AOMG Official has partnered with MBN to launch a new competition show to find the next generation of great hip-hop talent in South Korea.
MBN and AOMG Official are collaboration to discover the next generation of South Korean hip-hop artists in the form of a competition survival show. For the new program called “SighHere,” the show will look to find the artists that are extremely talented rappers, vocalists, or producers. In particular, they are looking for people who are well-rounded with both basic production and performance skills.
Artists from AOMG Official including Jay Park, who is the CEO of the label, Simon Dominic, Gray, Code Kunst, Woo Won-jae and more, will join the program as team leaders. The leaders will try to recruit members who will compete against opposing teams in the show. Further, if they struggle to get people on their side, they themselves may have to step into the competition which is a facet that is raising expectations.
On top of that, it is noteworthy this is the first program headed by producer Nam Sung-hyun, who transferred from KBS to MBN. Previously, Nam worked on “Hyena on the Keyboard” and assisted in the creation of the hit collaboration song “Don’t Give it to Me” by Loco and MAMAMOO Hwasa.
Meanwhile, “SignHere” will premeier during the first half of the year.
Dean is a writer, singer, an aficionado of artistic picture-taking for Instagram. Besides that, he might be apart of a trend of non-idol South Korean artists looking outside the country for musical freedom.
It had been over a year since Dean released his iconic song “Instagram” that topped charts for weeks before giving way to iKON’s “Love Scenario.”
Prescient in its content and evocative in its narrative, it was a song that stood out on Korean music charts that are usually inundated with songs about love. Similar to its monochromatic video, it had a belied simplicity regarding the complex set of qualities that come into play when one uses social media including but not limited to addiction and depression.
It had a subtle depth — just enough to provoke (a comfortable amount of) thought and was general enough to make it relatable. Further, Ginza, a magazine out of Japan, described the song as ” inspired by the millennial generation,” and as a millennial, myself — though I don’t engage in social media that much because of the abovementioned effects — it is easily one of my favorite Korean songs from the past year.
However, since the release of the song, Dean seems more absent than present. His occasional updates on social media breathe life and anticipation into his fan base and he did release a song called “Dayfly” on different music sites in November.
Additionally, even with the beautiful melody, smooth vocals, and the meaningful lyrics, it didn’t feel like Dean was back; it was not a comeback. So when is Dean coming back and what has he been up to?
According to a social media post, the singer is working on a new album titled 130: mood: RVNG that he is dedicating more time to write, compose, and produce. Moreover, as he works on this album, Dean is also experiencing a personal transformation where he is ridding himself of the idea that he could only show his “perfect and good side to the world,” afraid of being branded after an unfortunate slip of the tongue. In turn, he is acknowledging his “badness, stupidity, weakness, and the dark shadows” of his past.
Interestingly, as he grows personally and musically, he seems to do so mostly outside of South Korea and instead is finding solace someplace in London. Perusing his Instagram account, the singer looks to be out of his native country for months at a time. In his posts, he appears to spend much of his time in England, with short forays elsewhere, working on music, collaborating with artists, and generally living his best life.
At the same time, I see an emerging trend where independent non-idol artists are finding freedom and solace outside of the Korean entertainment market. Similar to Jay Park who is working on expanding in the U.S., like Dok2 who moved to Los Angeles late last year, and alternative rock group Hyukoh that released an all English album last year and is currently on tour, it seems like Korean artists are looking to find their voice and music made and heard outside a system tipped heavily in favor of political correctness, cookie-cutter idols, and deep-pocketed companies.
On the other hand, it could be that other industries are now ready for Asian artists.
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)
This goes beyond the beer nuts and pretzels you’ll find at your local dive bar, Koreans have a whole category of drinking food, or anju (안주), that is a perfect accompaniment to your choice of drink whether that be beer, soju, or makgeolli.
Rapper, singer, and CEO of AOMG Music Jay Park breaks down some of the most common anju in the video below.
With the release of his “Show Me The Money” track “Good Day” rapper pH-1 headed straight for the number one spot on every music chart.
In 2015 pH-1 made his debut in the independently created “Sugoi” which he uploaded on YouTube. The next year, he released the solo track “Perfect” however it wasn’t until 2017 that his audience expanded. Now, signed to H1GHER MUSIC, the rapper featured on one of Jay Park’s lesser known, but very good song titled “Love My Life,” which didn’t even have a music video.
On the song, pH-1’s unique cadence and naturally quick flow felt energetic and added nuance to the song. However, since his debut, the rapper has not seen the success and recognition that others under the Higher Music label have gained in the same amount of time.
In late August the rapper took to Twitter to vent some of his frustrations.
Looking at the Tweet now it almost seems prolific; in a little over a month’s time, pH-1 has transitioned from an outlier to outperformed the majority of artists who have come out with music this year.
His “perfect all-kill” a signifier that he has reached number one on all of South Korea’s major music sites, is particularly telling in that few have achieved the feat since a policy change implemented in summer.
Rapper Woo Won-Jae is not afraid to reveal the details of his life to his fans.
On October 3 broadcast of MBC “Radio Star,” Woo Won-Jae appeared as a guest and opened up honestly about the details of his life. The rapper proudly revealed that he has a girlfriend and also confidently talked about struggling through various mental illness.
First, when the hosts asked him about the romantic aspect of his life, the rapper did not hesitate for a second to reveal that he has a girlfriend. Woo Won-Jae said, “I didn’t have a girlfriend when I was doing the pre-interview for “Radio Star.” We were broken up at the time, but we recently got back together.”
Then, the hosts asked if he worried that his fans would not like the fact that he is in a romantic relationship. In response, the rapper said, “my fans actually like that I’m honest about everything. I think that’s better than lying to them.”
The rapper’s announcement caught everyone by surprise. It is not easy for a rookie rapper to so easily admit to have a girlfriend. It could lead up to many different scenarios, the worst being the fans leaving him. However, he was confident because he firmly believed that going public with his relationship was better than lying to fans. Further, he asserted that he would take responsibility for his honesty.
His honesty did not stop at the romantic aspect of his life. Woo Won-Jae continued to reveal that he is currently undergoing medication for several mental illness. The rapper said, “I’m taking medication for anxiety and panic attack. For me, it’s just like going through a cold. I need to be okay with talking about it to other people nonchalantly. Then, I would finally realize that it’s okay to be mentally ill. I realize it’s not serious and it will be cured with medication.”
Meanwhile, Woo Won-Jae gained much popularity through Mnet’s “Show Me the Money 6” in 2017. Afterwards, he signed an exclusive contract with AOMG that also houses famous rappers, such as Jay Park and Loco.
A post made by Hyuna’s stylist on social media sparked speculation that the singer is ready to sign a contract with another company.
Ever since singer Hyuna revealed her relationship with Pentagon member E’Dawn, she was thrust into a spotlight that burned hotter and brighter than before.
With a long-established career in the music industry and loyal fanbase, Hyuna has been quiet but has continued to work through the storm that followed the revelation. As such, she has been able to weather through the situation with relatively little damage considering how much attention the singers’ relationship has received.
However, the situation with Cube Entertainment, a label she has been with for over a decade, might never be the same. On September 13, Cube Entertainment released a statement informing the public that it would expel both Hyuna and E’Dawn from the company due to issues with trust. After a backlash from both fans, stockholders, and officials within the company Cube Entertainment flip-flopped and said they had not made a decision yet.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Hyuna has not made any special announcements. Reportedly, only a few people are in contact with the singer and aids are waiting for her to make her next move once she settles her thoughts. Although, Hyuna has not indicated what she will do given the situation speculation arose that she will likely move to hip-hop label AOMG due to a photo her stylist posted.
In the past few days, Hyuna’s stylist posted the phrase “Let’s do well” along with a card embossed with the AOMG logo on social media. Afterward, rumors spread that she would be moving to the agency in light of her relationship with Cube Entertainment souring. Additionally, entertainment officials have speculated that once everything is settled that Hyuna will not choose to stay with the company.
Moreover, some fans have even supported the rumor pointing to AOMG CEO Jay Park’s 2015 music video for the song “You Know” featuring Okasian. On the other hand, AOMG released a statement saying that what the stylist posted is “completely unrelated to Hyuna” and points out that stylist can change work or have multiple clients.
Nevertheless, many fans have expressed excitement at the possibility that Hyuna may find a new home at the hip-hop company.
Meanwhile, Cube Entertainment will hold a board meeting sometime this week to make a final decision.
HAON was the winner of the second season of “High School Rapper” and later signed a deal with AOMG. With his debut song “NOAH,” featuring Jay Park and Hoody, the rapper sets the stage for his professional career.