In a recent interview with MTV, musician and businessman Jay Park hints that he is looking to be the first Asian-American hip-hop music mogul. As a pioneer not only in Korean music but music overall, it is not a question of whether he has what it takes, but if the U.S. is ready for someone like him.
It is easy to talk about Jay Park’s accomplishments. Since going solo he has released dozens of songs, and featured on even more; started AOMG and H1GHR Music entertainment labels which house some of Korea’s greatest hip-hop talent; judges contestants on Asia’s Got Talent; Vice cited him as driving the change in South Koreans’ perception of tattoos; became the first Asian-American to be signed to Roc Nation, and performs all over the world.
At this point, he already is a mogul, particularly in South Korea where the majority of his business endeavors flourish.
Even so, Park felt that he has “reached a plateau” in the Asian country, Park has gradually dedicated more energy to his English-language music and other activities in the U.S., as much as it is a new endeavor and stage in his career, it is also a homecoming.
While the Seattle born artist is from the U.S., he sees a lot of parallels with his experiences in Sout Korea. In particular, as it was when he first when to South Korea, entering the American music market has yielded much the same: there is no one really like him doing what he is doing.
While he was a westerner in K-pop when it was still unusual, being an Asian-American in the hip-hop industry today is probably even more trying. The U.S. has a deeply ingrained and longstanding stereotype of Asian men as well, not men. They are (wrongfully) emasculated, seen as feminine, and “model minorities” who are seen are nerd or goofs.
Hip-hop remains a genre and lifestyle that champions hyper-masculinity. It is not by accident that even female rappers like Nikki Minaj uses male genitalia to exert power and dominance as in her song “Stupid Hoe” where she raps “Ice my wrist’s and I piss on bitches/ You can suck my dick, if you take this jizz-ez.” Emasculation, feminized men, and the model minority trope are all still antithetical to most of the hip-hop community.
While shifts in society and influx of diverse voices have served to chip away at the stereotype, it is still a huge reason why there are no prominent Asian-American faces in the U.S. hip-hop community.
Jay is hard working a good businessman who has built himself up from the bottom. There is no doubt that he has the know-how and the drive to create something in the U.S. However, it will be much harder to change deeply entrenched ideas that Asian men have no place in the hip-hop community.
All images are courtesy of Jay Park’s Instagram (@jayparkitrighthere)
Rapper pH-1 is going to release a new album where fans “get all of [him]” this time around.
“No features. you (sic) get all of me this time,” rapper pH-1 said on an Instagram post announcing the release of a new album.
According to the post, there will two songs on the album Staying. Notably, one of them will be one of the songs he performed on “Show Me the Money 777,” called “Homebody.” The other in “It’s a Crowd” (literal translation). Before this announcement, the rapper released a teaser video where the songs could be heard.
Moreover, with producer Thurxday producing both albums, many have high expectations. The producter has worked with the likes of Jay Park and Sik-K, who are both apart of H1GHR MUSIC records.
Meanwhile, pH-1 was a contestant on the most recent season of hit hip-hop program “Show Me the Money” where he performed “Homebody” for his second performance. It proved to be a hit with both the crowd and the judges. Staying will be released this Saturday at 6 p.m.
The red lighting of the video helps to set the stage for the raw and raging tone of Simon D’s “Me No Jay Park.”
In the song, Simon D leaves himself exposed as he raps about comparisons between himself and fellow rapper and label owner Jay Park. There are a lot of notable and emotional lines where he mentions greed, ambition (or the lack thereof), and Park’s consistency and work ethic. More than a song, the lyrics, and momentum of it plays more like a confession, or as the rapper says at one verse a “resignation letter.”
It is clear within the first two minutes of the first part of Jay Park’s interview with “VladTV” that it is an utter failure. Not because of Park, but because of the interviewer.
The person, called Vlad, who remains unseen but heard by the camera, meanders from awkward question (“Are your parents born in Korea? Er, um are they second generation…?) to grossly tone death (“Do they have thick accents?”) that neglected to tell a story of Jay Park as an individual and as an artist. The reason for the failure is simple: Vlad failed to follow the basic tenets of journalism.
At its core, journalism is storytelling. A journalist gathers information from different sources and are suppose to compose an unbiased article that informs, entertains, inspires, and engages the reader or in this case, the viewer.
However, as many in the comments section say, the interview was awkward at best with Jay Park providing very workable information but getting little back from Vlad but mono-syllable responses before he moves to the next question. It is clear that Vlad did not adequately prepare or research who and what Jay Park does.
Now, this does not mean having their phone number or becoming acquainted with their friends and family. Instead, it refers to being familiar with the subject’s work, history, and current projects. Or as Columbia University has under their “Interview Principles,” “prepare carefully, familiarizing yourself with as much background as possible.”
English journalist Mark Lawson who worked as a BBC reported specializing in art and entertainment presented a few interview tips for BBC’s Journalism Academy. Using a meeting he had with prolific novelist Iain Banks, as a starting point he talks about how he prepares for interviews and creates questions.
Noticing that Banks generally releases a book every year and at times twice a year, he observed an uncharacteristic long gap between publications and asked him about it. Asking the question provided a lengthy and informative answer regarding different projects and life events that probably would not have come about had Lawson not known his subject.
Certainly, Vlad does seem to have a general timeline of Jay Park’s music career and interests including B-Boying, being apart of 2PM, and his Myspace controversy, but poses questions so loose and broad that Park has to choose between rambling or giving a short, curt response. Good questions are the backbone of an interview; they are used as the building blocks for the story the journalist is telling.
In particular, great questions can lead to great answers which can turn into a great conversation which then leads to more information. Vlad did not have good questions. However, given that he did not properly conduct research, how could he create relevant and elucidating questions?
In the second part of the interview, Vlad brings up the rapper’s Myspace comments that described South Korea as “gay.” To be exact, Vlad said, “there were some comments on Myspace that upset a lot of people.”
In response, Jay Park provides a long, indirect, and rambling answer where he summarizes what happened and explains why he wrote the comment and concludes on a positive note of having learned from the experience in just under a minute (00:10 – 00:56). As Park later comments, he has “talked about this like a thousand times,” and as such has already created a formulaic response.
If Vlad had instead started off by prefaced his Myspace comment observation with an intent to question, “I want to ask you about an incident you had involving the social media site Myspace,” for example, it would have allowed him to pace Park’s answer and possibly extract new information on the matter.
Furthermore, following this with a question such as “what was going on at that time that motivated you to write those comments?” could have helped to guide the rapper in forming an answer that addressed and exposed different issues or situations he had at the time. It is painfully clear that Jay Park wants this to be a good interview and is overcompensating with his answers to make up for the lack of direction and intent in the questions asked.
Interviews in the West
The problems that plague Park’s interview with Vlad are also, unfortunately, present in many different interviews that K-pop artists have with western media. Actually, in comparison, Park’s time on VladTV is not that bad — at least they touched on his music. Many of the interviews that BTS had leading up to their American Music Awards appearance were watered down that on the group as quirky and focused on fun-facts rather than seeing them as a musical group.
More often then not, it just seems that in general Western media outlet do not consider K-pop groups to be true “artists.” As such, they are not treated in the same way. Imagine if Jay-Z, a rapper that many see as a legitimate artist, sat down for either of these shows. Would Vlad ask where his parents were born or what his lucky charm is? Maybe, but questions like that would not make up the majority of the interview.
However, what irks me about the Jay Park interview, in particular, is that he is not considered a K-pop artist by anyone familiar with his music. Moreover, he is Korean-American and is releasing music under Roc Nation as an American artist, so why is he being treated like he isn’t from the U.S.? There are many possible reasons why these interviewers view K-pop stars as illegitimate artists or don’t dedicate time to adequately prepare for interviews. Unfortunately, that is a subject that can’t be covered in this article alone.
Nonetheless, just from a journalistic perspective, artists should be given the same respect regardless of our perception of them. Let them talk about music, their songs, and inspirations and take the time to ask questions that allow them to do so.
Multi-talented artist Jay Park has joined the elite line-up for this year’s Made in America music festival.
On June 4, Jay Park took to social media to encourage fans to purchase tickets to this year’s Made in America music festival and for good reason too.
Not only will Park be in the line-up, but rappers Nicki Minaj and Post Malone will be the headliners of the event. Other artists on the show’s bill include Meek Mill, Janelle Monae, Zedd, Miguel, TY Dolla $ign. Further, there are also many more hand-picked, independent talent that will grace the stage.
Further, the festival will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia from September 1-2. Fans can purchase tickets on ticketmaster.com. The event was created and is supported by Jay-Z’s music streaming site Tidal and sponsored by Budweiser.
On another note, Park recently released his first single “Soju” under Roc Nation and is doing promotions now. Moreover, as part of the promotion cycle, Park appeared on “Sway in the Morning” where he dropped a sizzling three-minute freestyle.
When news of H1GHR MUSIC guesting on “Weekly Idol” first went public, many speculated what the hip-hop stars — who don’t fit the traditional idol image — would do on the show.
The May 31 episode of “Weekly Idol” marked the first time that artists from the label H1GHR MUSIC have appeared on the variety program. During the episode, the attending rappers including pH-1, Woodie GoChild, Sik-K, HAON, and Woogie all had an opportunity to perform their latest song or, in the case of HAON, freestyle.
Besides these individual performances, the guest also participated in a variety of activities, with one of the games being a kind of “rapper charades.” For the Animal Farm Speed Quiz segment Sik-k, pH-2, Woodie GoChild, and Woogie had to guess a famous K-rapper from clues acted out by HAON. Check out the clip below and see if you can tell which artists HAON is acting out. Answers are below the video.
Multi-talented artist Jay Park appeared on hip-hop radio show “Sway in the Morning” where he freestyled for a full three minutes.
As part of his promotion cycle for his debut single “Soju” under Roc Nation, Jay Park appeared on the pivotal hip-hop radio show “Sway in the Morning.” The hosts for the show are famous and notorious for upholding the standards of hip-hop, specifically in their ability to honor the principals, understand, and create quality hip-hop music.
During the show, Jay Park talked about how he does not consider himself as part of Kpop in the popular understanding of the term, but as simply an artist. However, to prove himself as a hip-hop artist, he was asked to step to the mic and spit a freestyle. The result? A three-minute freestyle of pure fire. Check it out above.
Reportedly, multiple artists from the hip-hop label H1GHR MUSIC will appear on a future episode of “Weekly Idol.”
According to multiple sources, “Highschool Rapper 2” winner Kim Ha-on, better known as HAON, and additional artist from H1GHR MUSIC are set to appear on an episode of “Weekly Idol.”
The other artists are reportedly pH-1, Woodie GoChild, Sik-K, and producer Woogie. Moreover, the recording for the episode apparently took place on May 21 and will air on May 30.
This is the first time that the artist will appear on “Weekly Idol,” which is drawing attention and anticipation. Furthermore, since they are not traditional idols, fans are speculating on what kind of activities the host and show producers will have.
HAON, real name Kim Ha-on, decides to build a nest at global hip-hop label H1GHR MUSIC.
On May 11, H1GHR MUSIC released a funny video clip showing CEO Jay Park recruiting Kim, on its official social media channels. Notably and hilariously, Park asks Kim which rappers under the label he likes. In response, Kim names almost every rapper except Jay Park resulting in a hilarious situation. Even funnier is how awkward they are together.
When “High School Rapper 2” ended last month, news emerged that Kim was discussing a possible contract with the label. However, later that day H1GHR MUSIC confirmed they were in contact with the rapper, but also mentioned that they had not established anything yet.
Moreover, earlier this week AOMG, another independent music label founded by Jay Park, announced that would be introducing a new member. Many speculated that they would be introducing HAON, but the label denied this. Instead, they introduced UFC fighter Jung Chan-sung.
Meanwhile, Kim demonstrated rap skills that dominated the competition of “High School Rapper 2” leading many to wonder where he would go afterward. Now that he is officially signed to H1GHR MUSIC, he joins such artists as Groovy Room, Woodie Gochild, pH-1, Sik-K, and more.
Further, in a statement regarding the recruitment, a label official said that they will “provide full support” to develop Kim into a hip-hop artist representing Korea. HAON is reportedly working on his debut single with the aim of releasing it this month.