by OLIVIA OUYANG
It’s not often that you come across an Asian American Christian rapper. But Gowe, which stands for “Gifted on West East” (and is pronounced like “go”) is unique for reasons greater than the myriad of adjectives that describe his background.
Gowe grew up in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, an area populated by various minority groups. He listened to hip-hop music growing up and says he was inspired by the lyrical stylings of rapper Nas. Gowe, however, never anticipated that one day he himself would be a rapper.
But after writing poems in his early teens it became just a natural progression after a friend suggested he give rapping a try.
“I really loved the fact that you can take words and create just very vivid and beautiful images,” says Gowe.
Gowe’s expressive and complex lyrics about the toils of life and the ultimately positive message he conveys speak volumes of his personal experiences and the optimism with which he approaches life. Infused with a melodic hip-hop style, Gowe is an artist to watch.
Gowe released his first LP “Beautiful Journey” in 2009 and since then he has changed significantly as an artist. “That’s what happens as an artist—you evolve—and I think the biggest turning point was when I released the song about my biological mother ‘I Wonder’ and it’s just been a continual evolution.”
“I Wonder” is a poignant track about the mother Gowe never met. At the age of 18, Gowe discovered by accident that he was adopted and actually Korean, not Chinese like his adoptive parents. He debuted the song on stage at Kollaboration Seattle. The first verse recounts what he knows about his biological mother, the second verse discusses Gowe’s life growing up, and third verse consist of his commentary. Gowe hopes that one day his biological mother will hear this song and he can finally meet her.
All of the tracks on Gowe’s upcoming debut album “We are HyperGiants” have a story or theme behind them. When asked about the meaning of the album’s title, Gowe explains, “The hypergiant is the brightest, most luminous star in existence but it also carries the shortest life span and for us as young people or even people in general, but especially when we’re young, we feel like we’re going to be on this earth forever … a hypergiant is somebody that, while they’re shining their absolute brightest on this earth, while their in the climb, they aren’t afraid to stand for what they believe in.”
Other standout tracks on the album include “Hello Goodbye” which touches on the parent-child relationship in Asian American families, “Dear Eve,” an examination of plastic surgery and the insecurity of a young girl, and “Good Morning Sunshine,” a song that imagines the lives of three 12-year-old girls from North Korea, South Korea and North America.
Gowe is in the process of putting together a West Coast tour. He thanks his fans for their continual support.
“Anytime I finish a song, that’s only 50 percent of it,” he says. “Whatever I write, whatever I feel, whatever I capture, that’s 50 percent of the song. The other 50 percent is how the fans interpret it.”
Gowe’s debut album “We Are HyperGiants” drops June 17 on iTunes and Amazon. Pre-order your copy here.
This article was originally published by Audrey magazine. Reprinted with permission.