It looks like with all the photos and videos, I’ll have to divide this into 3 parts.
J returns to the stage, ironically hyping the crowd up for the next act: himself. He starts the set with “Liquor Shotz,” followed by “Thumb,” and “Do You Know Hip-Hop?” The first 2 songs warm the crowd up, but somehow “Do You Know Hip-Hop?,” though nearly 11 years old, always gets everyone jumping.
Between sets, he introduces !llmind, a hip-hop producer from New Jersey. He’s produced tracks for some of the world’s well known rappers: LL Cool J, Wutang Clan, Eminem, and 50 Cent. J gives props to !llmind for supporting Jungle Fam.
set continued (Stylez still tweeting)
Roscoe steps into the crowd and grabs this from a fan. Representin’ DT crew.
Up close and personal.
And then the final treat – JetPack (English), ft Roscoe, and Stylez.
This segue leads into Tasha’s set, who starts with “True Romance.”
To my own surprise, she wears the shirt that I almost wore to the show. It’s a simple top from the American brand, Forever 21, which has gained popularity here with even the most famous in Korea (Lee Hyori also wore a sparkly dress from the store in a recent soju ad.)
She rocks out a mixture of hip-hop songs from her most recent album, YoonMiRae, and her 2002 hip-hop album, Gemini. Her upcoming album will revisit the edginess of this album, and while the original debut was suppose to be this month, it still looks like it’s still in the works.
However, whenever these two lay even a hand on each other, cameras rise out of nowhere to take photos. They’re perhaps Korea’s most envied famous couple.
In the midst of her set, Stylez steps off to fully immerse himself into the crowd. Tasha tries to pull him back up, but only induces madness. She later fed into the madness by pouring a bottle of water on JK’s head, a new habit she’s become fond of doing.
At the end of her “Pay Day” performance, she poses with J and Bizzy.
And I will finish this half of the post with a video of Tasha’s “G Hwa Ja,” from her “Gemini” album.
After sifting through my photos and evaluating the night, I decided it’d be best to divide this into 2 posts. [warning: long post ahead]
It’s 6:30pm when I first arrive. Already, there is a line forming outside the club. There are 2 DT fans from the UK who were waiting since 4pm. One of them mentions he was a fan since 2000 and said he had never seen JK live. He couldn’t miss this opportunity. Long time dedication like that is truly beautiful.
JK and crew arrive at 7:30pm. Their infamous black van catches immediate attention as they are rushed inside the club. The fans are teased with the sound of their rehearsal booming from inside. They are given some relief as ticket sales start selling at 8:00pm (an hour later than the scheduled time). Most of the relieved fans go off to dinner before the show starts.
After 15 minutes of waiting, the crew finishes their set and are on their way to get ready. We head off to YangLee Hair, a Hongdae spot that they frequent on occasion. Yang, the owner, is the stylist for a number of celebs and was there to personally handle their beauty needs.
As we enter, we see a wall of photos of celebs. At the elevator door is a picture of JK, and we laugh as he stands right next to it during the elevator wait. At the back of the salon is a wall of signed CDs, and 2 shelves filled with autographed Movement CDs.
(pictured: YoonMirae 3, Drunken Tiger 5, DT 7, DT4, and Bobby Kim’s 3rd)
The crew is rolling deep on this night. On top of the headlining performers, almost JK’s whole 8th album line up is present. Those who aren’t getting prettied up have to find ways to kill time before the show. Stylez is drawing on his iPad and mentions its is his lifeline on the road. Roscoe and !llmind talk about their time in NYC (Roscoe just finished rocking Radio City Music Hall with Donnie Wahlberg). Roscoe raves about the crazy double decker tour buses there and NY pizza (made me miss home!) Tasha, determined, finds the one English magazine hidden on the shelf and peruses through the fashion ads. Other major players in the crew, i.e. JK’s producer, Techbeatz, Jason Park, and rapper Loptimist, browse the internet or play games. While this is going on, JK and Rakaa are in the next room doing lines of interviews (almost 2 hours of it)
Halfway into preparations, everyone stops to take a group photo. [Pictured Left to Right: Rakaa, Loptimist, JK, Stylizstik Jones, Yang, Roscoe, Techbeatz, !llmind, and Tasha].
As the group puts the final touches on their show, some of us go back to the venue and claim our spot for the night. At 10:30pm, the loyalists of fans have already packed in. It’s a strange scene — a pillar divides the stage. On the left are primarily Korean fans, while the right are a group of non-Korean fans. They are there to see not only Rakaa, but some came primarily for JK or Tasha. They’re a sure sign that Jungle has gone truly international.
The DJ spins a strange mix of hip-hop and trance. Fans try to dance the time away, but they slowly become impatient and tired. Some are so tired that they choose to sit on the stage. Finally, at 12:30pm, JK comes out to introduce and MC for the night. He chooses to be the official translator as well.
J gives the crowd chants to practice and hypes them up. He introduces Bizzy and in pure Bizzy fashion, he jumps on the stage with crazy energy. As he performs parts of YDG’s “RUN” and his single “After the Night We Broke Up (해어진 다음 날),” he rocks the stage with a fire that fills the room. He had just finished a commercial shoot right before the show and couldn’t even go to the rehearsal, but he somehow rocked it out with 4x the energy than usual.
Roscoe’s up next with Stylistik Jonez. For those who don’t know, Roscoe’s been collaborating with JK since the 2nd album (2000). The two met through DT’s old DJ, DJ Jhig, who asked Roscoe not only to drop verses on the 2nd album, but to also help produce it. Roscoe admits that many of the tracks were produced and mixed down in his old house in a few short weeks. Stylez is a member of the LA collaborative hip-hop crew, Likwit Crew, who are also responsible for recruiting rappers Xzibit and The Alkoholiks.
Stylez steps off the stage to say what’s up to the fans. [The bodyguards are not happy apparently.]
This is what I dubbed “the hat trick.” They brought on a stack of 8 hats and Stylez went through all 8 saying he hated them all. Meanwhile, the fans anticipated they would get one thrown out at them. All they got was disappointment as Stylez threw them to the back of the stage.
Finally, Stylez decides to film the fans wiling out during their set. I will finish this post with Roscoe’s final song, “Live It Up.”
When people talk about mixed Asian artists, Amerie and Tasha are often one of the first names mentioned. However, since the two of them promote themselves in two different places, it’s hard to imagine the two would ever cross paths.
One trip to Los Angeles changed all that.
Recently, Tasha and JK met with Amerie and Amerie tweeted these photos on her site:
Rakaa’s album track list was leaked yesterday and it was revealed that he will feature a track with some of the Movement’s power players. The track, titled “Ambassador’s Slang,” will feature Tiger JK, Tasha, Roscoe Umali, Epik High, and Dumbfoundead. It was produced by Japan’s pioneer hip-hop DJ, DJ Honda. Below is the report from HalfKorean.com:
I recently had the opportunity to preview “Ambassador Slang” from Rakaa Iriscience’s (Rakaa Taylor) upcoming hip hop solo album Crown of Thorns. All I can say is that “Ambassador Slang” matches all that I was anticipating ever since Rakaa mentioned it in our interview back in February. The hip hop posse cut features a variety of Asian/Pacific Islander artists including Korean/Korean-American artists Tasha, Tiger JK (Drunken Tiger), Dumbfounded, Tablo & Mithra Jin (Epik High).
Here is the lineup of MCs that spit fire on this dope dj honda-produced track (in order of appearance and where they represent): Tasha (aka Yoon Mi Rae) / Korea, Tiger JK (Drunken Tiger) / Korea, Roscoe Umali / L.A. via Philippines, Chiefsons – Big Ryzn / L.A. via Samoa, Chiefsons – Moshpit / L.A. via Samoa, Rakaa – WORLDWIDE via L.A., Dumbfoundead / L.A. via Korea, Tassho Pearce / Hawaii via Japan, Epik High – Tablo / Korea, Epik High – Mithra Jin / Korea, Jay Jaballas / L.A. via Philippines & King Kapisi / New Zealand via Samoa.
I can confidently say that each and every MC comes correct on the track! You will NOT be disappointed if you are a true hip hop fan. Trust me. This is a groundbreaking hip hop track full of talented artists, regardless of their ethnic origins. I don’t know that something like this has ever been done before (bringing together artists of these backgrounds) and, if it has, not on this level.
You have to applaud Rakaa for bringing together these artists and featuring them on his first solo album. He is an artist who has gained respect due to his talent, skill and what he has accomplished on his own and as a member of Dilated Peoples. For him to now be sharing the light with other artists on a global scale is truly a pleasure to see and hear and here’s hoping he continues to “build bridges.”
Obviously Tasha’s verse is of interest to us and she opens the track with this line, “The track hit the headphones, pen hit the pad, put MCs to sleep like tryptophan.” The rest of the verse is pure fire and just confirms what I’ve always thought about her ever since her days as part of the Korean hip hop group Uptown; that she is a dope rapper and one of the best in Korea (male OR female).
As usual, Rakaa’s own verse is dope. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that Rakaa has dropped a few Korean-related lyrics within his rhymes. On “Ambassador Slang” he ends a bar with, “… direct vengeance like Park Chan Wook.” Of course, Korean film fans will know that Park Chan Wook is one of the most acclaimed directors in South Korea and was the director of the “Vengeance” trilogy which consists of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. I don’t know about everyone else, but I think it is kind of cool that he would drop those kind of subtle Korean references in his lyrics.
I hope the track gets released as a single or, at the very least, as a B-side. I truly believe that if the rest of Crown of Thorns is anything like the three tracks I have heard so far (“C.T.D.”, “Delilah” & “Ambassador Slang”), Rakaa’s album is going to be monumental!
Rakaa’s Crown of Thorns is scheduled to be released on 7/20/2010 by Decon Records.
May 31st – It is officially Tasha’s 29th birthday! Korea’s lady of hip-hop had a surprise early celebration yesterday at the CYON B-Boy competition/concert. Her fans surprised her with a cake shaped in a microphone along with presents for Jordan.
the birthday cake
and those who gave it to her (jk being superman in the back)
Tasha joked how she didn’t need the age candles. Don’t worry, unni. You look great for your age. 🙂
Drunken Tiger history shows that JK and the old school crew were no strangers to being vocal about some of the hypocrisy in Korean society. JK most recently reacted to racist comments made by netizens about his son, who is 1/4 African American and 3/4 Korean. Before these comments, JK had written about how when Tasha first came to Korea, she was outcasted due to racism and her inability to speak Korean well (years in Korea of course have changed this). After JK had appeared on TV with his son, net bloggers had made inappropriate racist comments about his son, and while Tasha’s rise as well as other “hapas-Koreans” fame have brought Korea a little closer to overcoming racism, some ignorance still resides. JK reacted strongly, stating his role as a father as his basis for defending his son (and with good reason!)
The comments are below:
“can’t be liked by everybody i know, there’s an article about Jordan, and some of them relpys make me sick,,,,talkin about race,”
“talki bout his hair being nappy and he looks black, they prolly like 12, prolly yong kidz but hopefully they learn”
“Comments are always like that but there are actually kids who say things like half black half black. Racism won’t disappear forever.”
“racism, im sure they dont know no better,it’s ma fault for xposing ma son like that tho when they call ma son up to the stage i had a feelin”
“cant believe the are going as far as using the N word, they need to get the ass whooped by they pops, ignorant ass younginz”
“I know that half of the comments are written by kids who want attention but people still use the expression black.”
“ha im used to bein hated / called all kinds of name it comes wit territory / but in the states i was called a chink ,N now the N word here”
“they could hate all they could, im here for that im used to bein hated, chewed on, jk wack this and that, but can dey just C wat dey C,Love”
“callin ma wife and me kid, nappy headed N***R , i wish they would see me in the street”
“^^ I’m a father so I went crazy over hate comments. I’m sorry.”
“peops are so lonely like me da would say anytihing behind the walls of matrix to say things that would get em attention,i pray for they soul”
Tablo of Epik High replied to Tiger JK saying, “This world doesn’t make sense and it has so many bad people. Your child is beautiful!”
On November 10th, 2009, JK won the award for Best Dressed Male Singer at Korea’s Style Icon Awards. JK’s sported some unique things this year, from multicolored vests to fur hats, but I don’t think any other performer could pull it off as well.
So why do I mention journalists today?
Well, this news came to me from an article from a Korean news source (who I will not name for their sake), and for a report that talked about JK looking great, the editor who did the layout chose a photo that just didn’t convey that as well.
What are some examples of JK with style? Here’s what I would’ve chosen.
(this is the lifesize poster that’s in front of my bus stop 🙂 )
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!
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.
Back in the US, it’s odd to catch a big star performing on a weekday. In fact, most managers would nix that idea out of fear that people wouldn’t show up. In Korea, a weekday concert is not out of the ordinary. It’s Wednesday, I just finished flexing my English speaking skills at work, and I’m rushing out to another DT/Tasha performance.
Tonight’s concert is a benefit concert celebrating Nylon Magazine’s 1st year in Korea. MTV is partnered with them and the generous sponsorship form MagnMag.com makes the concert free for all it’s participants. A select few people won guaranteed tickets form Nylon & MTV’s website, so a separate line is formed outside for people waiting for those tickets (roughly 500+ people – WHOA what a line!)
A few Camp staff members and fans decide to wing it and just try to get a ticket from the first come first serve line. In a surprising twist, this line is not as bad as the reserved line, and we’re able to get decent seats.
While the calamity in the seated area is nice, it’s where I notice the difference from American DT fans and Korean DT fans. In America, we’re aggressive and we like getting riled up by the performers. We’re used to the pushing, shoving, and struggling to get a good seat/view. In Korea, fans are content with just sitting or standing where they’re seated. It lets everyone see a view, but when you’re that one person in the crowd standing, throwing their hands up, and trying to get as close to the stage as possible, you’re the odd one out. I actually got a warning from the bodyguards a few times for getting too riled up. I apologize, Korea, but when a performer is telling everyone to stand up, and go crazy, my American habits kick in. (소리를 많이 질려서 최송합니다! ^_^)
Anyway, what’s great about JK’s performances in Korea is they all go all out for each performer’s performance. The panning of JK’s photo and the words Drunken Tiger in the back creates a great effect and it always causes the crowd to scream madly. Back home, a DT performance is not as elaborate and the venue is usually smaller and more intimate (that has its advantages though, making the performance feel more raw — and US DT fans love a crazy raw DT performance!).
In a weird twist, JK actually starts the show and is shortly followed by Tasha. JK is considered a Korean hip-hop god here and Tasha, of course, its goddess. It’s rare they put a huge act first in any culture, but DT fans rejoice anyway (hey — if they finish their set early, that means we can go home early, and trying to get on that last subway train in Seoul is very important!).
Today’s set is very short (consisting of “Monster,” “True Romance,” “Pay Day,” and “검은 행복”) and doesn’t require much explanation. So I’ll simply let the photos tell the story.
(Dear Cellphone company, your customer is product placing in my photos. A donation to Camp would be greatly appreciated.)
After the performance, a few TigerBalm/DrunkenCamp staff rush out to catch a glimpse of the power hip-hop couple. It’s a regular for us to go to these shows and our faces are now familiar to DT’s team. We’re welcomed with the warmness that friends have between each other, but only for a brief moment. A lot of the big stars back home would do 1 show a day, but JK & Tasha are sped off afterwards to another show at a university miles and miles away from the venue. I guess there are no breaks here even for the biggest stars.
[many thanks to MTV for helping this report happen]
P.S. I need more people who are Korea based who are willing to go to shows, take pictures, and/or write about them. Rolling with Camp has some great benefits (ask anyone on my team!). Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
Yes, it’s true, after spending $75/ticket in the past to see DT perform in the US, life has decided to play a fun joke and tell me about free DT concerts here in Seoul. Man, Korean fans, you guys are lucky!
When: Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8pm Where: Olympic Park Olympic Hall (Line 5, Olympic Park station) Who: Drunken Tiger, Tasha, Epik High, Clazziqui, House Rulez
Cost: FREE, $0, CERO, NADA
Tickets are first come first serve. Early arrival is suggested.
The official English source for MFBTY & Drunken Tiger