, some not. People have forgotten that one of his closest friends, Micki Eyez, who spat verses on DT2-4, is Caucasian. When comedians were using blackface on Korean TV, and when netizens criticized his wife and child for being mixed blood, he fired back on Twitter explaining the negativity attached to blackface. He criticized those who judged others based on skin color. He was one of the first to open dialogue about racism in Korea. I have sat backstage with JK and a Caucasian fan, whom he personally invited and chatted with for hours. He did this to thank her for making creative videos of him. His outburst this past week he admitted (both publicly and privately to me) was a foolish mistake. It was an impromptu response that was in no way a reflection of who he really is. He is one of the last people I would call a racist. I was not asked to write this by him, nor his label. I am writing this as a friend who wishes to see people really know him for him. There is no way everyone will forgive him, and I am not asking for it, but I hope this can balance the coin on perspectives. Please share my story with others who need to know.
In their native town of Uijeongbu, a small city an hour out of central Seoul, Tiger JK and Yoon MiRae closed their city’s 20th International Music Festival with a special concert. While they were the main names on the bill, the two surprised the 1000+ fans by bringing fellow label mates, JoMoonGun, and new hip-hop group, MIB, to perform an extended Jungle Entertainment-only concert. As a result, their performance differed from their normal set, with even MIB members rapping the first verse of “I Want You/난 널 원해” with Tiger. Below are exclusive front row HD shots/video from the performance.
“Get It In” with Bizzy, Jo Moon Gun, MIB
“I Want You/난 널 원해” with Bizzy, Jo Moon Gun, MIB
In other news, Tiger JK, Yoon MiRae, Bizzy, and MIB are to perform at Music Matters Live 2012, an annual music industry conference. This year’s conference is being held in Singapore, and will broadcast live at 9PM Korea time (8AM EST, 5AM PST).
April 28th, Hongdae Subway Station— With the fastest Internet in the world and a population open to new cellphone technology, many of the world’s wired mobile advancements are first launched in South Korea. The country’s largest cellphone carrier, SK Telecom, recently announced its phones will now offer the largest LTE (4G) data service in the country. SK’s LTE service also allows its members to stream free music from Korea’s largest online streamer, Melon, directly into their phones without using up data. SK teamed with Tiger JK to garner fans to their website, offering free concert tickets to select fans who partake in one of their online promotions.
In an effort to continuously stand out above its competitors, SK held its promotional concert in no ordinary venue. Korea is well known for its timely and convenient subway, but commuters often complain its service is not 24 hours. SK used this to their advantage, holding JK’s show at Hongdae subway station after hours. Of course, fans invited were oblivious as to how the company would pull this off. How and where would you pull off a concert in an ordinary subway station?
Outside the turnstile exits of Hongdae’s airport subway line stood a group of fans and random signage with JK’s face. The exits are wide, but still fans were left in the dark where the actual show would be. Around the ticket tables are pseudo red carpets where concert goers could take pictures with a life size JK cut out.
Fans are distracted by the cutout until 12:00pm, when the subway shuts down for the public. They are then instructed to line up near the East bound train turnstiles. At 12:30pm, the crowd is directed downstairs into an empty train, which a few minutes later suddenly closes its doors and takes surprised passengers to the next station (Digital Media City).
As the train pulls into Digital Media City, fans anticipate getting off and going to a secret location for the concert. However, the doors remain close and the lights suddenly shut off, throwing some into a panic. Dance music starts to play and SK staff walks through the train cars announcing everyone is going to a concert/party soon. Still, fans are left questioning if the concert where the venue actually is.
The train suddenly moves back west to Hongdae station, this time arriving on the West bound side of the train tracks. The doors open and a shrill of screams lets out as concert goers realize the show is on the actual platform. A mad dash to the stage occurs, passing through a now JK branded subway platform.
Fans are treated to promos featuring JK and a DJ building anticipation with recent dance hits. Around 1:30pm, JK’s DJ, DJ Juice, appears on stage and hardcore fans scream knowing the show is starting.
As usual, Bizzy starts the set and builds the energy. Bizzy’s set usually starts with “Run,” a track from Yang Dong Geun’s 4th album which him, JK, and Tasha featured. Veteran fans know the sight of Bizzy at a show surely means JK will follow, and then after wife, Tasha/Yoon MiRae.
JK doesn’t disappoint as his joins Bizzy to perform a DT’s classic, “Do You Know Hip Hop?” As JK comes out, the barrier holding the fans back shakes. JK is the first to fully step out to the crowd, causing a panic for his bodyguards. After performing “Monster,” and entertaining the crowd with jokes, Tasha joins the crew for True Romance.
The husband/wife duo always treat the crowd to a small dance in the middle of the set.
With its peaceful melody, True Romance calms the nerves of the crowd, but gets them ready to start jumping as the trio starts the hyped “Pay Day.”
However, the highlight of Tasha’s set is her online single, “Get it In.” Regardless of the crowd, “Get It In” guarantees the crowd will be jumping along with the crew mid song. (Warning: I was close to the stage, almost too close. As a result, the lights affected my camera’s focus and there are parts where it’s hard to see. I apologize!)
“Get It In,” is the apparent show closer, but fans demand the crew come back to the stage for an encore.
Soon after, the crew comes back to close with another Drunken Tiger classic, “I Want You.” Seeing the crowd enamored in the performance, JK takes the opportunity to step off stage and embed himself into the crowd. Midway through, his adrenaline tells him to take a fan’s cellphone with him, leaving her in uneasy excitement. (Again, light warning.)
Fans are always happy that JK is willing to mingle.
The crew leaves the crowd in high spirits. One fan’s love for JK is reignited to the point she wants to kiss his lifesize cut out.
And as the show ends, the subway station empties, but remnants of JK’s presence and a unique concert remain. Kudos, SK Telecom, I definitely will remain a loyal customer after this show.
Three years ago, I met with JK in a VIP balcony of the Wiltern. Dressed in a casual black jacket and jeans, most would’ve never guessed he was an honorary special guest that night, and other than a brief appearance on the red carpet, he was escorted in and out just like any other guest. The Wiltern has such historical meaning for the city of Los Angeles, with its classic Victorian structure and an array of all-star artists that have sold out its 2,300 seats. Though JK never said it, I knew his LA roots fueled his desire to be on stage that night, and it was relieving to see him fill the theater the way he did last week.
Thanks to Drunken Tiger veteran music video director, Dave Kebo, and numerous other attendees, we got some great shots. From guest appearances from JK’s musical entourage (Ann, Styliztik Jones, Dumbfoundead, Jay Park) to Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn tweeting pictures of JK himself, it was truly an unforgettable night.
Fresh off her marriage to former manager, Lenny Nicholson, singer Ameriie headed straight for the studio upon her return to the US. In an exclusive with Billboard’sThe Juice, Ameriie leaked news of her collaborating with Korea’s “Jay-Z and Beyonce,” for her fifth album. “Cymatika Vol 1.”
I did a Korean version of “Outside Your Body” [her current single]with Drunken Tiger‘s (Korean/American hip-hop group) member, [Tiger] JK and his wife (Tasha Reid). Those are my collaborations. JK is like the Korean Jay-Z. She’s (Tasha) also a rapper.They’re both amazing. I’m doing a record or two for Tasha’s upcoming album. I haven’t done it yet, and she’s probably going to kill me because I’ve been running around doing so much.
Her new albumis scheduled for release in Summer 2012.
The official English source for MFBTY & Drunken Tiger