Tag Archives: Jay Park

Awkwafina

‘Bad Rap’ Documentary Asks: Where Are The Asian American Rappers?

by JAMES S. KIM

Ever since hip-hop took off in the South Bronx in the 1970s, rappers around the world have embraced the music and culture, with many carving out their own identities and establishing themselves as mainstream stars.

But what about Asian American rappers? Though several have stomped onto the scene, from pioneers such as the Mountain Brothers, Jin and Lyrics Born, to stars of today including Far East Movement and Jay Park, these aren’t the names that we immediately associate with hip-hop in mainstream American culture.

Why not? Is it a lack of support? Their appearance? Not having that breakout hit? Filmmakers Salima Koroma (director/producer) and Jaeki Cho (producer) are looking to explore that question with Bad Rap, a new documentary about the Asian American presence in hip hop.

 

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Dumbfoundead

Bad Rap focuses on the perspectives of four Asian American rappers: Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy and Lyricks. Each has their own story, style and attitude, but they all share the same goal: to make it big. Yet they all encounter challenges in a culture that still expects them to fit the model minority stereotype.

With insight and appearances from Far East Movement, Jay Park, Jin, Traphik, Decipher, Kero One, The Fung Bros, Ted Chung and Oliver Wang, Bad Rap looks to shed light on the Asian American hip-hop culture and highlight the up-and-coming stars.

Salima Jaeki

Salima Koroma (left) and Jaeki Cho

As of now, Koroma and Cho are looking to add on their 40-minute film, and they are asking for support via Indiegogo. All proceeds will go towards adding more content to complete a 70-minute feature, as well as finalizing the film for its eventual premiere.

The idea for Bad Rap began with a “mutual obsession” with hip-hop. Koroma first reached out to Cho, who had written a piece on K-pop star G-Dragon when she was searching for a subject to cover for her thesis at Columbia University. Cho’s journey with hip-hop began with listening to Drunken Tiger when he was 10 years old, and that led to a career in music journalism.

Check out the trailer below, and follow the project on their Indiegogo page, as well as on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Traphik

Traphik (Timothy DeLaGhetto)

Jin

Jin

Jay Park

Jay Park

FEM

Far East Movement

Images via Bad Rap Film Indiegogo Page

lovexstereo

Lady Gaga Attends ‘K-Pop Night Out’ at SXSW, Headlined by Jay Park, HyunA

by JONATHAN CHA

K-pop fans were treated to the second manifestation of “K-Pop Night Out” on Tuesday night as part of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. One fan just happened to be one of the biggest acts in pop music.

Before the show, KoreAm was watching fans flock to a steadily growing line in front of the Elysium Nightclub that ran down Seventh Street; they could barely contain themselves waiting for the rockstar list of performers hailing from Korea. Despite the obvious disappointment about Kiha and the Faces’ last-minute cancellation due to visa issues, the remaining acts valiantly filled the void.

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Jambiani enthralled the crowd with their eclectic blend of haegeum, the piri and the geomungo with electric guitars and electronics. Nell delighted fans and newbies alike with their hit anthem, “Ocean of Light.” Hollow Jan took over for Kiha and the Faces. Designated by the dozen photogs and international press lining the back of the club as “Korea’s only screamo band” — or emotional hardcore punk augmented by screamed lyrics — the band won over a few new fans of their own.

Crying Nut continued the controlled chaos, rocking out with screaming guitars and an accordion occasionally played with a microphone. Yes, Kim Insoo smashed a microphone onto his accordion and used it as brilliantly as a cellist would a bow, just far more punk.

Idiotape followed by moving everyone in all directions with their synthesized dance beats, prompting an inspired electronic fan to scream out, “This is what Daft Punk should have done for Tron: Legacy!”

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Suddenly, the crowd went nuts as the “Goddess of Love” herself, Lady Gaga, moved to the front of the room amid a frenzy of reporters and cameras. After security ushered her to a riser behind the ticket booth, social media exploded with pride for Lady Gaga’s support of K-pop. The phones used to capture and record the Gaga experience sprouted like mushrooms and remained there for the rest of the show.

Jay Park, a former Gaga interviewer in 2009, confessed to a slight bout of fatigue following the familiar 14-hour flight to the States, but the Seattle native still managed to  electrify the stage. He danced, sang and rapped with his new AOMG label act, Loco, amid a steady stream of screams with the occasional swoon.

The night concluded with the first solo U.S. performance by 4minute’s HyunA. Only a total of 15 minutes, her four-song set featured the You Tube hit “Bubble Pop” that had Gaga moving a bit. Expect this showcase to monumentally expand K-pop curiosity in Austin and SXSW for many years to come.

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Photo via New York Times.