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

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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.

K-Pop Concerts Across America: A Year in Review

Photos via MTV K

by Linda Son

Last April, when a car pulled up to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, it became hard for those waiting in the crowd to breathe, let alone move, as throngs of young people flocked to the automobile.

The group of diehard fans of Korean pop music, or K-pop, whispered among themselves as they craned their necks and stood on tiptoes to get a clearer look into the car. “Who is it? Is it someone I know?” Their hopes were usually dashed as an average hotel guest would emerge from the car. But sometimes, the person in the car was actually the pop music celebrity they were waiting for to arrive and pandemonium would ensue.

The evenly dispersed group would transform into one enormous mass of people and many would find themselves being pushed into nearby strangers. Cameras would begin flashing and the air became filled with shouts of different Korean phrases: from simply calling out the artists’ name to declarations of love and adoration. Decked out in big sunglasses or hats to hide their makeup-less faces, the stars would try to make their way through the fans, sometimes stopping for a few autographs, never a picture, until their staff members or managers would usher them inside. When the star successfully made their way to the elevators, the crowd would simmer down until another car pulled up to the Sheraton, then the madness would start all over again and continue until the wee hours of the morning.

The hotel, famous for housing K-pop stars this time of year, sees this scene almost every April and this year was no exception to the fangirl madness as scores of people waited outside the Sheraton to catch a glimpse of their favorite singers. The reason? L.A.’s annual Korean Music Festival.

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Nine years in the making, KMF, as it’s known to many of its patrons, has featured top K-pop acts such as TVXQ, Girls Generation, Big Bang, Wonder Girls and Super Junior. This year, the Korea Times and other sponsors brought out Jay Park, 4Minute, G.NA, U-Kiss, Secret, Sistar, Baek Ji Young, K.Will and DJ DOC among other singers of trot music and traditional Korean music.

“There is much more excitement in seeing the band you love live than through a computer screen,” said Ann Yang, a first-time attendee of KMF. For much of the show, Yang was up on her feet, dancing and singing to the songs she knew, along with the thousands of other fans in attendance.

G.NA and DJ DOC’s own Kim Chan Ryul played hosts for the star-studded event, which was seen by thousands of people who traveled from all over North America and beyond.

K-pop garnered more attention in 2011 than ever before. YouTube announced its official categorization of K-pop as a genre on its music page, providing easy access to videos. This year also showed K-pop’s popularity in the United States where a number of concerts were held and dozens of Korean artists not only delighted their overseas fans but also performed to sold out crowds or at venues that were near capacity.

The Korean Music Festival used to be the only concert where North Americans could travel a reasonable distance to see K-pop artists perform live. These artists, however, are more frequently stopping by the U.S. to perform for their international fans.

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Photo Highlights from Unforgettable 2011

The staff here at KoreAm is still going over the thousands of photos from this past Saturday’s Unforgettable 2011 event, but we wanted to go ahead and share a couple with all of you dear readers. Stay tuned, as we will be uploading more complete galleries of photos from the red carpet, dinner program, and after party.

We’re also uploading many of the videos from the event on our YouTube channel here. Currently we just have profile videos of the award recipients, but soon we’ll have more videos from the actual live event itself.

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Wednesday's Link Attack: G-Dragon, Kim Jong Il, SAT Cheaters

‘Glee’ Roars Into the World of Tiger Moms, Dads and Cubs
Wall Street Journal

Count me among the legions of Asian American Gleeks who’ve been irritably waiting for show producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan to do something interesting with Harry Shum Jr.’s peripatetic footballer-turned-dance machine, Mike Chang. Really, RyBrI: After two years of back-bench toil as the mostly mute “Other Asian,” there isn’t a performer on the show who’s earned a turn in the spotlight more than Harry. And given the season-opener revelation that Chang is a senior, with little likelihood of sticking around on the show post-McKinley, this season could represent Shum’s final chance to shine.

A Closer Look: Back from Libya
The Daily Bruin (UCLA)

Chris Jeon reminisces about his time fighting in the Libyan revolution and living with rebels.

Rain’s final concert this Sunday
CNNGo

Weeping will ensue en masse this weekend, as South Korea’s biggest pop star and Stephen Colbert’s arch-nemesis, Rain, will perform in the public for the last time before enlisting in the South Korean military. The “Ninja Assassin” star’s free good-bye concert will be held on Sunday, October 9, as part of the Gangnam Fashion Festival 2011.

It is sure to be a tearful affair on both sides: “Concerts to me are like life on a smaller scale,” Rain told CNN Talk Asia in 2009. Rain begins his mandatory, 22-month, Republic of Korea Army service on Tuesday, October 11.

Big Bang’s G-Dragon caught smoking marijuana
allkpop

But did he inhale?

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Koreans make their mark in Fairfax
Fairfax Times (Va.)

When Steve Choi and his family moved to Virginia from South Korea in 1974, his sixth-grade classmates wanted to touch his hair, or challenge him to a fight–sometimes both.

“A lot of them had never even met an Asian before, so even my hair was very interesting to them,” said Choi, who now runs a highly successful food service company and serves as President of the Korean-American Association of the Washington Metro area, based in Annandale. “Everybody thought I was Bruce Lee- they wanted to fight me to see if I knew kung-fu.”

These days, Koreans are no longer the novelty they once were in the region. Korean immigration to the U.S. was negligible prior to 1970, but since that year some 973,450 South Koreans have obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. and the Washington, D.C. metro area has the third largest Korean population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York.

The Torrid Romantic Life of Kim Jong-il
Chosun Ilbo

Yun Hye-yong was a woman beyond the reach even of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Yun, the lead singer of Kim’s former favorite band Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, was brutally executed after she spurned Kim’s persistent advances and fell in love with another man.

Or so claims Chang Jin-song, an author formerly affiliated with the North Korean Workers’ Party, in “Kim Jong-il’s Last Woman.” Published in May, it is an epic poem that details Kim’s private life and inside story of his regime based on the true story of the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.

SAT cheaters
Korea Times

A famous SAT teacher in Korea was caught illegally discussing what was on the exam. He used the time difference between the United States and other countries to tell his students what will be on the test.

As students talked after the test, some of them, without noticing, told others that they had known what was going to be on the exam.

Since SAT scores are based on percentages, the other students felt this was unfair and reported the incident to the College Board. All the tests taken in Korea were voided and the efforts of those who actually worked hard came to naught.

However, the worst part starts here. As more and more people found out about the SAT teacher, more and more parents tried to send their kids to him so their children could attain high scores. It is shocking that some parents care more about children’s short-term goal of getting into a good college instead of looking to the distant future of their children.

Korean Official: US will endorse FTA with Korea by Oct. 21
Korea Times

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said Wednesday that the U.S. Congress is expected to give a final endorsement of a free trade agreement with Korea by Oct. 21 at the latest.

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na named ambassador for 2012 Winter Youth Games
AP via Washington Post

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na will help promote the first Winter Youth Games.

The IOC says the 21-year-old South Korean skater will join Olympic ski champions Lindsey Vonn and Benjamin Raich as an “ambassador” for the games, which will be held in Innsbruck, Austria, from Jan. 13-22.

Jay Park interview with channelAPA.com
channelAPA

Over the weekend at 2011 ISA LA, channelAPA.com had a chance to chat with Jay Park about his music and dance careers. With a huge following in both USA and Asia, we talk about opportunities for Asian Americans in both regions. He shared with us about his strategy straddling the East and West. Jay Park has already release several singles including Single Life, Demon, Bestie & Speechless. He’s even done several collabos like Clouds and Maybe One Day. He might not have an English album soon, but he’s working on new English tracks. In the meantime, he’ll be busy promoting his upcoming Korean film “Mr. Idol” and a Korean album in November.

Tuesday's Link Attack: Wendi Deng Murdoch, Hyuna, Jay Park

Wendi Deng more than just a pretty face at Rupert Murdoch’s side
New York Daily News

Check out the video of Rupert Murdoch’s wife defending his honor.

Wendi Deng’s first foray into the hacking scandal engulfing her media mogul hubby was a wild roundhouse right aimed the protester who tried to smush her husband with a pie.

Normally quiet and reserved, the pink blazer-clad wife of Rupert Murdoch quickly jumped to her feet and swung at comedian Jonnie Marbles as all hell broke loose as the media barron testified before Parliament in London.

She mostly missed and took a tumble — but it’s no surprise her first instinct was to protect her husband.

The fashionable 6-foot-tall beauty, born Wen Ge Deng in China, is the mogul’s third wife and the mother his two youngest children, Grace and Chloe.

‘Bubble Pop’ is the hottest jam in South Korea
CBS News

So you’re sitting at your computer, wondering, “What’s the hottest summer jam in South Korea right now?” Well, wonder no more. Introducing Hyuna and the infectious/ridiculous pop hit “Bubble Pop.”

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs New ‘Psycho-Opera’
Korean Beacon

After composing the songs from the film Where the Wild Things Are, Karen O (front woman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) is continuing to look for new ways to showcase her talent. She will be collaborating with playwright Adam Rapp to create a form of “psycho-opera, an assault on the tragic joys of youth,” reports Playbill.com.

North Korea’s Looming Famine
The Week

The secretive rogue nation is reportedly facing its deadliest food shortage in years. Why can’t Pyongyang feed its people?

K-pop fans to fly from U.S. for SNSD
Korea Herald

The Korea Tourism Organization said it was helping 103 U.S. fans of Korean pop visit the country to see a concert by girl group Girls’ Generation, attend two broadcasters’ K-pop TV shows and visit major tourist spots this week.

The KTO said the 103 fans from a K-pop fan community in Los Angeles asked the KTO’s branch in L.A. to help them attend a concert by Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD.

The Korea Herald noted that although the tourism board helped make arrangements, the U.S. fans are paying their own way.

Who Killed Jong Kim?
Patch.com

Eight months after his death, detectives hope surveillance tape of an unusual car will lead them to the Studio City, [Calif.] man’s killers.

Jung Ho Kim hopes to inspire Flint residents with his run for mayor
Flint Journal (Mich.)

Jung Ho Kim acknowledges he has no experience with public office and can’t speak English very well — but that hasn’t stopped him from running for mayor of Flint.

The native of South Korea said he entered the political ring this year to inspire other underdogs or anyone who wants to make a difference in their communities.

“I want to give them motivation and I want to give them hope,” Kim said in an interview from his beauty supply store in Flint. “If I do it then they can do it anytime.”

LA Beats SF at Korean Food
NBC Bay Area

Let’s be honest: The Bay Area has nothing on Los Angeles when it comes to Korean food. San Francisco’s Koreatown dwarfs in size to LA’s, and while there are pockets of mouthwatering Korean restaurants in the South Bay and Oakland, Los Angeles simply has more.

Korean immigrant, Long Beach businessman fulfills his American dream
Long Beach Press-Telegram (Calif.) via Contra Costa Times

Here’s a nice profile of a Korean American man who runs a dry-cleaning business in Long Beach, Calif.

But what it doesn’t tell you is what he has gone through to attain the quintessential American Dream, to provide greater opportunities for his family, to send his son to Stanford and then to Columbia for a Ph.D. and a current position in its research center, to send his daughter to UC Irvine.

Ariang TV profile of Jay Park a.k.a. Park Jaebeom

Jay Park's Official New Single: B.o.B. Collaboration On "Nothing On You"

After garnering more than 4 million views on his YouTube channel for his rendition of B.o.B.’s hit U.S. single, “Nothing On You,” Jay Park has just launched an official single of the song on Korean website Naver. “B.O.B (ft. JAY PARK) – Nothing on You, All for you guys,” he wrote on his Twitter today. “For all the Non Korean fans who don’t know where to get the song i will tell you as soon as i know aslo (sic) lol sorry.”

Park’s rendition of the video prompted the B.o.B. song to top the charts in South Korea just hours after it was released, beating out Girls’ Generation’s “Run Devil Run,” and also reaching #1 on other music sites such as MNET, Bugs, and Soribada.

And with over $300,000 made from the song, it is only considerate that B.o.B. return his thanks by officially featuring Jay Park on his Korean version of the song. Said to have been recorded in Taiwan while Park was there, the song is currently only available in Korea.

Not only was the song released for purchase, one of the first videos of Jay Park officially interviewed by the Korean media was shot. “Hello, this is Park Jay Bum. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you but I’ll see you guys really soon,” he said succinctly to the camera. Sporting a Dumbfoundead t-shirt –after collaborating with the L.A.-based rapper a few weeks ago–with a fitted cap, the 23-year-old looked ever-ready to make his big debut back to South Korea, but will the fans come to his support?

The K-Poppin’ Question: Will you download Jay Park’s latest single? And do you think he’ll succeed again in the Korean music industry? Comment below!

Is It Finally Time For Jay Park's Triumphant Return?

These days it looks as if Jay Park—former leader of JYP’s 2PM—doesn’t need the group to secure his career in the entertainment industry after all! After months of hiding from the general public, a very busy hard-bodied Park was spotted in a “coming out” performance at Rutgers University earlier in April. Then were his YouTube videos of the 22-year-old singing B.o.B’s hit, “Nothing On You,” which received an impressive 4.3 million views! Following that success later in April, Allhiphop.com reported that famed producer, Teddy Riley–who worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, and Amerie– would helm the performer’s upcoming album. With a starring role already in South Korea’s future film, Hype Nation, the young talent is already on his way to reclaim the top spot he left. To watch more from Jay Park, check out his newest YouTube video–his rendition of the cheesy “Bedrock”–posted earlier this week below! Bonus: Jay even puts his own personal information at the end of the video. Tell us, K-Poppers: Do you think Jay Park will have a good reception back in Korea? How about in the States? Sound off!