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)
Earlier this month Jay Park released the audio for his debut singer ‘Soju’ under Roc Nation. Now, the artist has released the long awaited music video.
Since the release of his song, Park has been on a promotional run around the U.S. As part of his planned activities, he appeared of the quintessential hip-hop radio show “Sway in the Morning,” where he spit a hot freestyle, and has an interview with VladTV.
Additionally, Park also joined the line-up for the Made in America music fesitval.
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.
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.
Singer, rapper, and CEO Jay Park is gearing up to release his new music under Roc Nation.
According to multiple reports, Park already recorded his new single. More, the artist reportedly finished concluded filming the accompanying music video last month, featuring U.S. rapper 2 Chainz. Furthermore, Park said intended to release his upcoming song simultaneously worldwide. With his U.S. debut on the horizon, many are honing in to see the results of his efforts.
Last year, Park signed a monumental deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation music label. In particular, with the agreement, he became the first Asian American artist under the label. Other notable artists associated with Roc Nation include J.Cole, Mariah Carey, and DJ Khaled. Regarding this event, an official from AOMG, Jay Parks own label in Korea, said that they would “find support to release albums as well as management,” in the U.S.
Meanwhile, AOMG is also gearing up to unveil their newest member on May 9. As a result of the news, many speculate that the new addition is “Highschool Rapper 2” winner HAON (Kim Ha-on). A few weeks ago, reports emerged that AOMG had approached the young rapper and were discussing a possible contract. However, on May 7, the label said that this was incorrect.
The newly released mini-documentary delves into what Jay Park has worked on for the past for years culminating in his first solo concert. Through a series of interviews of those who work closest with the artists, viewers glean an idea of the man behind the name.
Jay Park dines and drinks with some of the biggest names in music.
On January 27 AOMG CEO and Rapper Jay Park (real name Jaebum Park), posted photos of a Roc Nation event in New York. Roc Nation is an American entertainment company founded by rapper Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) in 2008. More, the company manages some of the biggest names in hip-hop and music. These artists include Rihanna, Jay-Z, J.Cole, Shakira, DJ Khaled, and most recently Jay Park.
Artists from the entertainment industry gathered in New York for a pre-grammy brunch. With so many big names around Jay Park took the opportunity to document the event through his Instagram. In one photo he is seen alongside singer Beyonce captioned with one word: “Queen!.”
Further, in a second photo, he posed with the CEO of Roc Nation himself Jay Park. Regarding the picture, Jay wrote, “The most swagged out man I’ve ever seen in my life.”
In addition to the Beyonce and Jay-Z, Jay Park also took selfies with Yo Gotti, Swizz Beats, Big Sean, Diddy, Remy Ma, Fat Joe, and Jayden Smith.