Korean Hip Hop Party
April 3, 2009 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Dynamic Duo do an attendance check, DJ Doc run to you with Epik High and Younha's help, Epik High and Younha love love love, Buga Kingz hear a siren, Drunken Tiger has a good life with T (윤미래) and bizzy, and Dynamic Duo check whether you're solo and still here!
posted by needled (23 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
That brown sound sho' do get around.
posted by longsleeves at 11:21 PM on April 3, 2009

The first vid is a spot-on parody of everything you'd see on Korean television on a given evening.
posted by bardic at 11:39 PM on April 3, 2009


I'm fairly familiar with Chinese-language television, and I'm actually quite familiar with Dynamic Duo's previous work. However, could you help point out some of the more Korea-specific elements of the parody? Do you know whether the video contains Dynamic Duo-specific elements?
posted by Sangermaine at 1:45 AM on April 4, 2009

can't say I know what's going on these days with korean hip hop, but my 2 cent recollections include Seotaji & boyz in 1995 and Hyun Jin Young in 1992 and Duex in 1993. The 80's came late to Korea. It might be argued they are not really hip hop in the musically genre sense, but there are elements. Not that I'm a K-pop scholar or anything.
posted by slyrabbit at 2:22 AM on April 4, 2009

needled - thanks all the K-pop love you're sending out.
posted by slyrabbit at 2:23 AM on April 4, 2009

Oh boy! I went to live in Korea shortly after I turned 11 (eh... -ish) and DJ Doc was just about all that was in my walkman at the time. This brings me back. Skateboarding around every parking garage in Seoul. Being trouble in Samsung Plaza. The public buses. Scary, tattooed gangsters in Incheon. Ajuma taking me to all the Seojong memorials. The museums. Especially the outdoor museum. The subways! And playing awesome subway games (running out and buying something from a vendor before your train leaves without you... almost impossible with as little Korean as I had). Being scared-to-god-damned-death of ghosts. Camping near the DMZ. Escaping at night and hiking to the DMZ, only to get lost and rescued. Attending high-school for a day (never, never, never, ever again...) as the only white-skinned blond-haired boy. And being swarmed by the girls and loathed by the guys. Daytime television in a language you barely understand. The ubiquitous and terrifying U.S. military.

I honestly can't believe my Mom let me travel and stay there alone. At all, but especially for as long as she did. Long enough that by the time I returned I felt more like a stranger here in the U.S. than I did my entire stay there. The family I lived with honestly became family and although its been close to 10 years since I've seen or even spoken to a few of them, I still have a deep love for each of them. I miss them. Ouch.

So many incredible stories.

But uh... DJ Doc!

Thanks for this post. You brought back to my mind a part of my life that I remember much too infrequently. And I am fonder of it than anything.

I need to go back.
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 2:53 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Does anyone know the show that is being referenced at 1:37 in the first link? I think I remember watching it (or something similar) during my stay there. It was kind of a drama-horror that usually took place in Korean history....
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 2:58 AM on April 4, 2009

I know I'm derailing and I'm sorry...

... but another one of my favorites (and I know it isn't current) was Cherry Filter.

Here is a youtube example of their song 파리 (Fly).
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 3:07 AM on April 4, 2009

I've only lived here about six months, and my Korean is very limited but as for the first link:

1:37 looks like a standard historical drama/soap-opera. Pretty common. Followed up by a baduk (Korean version of go) show, which I've seen a few times. Lots of home shopping shows. A commercial prominently featuring a baby (babies can sell anything here). A "learn English" show. The "fitness instructor" would actually be a late-night weekend show. (I was pretty surprised to see bewbs and sex on TV here, albeit late at night.)

Like I said, I can read hangul (Korean alphabet) buy my vocabulary is really limited. Fun video though. Even funnier if you've seen some Korean TV.

Here's the Dynamic Duo vid. for "Ring My Bell," which also spoofs on television (Koren and otherwise). Good times. Definite Beastie Boys/Spike Jonze influence as well.
posted by bardic at 3:49 AM on April 4, 2009

ifthe21stcentury, you may be thinking of 전설의 고향 (Home of legends). I mostly remember it for its remarkable unscariness and the sheer number of wronged women who show up as ghosts with their hair hanging over their faces. Oh, and the always popular fox with nine tails.
posted by needled at 5:39 AM on April 4, 2009

I'm loving these Korean music threads, needled. But I got some questions.

Scary, tattooed gangsters in Incheon.

So did they ever create any kind of Kkang-peh Rap in Korea? This stuff is all a bit like the Beastie Boys vs Vanilla Ice. Though I have to say, those Korean gangsters look like they'd prefer that terrible music they always seem to sing in the Kareoke places.

And do the teachers really make kids stand in stress positions in schools, holding their shoes above their heads, or beating them on the backs with those great fat poles, or does that just happen in the movies?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:16 AM on April 4, 2009

Child abuse by Korean teachers is a well-known thing.

Complicated issue, but there are some links to start with.
posted by bardic at 6:27 AM on April 4, 2009

Wow, that's terrible. I assumed, in Spirit of Jeet Can Do, that those boys get beaten with the big sticks because its military school in the 70's, but one of those links has a cellphone clip of a teacher doing the same thing to teenage girls. And I'm always struck by how the head gangsters seem to slap their minions about the face repeatedly, but here's a teacher doing the same thing to a teenage kid!

I'll stop derailing, but thanks for the links. I've been curious about this for ages.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:15 AM on April 4, 2009

Love the Segueway driving in that one video.

Cherry Filter....there are not words. It's like Lydia Lunch inhabiting Miley Cyrus.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:27 AM on April 4, 2009

So...uh. Is this cultural appropriation or not?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:54 AM on April 4, 2009

This is nuts! Thank you for sharing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2009

I'm partial to Cherry Filter's 낭만 고양이 (translates to something like "Romantic Cat"?)

(and here's Younha on "1000 song challenge" tackling 낭만 고양이. oh what the heck, more younha on "1000 song challenge" flubbing the lyrics to "Maria", a song from the 200 Pounds Beauty soundtrack. "1000 songs challenge" is a long-running Korean tv show where Korean celebrities compete on karaoke. There's a karaoke machine with 1000 songs, and the contestant calls out a number, and must sing whatever song corresponds to that number.)
posted by needled at 9:46 AM on April 4, 2009

And do the teachers really make kids stand in stress positions in schools, holding their shoes above their heads, or beating them on the backs with those great fat poles, or does that just happen in the movies?

PeterMcDermott, my own personal experience is that it's just something that happens in the movies. But I am fully aware that this does not generalize to all students in Korea. Going to school in Daegu is different than going to school in Seoul, and going to school in one of the wealthier Gangnam neighborhoods in Seoul is different from attending school in one of the poorer neighborhoods north of the Han River.

Things to take into account are the particular time period, the school locale, and the socioeconomic status of the students. In general severe punishment of children is rare at the elementary school level, and something like standing holding shoes above one's head is something I never saw while attending a private elementary school in Seoul. Regarding time periods, one brother experienced some severe corporal punishment during his junior high and high school years even at his highly-ranked school. By the time another brother, eight years younger, started junior high, this type of punishment was pretty rare. In the high school I attended in the Gangnam area of Seoul, parents would have had the teachers' heads on pikes if abuse of the type described in bardic's link had been inflicted on their children. I don't think this is limited to Korea, but in general it will be rare for children with wealthy highly-educated parents in one of the "good" schools to get slapped around by teachers. On the other hand, and this is something I saw at my high school, if you're one of the few disadvantaged students in this environment you can end up bearing the brunt of whatever stresses the teacher happens to be experiencing. I remember some of my high school teachers experiencing culture shock that behavior that had been perfectly acceptable at their previous schools (boys' schools north of the river) was now grounds for parental complaints and admonitions from the principal at this new-fangled girls' school.

Korean movies, especially the ones that make it overseas, show only a selective slice of Korean life. The boring middle class people with their boring middle class lifes somehow never seem to make it on screen :)
posted by needled at 10:05 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

slyrabbit, did you check out these links?
posted by needled at 10:10 AM on April 4, 2009

Thanks for that, needled. It does make sense -- and probably isn't that much different to the way things have changed here in the UK.

The boring middle class people with their boring middle class lifes somehow never seem to make it on screen.

Or if they do, it's only because a middle class life is really a secret cover for someone who actually controls a gang of hoodlums, and by the end of the movie, you know they're going to get their comeuppance with the poles and the pipes and the kicking in the face. :-)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:53 AM on April 4, 2009

Corporal punishment was pretty run of the mill in my all girls high school in the mid 90's, as well as endurance punishments such as raising your out stretched arms above your head, kneeling on top of your desk with arms about your head, standing out in the (baking hot) sun for an hour, and everyone's favorite; the invisible chair. While some of the penalizing singled out problem students to serve as an example and hopefully deterrent, much of the disciplining was wholesale. This is probably a cultural thing.

There was one teacher who was mightly pissed off for a minor greivance and made the whole class line up to get 2 hard swings on the bottom from her "love stick". There were about 50 kids and the stick broke in half around a quarter through. She made the class president get her back up.

Really really sorry to derail on such a nice post, but to this day I think of the 3 years I spent in high school as hell on earth.

But my younger cousins seem to have a easier time.
posted by slyrabbit at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately I've never found a video of this with an English dub, but to talk about hip hop in Korea you really have to Seo Taiji Boys and in particular the archival video of when they performed on Korean television for the first time. Note that this is in 1992. Not that long ago in the grand scheme of things honestly. The interesting thing to note is all the judges (a composer, a lyricist, an entertainment critic as well as one of the most popular singer/performers at the time, Chun Yung-rok) at the time gave them pretty harsh criticism telling them that basically they were all noise and no substance. The composer basically tells them "oh it's the style of that rap that's popular nowadays...I mean it has a great beat but the melody kind of sucks" and the host even says "seo taiji listen well." The lyricist tells them straight up that while its new, but the message isn't all new or great and again the host tells them to take this criticism to heart. The critic even compares them to NKOTB's recent performance in the country using it as an example to say that such dancing is distracting from the actual music. Chun Yung-rok criticizes them in a sort of passive-aggressive way telling them saying that he won't say anything bad since the ultimate decision is by the audience. In a way, you could argue that maybe Chun's criticism wasn't really passive-aggressive and was more prophetic because he recognized this was the new sound on the ground and didn't want to say so in the face of what popular culture was. The criticisms are especially pointed as if talking down to some kids who were trying out something that the parents weren't too keen on but basically letting them go through with it in hopes that they would fail. Little did they know the force of nature this group would become.

Compare that lukewarm response to merely a year later when Seo Taiji is performing "Hayoga" from their second album on a popular music program. The crowd enthusiasm, the stage presence. Even the informational subtitle going underneath the around 3:09 is a starkly different from the lukewarm response from their entertainment elders in 1992. It hails their second album as a great example in experimenting musical and that they are creating a huge wave of influence in the musical world. Even funnier is the admission that "the second album surpasses the first...proving they aren't just the new flavor for the teen crowd." You know what, maybe the criticism they received early on did play a part, but for those who were witnessing them at the time, it sounds almost like retconning, smug, pat on the back. Like "We knew they'd do well, they just needed a little guidance."

I especially loved this performance of Hayoga because of how Seo Taiji gets the guys together at 1:55 and they all go out to bow to their fans to show them their appreciation.
posted by kkokkodalk at 3:50 PM on April 4, 2009

And just to say, for those not familiar with the Korean musical scene, particularly the rap hip hop side, Seo Taiji Boys seriously broke the music scene for hip hop and rap. You couldn't get away from rapping. The mess of boy bands and girl bands that flooded in afterwards and even now include some kind of rap somewhere even if they aren't strictly a hip hop or rap group. One of the "boys" Yang Hyun-suk is the head of YG Entertainment (think like Korea's own version of hip hop/rap/R&B entertainment houses like Bad Boy Entertainment or Murder Inc) that's produced hip hop and rap acts since the 90s like JinuSean and 1Tym and more recently se7en (who recently debuted stateside with a song featuring Lil' Kim) and Big Bang.

Trivia: Dong Young-bae from Big Bang was a child actor who played a young version of Sean in Jinusean's video for A-Yo linked to above (starting at 3:12). A music exec from YG Entertainment liked what he saw and said, "Maybe I'll give you a gig." Young-bae didn't hear from the exec for a while so eventually went to YG Entertainment HQ himself and said he was there to because he was promised a chance. They liked his spunk and took him under their management. No cite because this was straight from Young-bae's mouth on a Korean TV show.

Personal anecdote trivia: When I lived in Korea my mom used to take a young me to a hair salon at the Dragon Hill Lodge to get my hair straightened because she couldn't deal with it. The ladies who worked their were all Korean but all knew how to do different hairstyles, including complicated cornrows and braiding for their black military clientele. One day as one of the hairdressers was finishing up with my hair a Korean dude decked out in "hip hop gear" sat in the chair next to me. He talked to the ladies in the store like he was a regular. This puzzled me since access to the military base required a military id card or someone with one signing you onto the base. It seemed like case of the latter but he was familiar like this happened regularly. I kept staring because the dude kind of looked familiar too. As I was walking out the door with my mom I realized that it was Sean from Jinusean who I guess frequented the salon to get his corn rows/locks/twists done.

posted by kkokkodalk at 4:19 PM on April 4, 2009

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