Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gamja releases new single 'I Had an Odd Dream'

One of the original pioneers who helped kick off Grandline Entertainment, popularly known as Gamja from the duo 'Rimi & Gamja,' releases his new single 'I Had an Odd Dream.'

Beginning of this year, the duo quietly announced parting their separate ways in music through an interview Grandline Entertainment had with Hiphopplaya regarding future activities of the artists and the company as a whole, and since then Gamja has released two singles: 'My Star' released April of this year and his newest one which officially released on the 17th of this month. Gamja also was spotted as a contestant for the new hip hop audition show 'Show Me the Money' by Mnet so you can say he's been pretty active music-wise. On the other hand, Rimi released her first solo mini album 'Drive Me to the Moon' and her digital single 'Hit Song As of Lately' not too long ago. On the side, she's been promoting her album through the shows Grandline Entertainment has been hosting.

Going back to the topic of his new single, I personally find his new release much more fitting with his rap style. The beat had a lot of snares which served as little markings of where Gamja can accent his rap and his breathing. To be fairly honest, I don't find his rapping to be the greatest but he has the voice to keep you listening for at least three minutes.  And this may be really off topic but my personal preference with rappers doing love songs is that their voices be deep. It's a weird preference but I find it that someone with a deeper voice exudes more masculinity and seeing a side to them where they're not the 'manly' image their voice presents them to be in a love song creates an odd but pleasant balance. Prime example of my preferences correlating to the style shown in Gamja's single is Jerry.K's recent EP.

In addition, Nusoul added a nice touch to it but then again, Nusoul is currently the only vocalist in the Korean hip hop industry to have a soulful voice so he's probably the only person who can serve as the vocalist for this song.

Hopefully Gamja will lean towards this end of not just making love songs like this but sticking with a beat that can help his rapping style as well.

Fame-J throws his last "Pride" with a bunch of featurings

Pretty sure all of the Block B and KPOP fans have jumped on the song already but I thought I'd write up on it that this is almost as bad as the time Scotch VIP had a song that featured five artists, six including himself and the song was four minutes long. Well, this is potentially worse because this song 'Pride' from Fame-J is five minutes long.

The song is fairly cliche fitting with the theme of how hip hop is life and how these artists threw down their pride for it and so does Fame-J when he has artists Zico, Okasian, New Champ, San-E, and Jo Hyuna of Urban Zakapa feature for the track 'Pride.' First off, great marketing tactics featuring all three rappers who were crowned Rookie of the Year for 2011 for Hiphopplaya. Not only that, San-E's always known to shine in featuring for tracks (but not his own tracks sadly enough) and so does Jo Hyuna, rising as one of the top female vocals in the Korean hip hop industry. However, I can't help but think the song is subtly similar to the song 'Hard Out Here for a Pimp' from the movie 'Hustle & Flow.' Of course aside from the English and being more toned down than 'Pride,' it gives out a similar vibe with nearly similar female vocalists.

Aside from that, Fame-J uses the cheesy horn sound that every damn producer has used before and the beat sounds like any generic hip hop song. Other than that, the flow of the rappers' transitions were smooth up until San-E threw down the 'N' word.

Too much disappointment but hey, I'm probably the only person complaining seeing the comments on the video being "ZICO OPPA IS THE BEST" lulz.

Dok2 clears the air for featuring for Big Bang's G-Dragon

In a short interview regarding the release of his mixtape (again), Dok2 also brought up an interesting topic of mentioning G-Dragon and in regards to the rumors of featuring on his new album.

When Hiphopplaya asked the question, "There's a lot of buzz going on about you featuring for G-Dragon's album. Can you go into detail of what you brought up on Twitter?", Dok2 answered, "There was a rumor on the internet a while back about me turning down the featuring and I never did that before, so I just wanted to reveal the truth. If a featuring offer comes in, I have no reason to turn it down since we've known each other for 10 years."

It makes me sad that they won't be featuring for one another because I'd love to have seen a track of slurring rap that's not comprehensible. Maybe next time when both light a joint, we'll be able to listen to a 'joint' collaboration.

Source: Hiphopplaya

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

E-Sens Returns to Twitter, Foreshadowing a Comeback?

Just four months ago in April, the court ruled that artist E-Sens of Supreme Team serve an imprisonment of a year and two months, a probation of two years, serve 160 hours of community service, and pay a fine of 2,133,500won (roughly $1888USD) for marijuana use. The case opened nearly a year ago from today on August of 2011 when the artist was arrested in his home with the suspicion of marijuana use and when investigators looked further into the case, E-Sens admitted to using marijuana on 5 accounts beginning from October of 2009 till August of 2011. After the investigation, a press conference was held in which he said to the reporters, "I admit my fault and I will take a time of reflection in looking over my actions."

And today - to be precise, August 21, 2012 - E-Sens makes his slight unofficial comeback via Twitter. Although he had deleted his Twitter account prior to the arrest, everyone was curious about his whereabouts and when he'd be coming back. Well, today's the lucky day. As his first tweet, he tweeted, "I started Twitter again~~~ I'm going here and there following people, but I'm slow !!!!!"

Hints of E-Sens' whereabouts dropped few months ago when Simon D, fellow member of Supreme Team, tweeted a photo of E-Sens writing lyrics and since then, the artists of Amoeba Culture have been subtly leaving photos or tweets about him. The most recent one was when a photo of the Amoeba Culture artists - Dynamic Duo, Simon D, Rhythm Power, and Zion.T with E-Sens as well - was taken in a recording studio for their upcoming company compilation album. In seeing and hearing that E-Sens took part and his verse labeled as a "killer" verse, it looks like the rapper is gearing to make his comeback.

Now the big question is, will he come back as Supreme Team first or finally release that solo album he's been delaying? Either way, it's good to have him back. Follow @ikesens on Twitter if you haven't already!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jerry.K & Huck P Release Free Track “나도 숨이차 (I'm Breathless Too)”

Jerry.K & Huck P release free song “I’m Breathless Also”

It seems like everyone and their moms are jumping on rapping above the original version “숨이 (Breathless)” by Geeks which was one of the tracks from their first mini album “아침에 (Hangover).” Just after the release of their first mini album came their second mini album which comprised of the songs from the first with the addition of three new tracks: Hold It Down, 전화 받지마 (Don’t Answer the Phone), and the remix for 숨이차 (Breathless).

But the response of music lovers of the remix came slight confusion when the original artists (Geeks and TakeOne featuring on the side) were nowhere to be heard in the track, instead friends of the artists – Ugly Duck, Fana, Zion.T, Crucial Star, Zico, and DJ Dopsh – dominated the song. Thankfully though, fans were pre-warned of this new twist when a picture of the artists mentioned above was tweeted by a staff member of Grandline Entertainment in the recording studio.

So with the free release of Jerry.K & Huck P’s version, we now have three versions of the song but personally, I think this was the best version out of the three. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the artists and their respective versions but I guess I have been antsy for Jerry.K to release something on a hard beat after his last EP having been full of love songs and the contrast between his and Huck P’s voice made everything sound balanced – it’s as if Yin met Yang.

And this is just a peek at what we can expect from Jerry.K as he’s set to release his mixtape “(우성인자2) The Dominant Gene 2” after receiving much love from his first mixtape, “(우성인자The Dominant Gene.” Hiphopplaya hinted at the mixtape which is set to release soon and it’ll consist a total of 19 tracks, one original track (third track from the mixtape) produced by Prima Vista to be released as a digital single prior to the release of the mixtape

Check out the song and take a look at the lyrics.

[VERSE 1 – Huck P]
Before I even start running, I’m already breathless
For someone like you who has below average stamina
Think of this as a ‘ready set’ song to get you going
No matter how hard you try, you’ll still be outside the ranking anyway
Retards who depend on the saying, “An old eagle is better than a young crow.”
Fool, if you rot, that’s cavities
Stop trying to think of excuses because it’s not funny at all
It suits you more; not Korea, but the polar regions
Chanel or Louis, even Gucci can’t make you shine you retard
Because you’re so afraid to have your fearful feelings be caught,
You’re too busy hiding behind your well-off crew
Stop and shut up with that stupid mouth
If you’re going to woo girls, don’t rap and just go to a VIP room
On the other hand, Hi-Lite go hard
No matter how much we pour out, we never shrink

[VERSE 2 – Jerry.K]
Man, I’m breathless too
Is this how a human being should live, and a sigh escapes from me
The number of times my songs get played
I don’t think it’s related to how much I earn and I feel deceived
I ask my friends, “Did you even buy my CD?” and they just stare at me as if I’m crazy
I met up with a crazy MC yesterday and he scowled when saying his phone got disconnected
As I move up from my 2nd year and classroom number 9,
I took my first step into becoming a 3rd year
I'm the same age as the well-off Valentine
It means I'm thirty, in age wise it means I'm an oldie
However, instead of skills, I'm just a nylon that ages
I don't like mixing my name with the seniors
More and more, instead of being above me, there are more below
Of course, that ranking doesn't apply for just age, but at least respect
Soon those skills will result in respect, and I'll be treated like a hyung if I do really well
On Teacher's Day, I left a tweet of gratitude to The Q
I'm from Soulcom, but now I'm alone
Don't look down on me because I'm not housed under a company because I signed with Korean hip hop
I'm breathless and lacking oxygen
The altitude constantly rising, it's my rising curve
Look out to see how far up I go
My experience is a veteran, but my potential is a rookie

Source: Hiphopplaya

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jtong's MV release for "찌찌뽕" causes controversy

Around this time yesterday, artist Jtong released the MV for "찌찌뽕" from his upcoming official album. Once the MV made its way across hip hop artists and lovers as well as the general public, the catchy beat and lyrics weren't the only part that caught everyone's eyes and ears, as scenes of a woman's breasts were shown as is despite being deemed as the "clean version."

And within the few hours after the release, a staff member of Amoeba Culture tweeted, "Jtong's 찌찌뽕 (Titty Twister) music video...due to my mistake, the original version was uploaded instead of the clean version... if there is anyone who was disturbed while watching the music video, I truly apologize. I'll reflect on my actions and work harder to not make mistakes like this again" and Jtong simply RTed the tweet with the comment, "Ah, a mistake."

Either Jtong really doesn't give a shit or Amoeba Culture has brilliant media ploy.Why is that?

Most of you may know that the government in Korea passed a law that all music videos and videos in relation must be screened prior to uploading. If the video is deemed to have inappropriate content, it could be banned from being ever uploaded. This means that independent artists who upload music videos on their own Youtube channel can also have their video be banned simply because the Korean government can do whatever the fuck they want.

Now, apply Jtong's "leak" of the unclean version to the controversy over video uploads in Korea and you have instant gateway for Jtong to landing himself on the top 10 most searched on your resident Korean portal sites, both positive and negative interest of the general public on a rookie artist, and the stamp of approval from those against the new law in deeming Jtong as a heroic rebel for breaking the rules. Brilliant, no?

However, with brilliant media play comes consequences as activists, mainly wanna-be MOGEF peeps, are bashing Jtong and his name to the ground while even going as far as shaming the artists and fans who merely RTed the link of the music video.

The damage is done now though with the video being flagged down for nudity content but Jtong gives no fucks as he continues to tweet about going to a baseball field. Four for you, Jtong and none for you, wanna-be MOGEF activists.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jtong releases track '찌찌뽕' for his upcoming album

It seems like 2012 may be Jtong's year.

Having signed with Amoeba Culture just last December, Jtong's been on a roll with snagging the Rookie Album of the Year award from Hiphopplaya with his album '부산 (Busan)' as well as the Rap/Hip Hop Single of the Year award from Rhythmer in the first half of 2012.

When news first broke out that he was joining Amoeba Culture, I honestly thought he was going to gradually change his style into the laid-back, jazzy concept that housed artists Dynamic Duo and Supreme Team has done in the past. But really, what the hell was I thinking.

Although it's only a preview of what the album will be, with '구구가가 (Goo Goo Ga Ga)' - his single which landed him the Rap/Hip Hop Single of the Year award for Rhythmer - you can already tell that this album will be true to its word in which Amoeba Culture told Hiphopplaya, "Although Jtong had a stronger attraction to a hardcore style, we also added a rock feeling to it so you'll be able to anticipate Jtong's hardcore yet strong music." 

Jtong's first official album '모히칸과 맨발 (Mohican and the Barefoot)' is still under the veil but more information of when the album will be released will be announced through Hiphopplaya. For now, here's the tracklist:    

01. 깡패 (Gangster)
02. 등장 (INTERLUDE) (Arrival)
03. 찌찌뽕 (Titty Twister)
04. 개판 (Feat. NOBRAIN) (Chaos)
05. 구구가가 (Feat. LOWDOWN 30) (Goo Goo Ga Ga)
06. 4번타자 이정훈 (SKIT) (The 4th Batter Up, Lee Jung Hoon)
07. 사직동 찬가 (The Anthem of Sajik-Dong)
08. 취해 부르는 노래 (A Song to Sing When Drunk)
09. 혼란속의 형제들 (Feat. SIMON DOMINIC, BEENZINO, ZION.T) (Illest Konfusion)
10. 모히칸과 맨발(Mohican and the Barefoot)  

Source: Hiphopplaya

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[REVIEW] Critic's "Piece of Travel 20" EP

Title: Piece of Travel 20
Artist: Critic
Release: July 24, 2012

01. RX (처방전) (Feat. B-Free)

The backtrack is refreshing and has a head-bobbing beat to it which is hard to find in Critic in my opinion because he usually tends to go for a laid-back, jazzy kind of tune but this one's upbeat which throws me off at first but you get used to it when you keep listening through. The downside of this track is that when B-Free's part comes on, he kind of dominates because he's used to rapping on top of upbeat music and his voice fits well with that. If I can compliment this track in favor of Critic, it's that he sounds so much at ease when he's rapping because he has light pauses in between and continues to rap like it's no big deal, almost like he's freestyling without the effort.

02. Canvas

Anything jazzy is a plus for Critic, and the addition of the saxophone had a nice touch to it. Also, his lyrics from time to time are about overcoming the struggles he faces as a musician and he applied that theme to the lyrics of this song as well with similes like "To me, music isn't like an immature kid biting on a sweet piece of candy, but it takes a chunk of my heart and is a built value to which it gives my life pure joy." With lyrics like this, it definitely makes the saxophone sound almost sad as if it's consoling his woes. Ironic that he's spitting out his worries of music and an instrument can sound as if it's comforting him almost.

03. End (Feat. Nusoul)

I almost want to say that I feel like he picks up the pace in his rap with every passing track? If RX seemed like he had the ease to take light pauses for breathing, it's as if he doesn't breathe at all here in End, yet he manages to still make it sound effortless. I like the balance of it though, the slow jam beat and his fast paced rap which makes me think of old school R&B. And although I'm not a big fan of Nusoul, I like that he featured in it because he made it...well, not to sound cheesy but soulful. I can't really think of anyone else who could have featured for the vocals since it sounds like a R&B song that sounds more sticky than sexy? It's hard to describe but I feel like if this were to be a sexy kind of R&B track, a vocalist with a higher pitch can be used. Perfect featuring and a nice song to listen to when relaxing.

04. 홀로 부르는 노래 (Skit)

I normally don't listen to skits for the fact that a good chunk of skits on albums, mixtapes, EPs, and anywhere else that has skits tend to be cheesy talks in the recording booth which makes my skin crawl. However, this was nice. Easy going beat, reminds me of the sound he had going for his mixtape.

05. Fly Away

Maybe it's because it's his title track of his EP, but I feel like he really emphasized his rhymes more than the other tracks here. Has the same head-bobbing beat to it but the flow seems more choppy? Maybe it's because he sings the chorus so I feel like he takes a 1-2 second pause before the chorus hits which makes the song sound a bit choppy. Doesn't seem too much of a strong track in comparison to the others but I can see why he chose it to be the title since his stronger tracks have featurings.

06. Piece of Travel

I feel like this song would have been a more appropriate title song, not just because the title is the same as the title EP but I feel like it's more of a representative track to show what he is with the hard beat and all. His lyrics are also right on the beat of the track so it sticks well. Kind of has an old Jay-Z vibe to it from the millennium or something.

07. Very Berry Strawberry (Bonus Track)

My favorite track from the EP and it's a bonus track lol. I love it when Critic chooses beats like this because his voice is deep so it goes hand-in-hand with a mellow mood. The beat reminds me of something Blazo would make. For a bonus track, it sounds like something he kind of put together in an hour which fits the idea of a bonus track. Very light to the ears, something easy to listen to when I'm stressed, a feel-good song. Instead of him singing choruses like he does Fly Away, I like it when he doesn't try so much but makes his singing as if he's just humming the tune.

08. 가면 무도회 (Remix by Scary'P)

I loved this when he released it as a single and listened to it for days, even having it on my playlist for my blog. The beat is so damn dramatic in this tango-like way like I'm watching an intense movie and this would be the appropriate soundtrack that plays. And normally with a God-given beat (bless your soul Scary'P), some rappers make the mistake of having the wrong lyrics to go with it, no matter how good the flow is but Critic does it so damn well where he revolves his lyrics around the concept of the beat. The title of this song in English is "Masquerade" and the first verse tells it like it's told:
"The dark gaze that sees me through the cracks of my mask
I freeze at a state unable to withhold the stare
Vaguely, and even more secretively,
The Forbidden Game already crushed
Everyone hides themselves behind that mask
If I try to get closer, I'm afraid that I'll have my soul taken away by the glamorous breath
Trying to get a hold of someone on the streets, everything is a lie when asked in this masquerade
My heart full of dust is dull
If I try to open up my heart, the people with greed that's spread unveil their masks
My lips and hands become my knife
Already alcohol and cigarettes have become my cure
On top of the city that's becoming infected is shadowed by night
The masquerade on the streets have begun"

Rating: 3.5 / 5

If you like the EP, support Critic in purchasing the EP on Yesasia!

[Editorial] 'Mean Girls' - the Korean hip hop edition

The abundance in Korean hip hop compared to just a few years ago isn't much different for the fact that the amount of rappers out there spreading their name and mixtapes may be the same, but the amount of music labels created is definitely different. In this case, more music labels have been created than before.

I'm sure there were labels floating around but you have to admit, Soul Company was pretty much that chubby, cute guy with the top hat and cane in Monopoly collecting all of the money in the game with Jungle Entertainment and Amoeba Culture coming in close second. You can say that this was the SM-YG-JYP of your Korean hip hop a few years ago. But with the disbandment of Soul Company and Jungle Entertainment prioritizing their 'idol hip hop group' M.I.B, you can say the two out of the three in the holy trinity of what Korean hip hop was began crumbling.

The Quiett left Soul Company to pursue his own 'thang' in setting up Illionaire Records alongside Dok2 and that was really the beginning of Soul Company falling apart, Loptimist leaving soon afterwards to join Jungle Entertainment (to which, I still don't know why he did to this day) and the label disbanding fully in November of 2011. Then everyone really went their separate ways. Minos, Kebee, and RHYME-A- set up Standart Music, DJ Dopsh & Crucial Star headed for Grandline Entertainment, and everyone else just popping up at shows or with their new albums every few months or so.

In the case of Jungle Entertainment, they decided to push for mainstream once Tiger JK and T hit it off as partners for the summer special performance with MC Yoo Jaesuk on the popular show "Infinity Challenge." With Paloalto having left to establish Hi-Lite Records and Leessang still technically under Jungle Entertainment but setting up their own music label, Leessang Company, other artists such as Bizzy, Jungin, Jo Moongeun, and TEBY are under the label as well but aren't seeing much light (thanks M.I.B!) sad to say.

But among the Three Musketeers is one hopeful music label which is Amoeba Culture. Like the other two, they too had their downtime when Dynamic Duo, the face of their company then, had enlisted into the military and E-Sens of Supreme Team being blown over his marijuana scandal. However, instead of the music label disbanding or prioritizing on their 'hip hop idol group,' the company has been working extra hard to step their game up, and it's thanks to their recent recruitment of artists Jtong and Zion.T. Also working hard is producer Primary who has been releasing nonstop singles after his long hiatus as well as Dynamic Duo the moment they had discharged from the military.

However, you can't necessarily always depend on old music labels to continue their reign because with Korean hip hop constantly growing with incoming new faces, this also means that you're at stake of being overthrown from your throne. And it already looks like there are new faces in the scene (run by some old face rappers) to take over.

As of lately, it's been a battle between the three labels: Grandline Entertainment, Hi-Lite Records, and Illionaire Records. Why these three? Because they're the only three companies who have been active with not only promoting their artists, but hosting their own shows as well. Grandline Entertainment has been hosting shows every few months, I'd say once every six months and they've been doing the best in terms of revenue. It's thanks to the artists and their insane networking that the lineup is worth going for, but it's also bad that the lineup is what they depend on to break even. Hi-Lite Records on the other hand may lack in income, but the artists together have a strong built bond (you always see them collaborating, from mixtapes to EPs and even free songs) as well as a strong 'fanbase.' By strong fanbase, I mean that people who are fans of artists in Hi-Lite are usually fans of all the artists under the label so you have loyalty guaranteed for whatever release pretty much. And finally, in the case of Illionaire Records, you have what these two companies don't have yet: mainstream. Although Grandline Entertainment may have some crazy network, nothing tops what Dok2 and The Quiett alone have through collaborating with mainstream artists like Jay Park and Hyuna to being friends with idols such as Junhyung from BEAST. That alone gets you spotlight and fame from not only your experience in the underground scene, but from the mainstream scene as well. I've seen some fans of BEAST follow Illionaire since Junhyung became friends with the two, and you know fan girls - they'll buy your CDs (and call you oppa).

With what was the Holy Trinity of Korean hip hop having led so much artists as well as majority of the underground scene so well yet still crashing and crumbling, it makes me wonder if these new labels of the underground generation today can stand a chance and live up to the saga from before. Are they the new kid from Africa who learns and adapts from what the underground scene had been before? Can they be considered the Cady Heron who overthrows Regina George? Or are all these companies and labels just mere names of a Burn Book and we're still waiting for a Regina George to take full reign over Korean hip hop? Who knows what will happen in the span of the next few months, years, or decades but I hope they still wear snapbacks on Wednesdays.

Friday, August 3, 2012

[EDITORIAL] #stopdumpingmusic

I know, I'm probably an ice age late on getting to this topic, but I feel like I need to share for those who aren't informed. If you follow a bunch of Korean hip hop artists on Twitter, I'm sure that for the past few weeks, you've seen a bunch of tweets with the hashtag #stopdumpingmusic mixed with a bunch of Korean, and just by looking at the hashtag itself you guys probably understand the gist of what the campaign is aiming for. But let me inform you on how severe the issue is and what it entails. Unlike the United States where iTunes is the main source for online music downloads, Korea on the other hand has a bunch of music sites that cater the public. To list a few, the big name sites are Cyworld (Music), Bugs, MelOn, Olleh, and Soribada.

It's great that you can get your music on various online music sites, but here's where the problem comes in. Unline iTunes where the standard cost of one song alone is $0.99, the estimated cost of one song on average in Korea is roughly $0.52, nearly half the cost of what iTunes has it for. Here's an example to showcase the severity of this issue. Let's say you purchase mini album on iTunes (roughly 4-5 songs in a mini album). You'd pay about $4-$5 for 4-5 songs. Now, let's apply that to Korea's case and for 4-5 songs, you'd be paying $2.50-$3. You think this is bad? Let me get to the best part of all this. In order to attract more customers, online music sites have special "package" deals where if you pay a certain amount, you can purchase more songs. So for 4,000won (roughly $3.50 USD), you can buy a total of 20 songs. Do the math and you're basically paying $0.17 for each song. And from the average of $0.52 per song in Korea, the actual artists or producers who have copyright over the song gain a small percentage from that $0.52. To top the cherry on this whole ordeal is that Korea also has what's called an 'infinite streaming' service. This may be popularly known to KPOP fans when they 'stream' for their idols, raising the song on the charts for real time and daily. In the world of KPOP, this is considered good but in the world of underground and indie artists, this is bad. I'm not sure how else to put it other than adding 'very' to the bad because it's that bad. Through the 'infinite streaming' service, customers can buy certain package deals that last them 10 days, 30 days, or a few months varying by price and what this system is, is that you can stream the songs on a host player from what the online music site provides without downloading the song. You can listen to it however many times you want and you can listen to other songs for an infinite amount of time up until the expiration date of your coupon. And in the world of infinite streaming, copyrights don't exist meaning that artists don't earn any money from it. All they earn is their name moving up the charts by a couple of levels and that's it.

To put everything I said into perspective, what would you think people would choose between the two options of either downloading a song or an infinite streaming package? Obviously the latter since it'll cost them less money to listen to the songs they want an infinite amount of times. This is why the system is so messed up, and this is why the campaign is happening. People who genuinely don't care about the music choose the latter without thinking how much time, effort, and investment (financially as well) goes into making these songs in which the artists gain nothing from.

Reality hit me hard when I began to read all of the #stopdumpingmusic tweets on my timeline and one that really had an impact was a tweet from Lil Boi from Geeks when he said,
"I didn't start doing this for money, but..everyone probably knows that the song Officially Missing You has earned a hit of over a couple hundred thousand downloads but the actual money I receive from copyrights is the same as the lowest minimum wage paid for a part-time job. To know that I may have to live the rest of my life like this makes the value of music decrease for me."
For the past few weeks, the campaign went viral with extreme cases being that people legitimately protested on the streets to more casual shows of support through hosting shows, like Save the Music which is coming up on August 5th.

(Save the Music, campaign Cypher video by artists Vasco, Huckleberry P, Suda, Jerry.K, Analog Sonyeon, Lupi, JJK, and DJ Kaadiq - produced by Kimparkchella)

Right now, there's nothing to do but continue to raise awareness as it seems the people from the higher end have no thoughts on raising the price for the songs so spread the word. If you have an account from any of those sites and are able to purchase songs, it's not wrong of you to purchase from the sites. However, if they put up songs on iTunes or have albums for purchases, I recommend purchasing through the methods I mentioned just now since the artists earn a little more from their copyrights. Don't tweet the hashtag and do nothing about it. Take action. #stopdumpingmusic

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zion.T Signs With Amoeba Culture

Fresh off the press yesterday was the announcement of Zion.T signing with Amoeba Culture (home of artists such as Dynamic Duo, Simon Dominic and Supreme Team, recently-signed JTong, Rhythm Power, and producer Primary) all over Hiphopplaya (and my timeline on Twitter as well, courtesy of artists sending their congratulatory messages to and about him). 

According to the press release on Hiphopplaya, Amoeba Culture said,“Zion.T holds a unique voice that can't be easily found in Korea and as he showcases his matchless voice, he's also capable of producing his own songs which has him under the spotlight as one of those most anticipated musicians in the Korean hip hop scene, as he's garnered the interest of the public and music representatives alsoand “We won't hold back in our support for various promotions of skilled musician Zion.T and we as a company will work harder in maintaining the unique color we have to ourselves with the artists in our company.

Some may be shocked by the news, however it's no shock if you've been following Zion.T's activities, as he made his first unofficial debut with Amoeba back in end of last year when he collaborated with artist Simon Dominic (Simon D for short) in the track 'Stay Cool' from the album 'SNL Begins.' This obviously gave Zion.T a hell lot of more exposure than what he had from his debut single 'Click Me' and for being friends with popularly-known hip hop artists, but it also played a pivotal role to signing with Amoeba. 

After his featuring, you could say that Zion.T pretty much made himself cozy at home as he featured for the tracks '만나' and 'See Through' from Primary's recent releases. 

By maintaining the unique, lively color that Amoeba has had over the years with artists like Dynamic Duo and Supreme Team, new additions were also made with artists JTong (through recommendation by Simon D) and Rhythm Power (passing the auditions held by Amoeba Culture a few years back). So, how exactly did Zion.T become the new addition to Amoeba? It was all thanks to artist Jerry.K who made the connection happen in which he proudly announced through his Twitter yesterday with Simon D RTing and agreeing.

The tweet above says, “When Ssam D said he wanted Zion.T to feature for the track 'Stay Cool,' I'm proud that I introduced them to one another in a chat room together on NateOn while Simon D RTed with the comment, ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ That's right, he was a big help.

All in all, both parties made a good choice in signing with one another and it'll be an interesting year for Amoeba with their new edition, adding a different kind of color to their mix of artists.

Source: Hiphopplaya, Simon D's Twitter

Hiphoplaya's New Year Interview Special: Hilite Records

HHP: Your results from last year?
HL: 2011 was the marking of the one year anniversary since H-Lite Records has been established and we were able to unravel a year full of active music as well as performances. In terms of finance, I think the biggest factor that contributed to our income was the single “Baby” released by Soul One & Paloalto. It wasn’t promoted as much, but more so the word got around to a lot of people and compared to the other music released by Hi-Lite, the income was higher for this song. For B-Free, he released 2 mixtapes and 2 digital singles after his first album “Freedumb,” resulting in him breaking even faster with his recent releases. I believe that he’s a good example of those that are talented and work diligently into their creations can prove the results with effort alone. Also, as main artists of the company, B-Free and I (Paloalto) were busy but in having added new artists and producers like Okasian, Evo, Pinodyne, Double Deck, etc., I believe that that itself is a big outcome for us as well.

HHP: With many projects released, alongside that you have worked hard in hosting parties for those over their 20s. How were the results for these?
HL: The planned parties by Hi-Lite Records started with the one last April when it was Hi-Lite’s one year anniversary party and led to the TSL & HI-LITE party hosted in December. We never hosted these parties as a means of raising income at first so we didn’t have much to lose which I was very content with. The other artists including myself all thought in agreement in creating a space for hip hop fans in their mid to late 20s to enjoy without any pressure and we haven’t tried much yet, so I don’t think we’re in any position to speak out about how well we did or not. This year, we’re constantly working on bringing good content and working efficiently in planning to create a space in adults can relate and understand to, and I’m foreshadowing that it will be successful.

HHP: Pinodyne has recently joined your label. Is there a reason as to why you released Huckleberry P as a solo rather than Pinodyne together?
HL: It wasn’t intended by the company, but Huckleberry P had insisted that he wanted a solo album released. Hi-Lite Records respects the opinions of their artists and follows through with it, so we supported him in the direction he wanted to take. Because Pinodyne as a team isn’t a team in which they produce things abundantly, in order to create originality and a more solidified product, we believed that they should have a lot of time to invest into their works.

HHP: Aside from Pinodyne, Okasian and Evo released free music and have let their names be known. What kind of thoughts did you have in receiving the feedback from that?
HL: Not only was Hi-Lite releasing free music at the time, but many other hip hop labels and other independent artists were releasing free music alongside our artists. This was already an established method that began amongst American hip hop artists and with this generation revolving around the internet, I believed that it was a good method to let yourself as well as your works be known. And having Evo and Okasian who aren’t really known to the public, through releasing music for free allowed them to let themselves be known but receiving big feedback was difficult. However, we’re satisfied with the fact that amongst the fans of Hi-Lite and fans of the minority know about the existence of these two and that both Evo and Okasian will need to refine their works into being well made products in order to stand before their audience publically.

HHP: What kind of promotion plans do you have for Double Deck? They’re a team comprised of beat boxing and DJ.
HL: Because during the time when Double Deck joined Hi-Lite Records, they had already left the hip hop scene so I believe that they need time to readjust. DJ Jjangka promoted with “Bust This” while TKO with “Trespass” in the underground scene fairly a lot so they had a name to themselves but having done promotions outside of what they did before, they began to succumb and level themselves to the music and preference that the public had preferred, not music they wanted to do. In participating as the host DJ my “The Eve” mixtape was a warm up and Double Deck regaining their sense of direction is first of their many lessons they need to learn as working with other Hi-lite Records artists will help them do so. In the hip hop scene in Korea, Turntablism is nonexistent and even amongst hip hop music fans often don’t know the role of the DJ or even so just block out DJing and in order to overcome this issue, DJ Jjangka and his team Double Deck have a lot to overcome. First off, in this year, Double Deck is planning on releasing their album and from what we’ve discussed so far, we feel that they’re going to bring out the style and sounds of old school hip hop and as a team who is strong performance-wise, we’re planning on creating a lot of opportunities for them to be able to perform their songs live to many people.

HHP: Your plans for the New Year?
HL: We’ll be releasing a Hi-Lite digital single with Soul Fish, Okasian releasing two digital singles, Huckleberry P releasing a digital single, and Evo’s debut EP album which in all of these will be releasing in the first quarter of the year. With those outside of these or other plans will be shown one by one with our actions rather than said with words.

HHP: In greeting the New Year, say a word to the fans of hip hop and fans of American hip hop.
HL: We’ll always mark our words into bringing quality to everyone’s lives with high quality music and fun live performances, so trust and continue to support us.

Source: Hiphopplaya

Hiphoplaya's New Year Interview Special: Amoeba Culture

HHP: Briefly, introduce the music label to us. 
AC: I am CEO Noh Young Il who is in charge of being the marketing director of Amoeba Culture. I had originally worked under the entertainment business in 2002 and was a manager for idols right up until the point when I had started Amoeba Culture. And in having maintained my relationship with Dynamic Duo and our current staff, whether it being work-related or outside of work, we followed the motto of “Before we get older – I don’t think it’ll get easier once we get married.. – let’s have fun all the while working with people who you can connect with.” So as one of the “Seven Comrades” in Dynamic Duo’s 3rd album “Rewritten History,” I have been with them since the beginning of when Amoeba Culture was created in September of 2006 till now. And I know this happens anywhere for small scale companies, that having not a lot of staff, there’s really no subdivisions in regards to the workload so I had to work like the CEO in the movie “Captain Hong” in solving everything on my own but now, we have a lot of members of our family and I have finally come to the point of becoming the marketing director from 2011 and on in overlooking all of the marketing activities. With the label getting bigger, importance of planning and marketing was highly needed; however, there’s really not that much difference in the work I did then and now, just that the workload is the same.

HHP: Your results of last year? 
AC: When talking about our results of last year, we’re very excited and feeling confident with the return of the core of our label as well as the eldest hyungs of our label, Dynamic Duo and their discharge from the military. I’m also happy to see them rewrite history in earning good results from their two albums that they released as well as holding their exhibition in celebrating their 10 year anniversary, despite having the pressure from the title of “The Return of the Kings.” Although the other artists under the label want the system that only Amoeba Culture provides with and is promoting with us as our family members because they like the system, more than anything though they probably have big credibility towards Dynamic Duo. And in a situation where Dynamic Duo had gone to the military, it was a big problem and no matter how connected you are and how hard you work all the while encouraging one another for your dreams, there’s still a limitation in a relationship between an artist and the staff, and Dynamic Duo played a critical role as the middleman for this and it was because of them that Amoeba Culture was able to become more established. Also, we can’t forget Dynamic Duo’s 10 year anniversary albums and their exhibition…with the manpower of such a minor company, this was one of our most grand projects held. Thankfully, we earned good responses from the public without running into any issues. Also, we’re very thankful to Dynamic Duo who worked efficiently without any rest since their discharge because of the set tasks they were set to do already

Secondly, not the Ssam D from Supreme Team, but Simon-D has returned to us. In Amoeba Culture, he played the biggest contributor to the public; there’s no denying that Simon-D takes this title. However, he slowly began transitioning from “Simon-D” to “Ssam D” to the public, creating a situation where we couldn’t necessarily laugh about. Of course in the music market today, both music and variety (basically “broadcasting”) have a symbiotic relationship. The saying “How can a person who pursues in music go on a variety” is old fashioned now. If you don’t emphasize your image and musicianship, then the route of using variety shows to let your music be known is probably the best decision. In showing a side of one’s self that the public normally isn’t aware of in order to be on friendly terms with them is none other than a good gateway in my opinion. In going back on topic, with Simon-D not having promoted as a rapper all that long and his excellent skills not being known so well to the public, more so as just an entertainer, was an unfortunate sight to see. That’s why “Simon-D” released an album to let himself be known as an artist and we gained a satisfactory result. Also, attempts like that will be continued.

Third, genius producer Primary released an album as a producer. Although he’s known as the greatest producer to the manias and the underground scene, he’s someone who’s close to “zero” when it comes to being known to the public. With that said, “Full Already” which was praised by Quincy Jones and the promotions for “Zoo” for Primary and The Messengers were all very meaningful. First off, we were able to emphasize the importance in the role of producers of whom create music for the public. Also, although it’s very known overseas but not in Korea, but we’re very glad that we were able to let the public know that you don’t have to always sing and be a producer to be classified as an adult. Of course, this is just a beginning step as we’re glad that aside from just his music, Primary’s ‘box’ character became known through various broadcast promotions as well with promoting online, completely different from promotions he had underground through solely his music prior to all of this. Art director Yoon Hyub who is popularly known for his sky graffiti gave him the ‘box’ character and in various ways, it’s all very meaningful and fits Primary best. We broke the stereotypes of “only people who sing can be singers” as the whole meaning in creating one album all falls back to the producer, in which we were able to tell the public. Of course, his beginning is still insignificant, but slowly he’ll work harder with time. 

HHP: Rhythm Power joined as new members of your family. They qualified in an audition format, but what was their critical factor that allowed them to pass? 

AC: When they auditioned at first, their group name was actually “Radioactivity.” However, having qualified from the audition, right when we were at the time of creating a contract with them, the radioactivity in Japan had happened and from tens to hundreds of articles daily related to the ‘radioactivity’ in Japan were all over television and the internet. In this case, the term became an archetype of fear and so we had a meeting in regards to the name “Radioactivity.” Honestly, we wanted to keep this name, but when we searched it up on portal sites, they actually came up about 100 pages later, so we chose the name “Rhythm Power” with it being their representing song and suiting their characters as well. Honestly though, the teams that survived up until the last rounds of auditions held rivaling skills and of course, their talent wasn’t a joke, so even when we did have to choose a final team, it wasn’t easy on Amoeba Culture’s end. At first, we had the surviving two teams re-audition and in the end, the dormant knowledge as well the potential to improve, along with the synergy from the 3 being long term friends, those factors won Rhythm Power. But aside from all of the audition processes, Amoeba Culture was worried if they will be able to settle into our label well and if we could support their music and characters as best as we could. I was able to coincidentally see their performance prior to their audition and they had a humorous and optimistic energy to them and if we are able to direct them correctly along with polishing them up just a little, then we thought that they are completely capable of succeeding. This is off topic, but at the time the performance didn’t do so well and I still remember them in despair after the performance. 

HHP: We ask for a detailed introduction of your Jtong joining your label. 

AC: First off, it’s the 7th year this year since Amoeba Culture has been established and In the underground scene, there are a lot of people who are talented and hold quality talent. However, for those people, there isn’t a system for them in the music market, not even an article talking about their release of their music. It’s a sad reality seeing that their name can’t even go up by even one line. Trying to let this new type of genre known to the public from their own manpower, yet failing when clashed with reality that their outstanding music won’t be known, it was unfortunate to see them crumble back into their own space. In seeing this, we tried to find ways to help them and we came across this project. In Jtong’s case, he’s a rapper who holds outstanding skills alongside a unique style and musical character in mainstream music, so we wanted to help him music life as even just an artist to the public, even if it means not going into mainstream music. Amoeba Culture knows better than anyone else in having prior experience that if you’ve done music for a long time, it’s almost impossible to make it without the interest of the public, whether that’s in someone’s interest or not. We wish for talented musicians to not give up due to reality being harsh against the music they love to do and in order to prevent it from happening in the future, it’s also another reason as to why we’ve created this system, that they need the helping hand of their seniors who’ve already set foot in reality and know what it’s like out there. Another joy to us is that with our aid is that these skilled musicians will create music that will be joyful to our ears!! 

We announced through hiphopplaya about Dynamic Duo also, but the opportunity is open to any artist that has skills and talent, but the catch is that we can’t promote them all at once. We try to have everyone support one team at a time and right now, first up is Jtong. We ask for anticipation for Jtong’s upcoming new album that will be soon released that was created alongside Amoeba Culture. We also hope that in the future, Amoeba Culture can become a bridge for the talented artists to use to reach out to the world and that we promise to complete this task as best as we can. 

HHP: Your plans for the New Year? 

AC: Because the artists of Amoeba Culture have proclaimed all around that they’ll be coming out with music faster than others, we actually set our overall plans for the year last year. We’ll first start off with Primary. In Primary’s case, we can’t help but call him a genius in knowing his talent yet being able to put out something in a tremendous speed. So we plan on releasing separately something from Primary in his name alone and Primary Skool. Because he has such a broad spectrum in terms of music, it’s hard to just put one color to him and this was the result of that. Next up is Rhythm Power who have set their goal of their debut for around March or April. Already they’ve completed over 80% of their album production and because they have a complete different set of feel and style from Amoeba Culture’s artists, we have a lot of expectations as well as a lot of worries. We’re all trying hard to appeal to the public as best as we can of their team’s color which is overall bright and holds a lot of positive energy. 

For Simon D, he is none other than preparing for an album and this upcoming album will be more diverse than the album prior and has a lot of music that is friendly to the ears. Of course, he’s also preparing a surprise album for the original listeners outside of this album. With Dynamic Duo constantly working on their two albums during their granted leaves and year-end leaves each year during their service, they were able to put out two albums in the span of 5 months from their discharge. Of course, this is an amazing set of production, but their cravings for producing and music in general must have been overpowering during their 2 years of military service as they’re currently elaborating on the ideas they’ve created. Also, they won’t be holding one single performance in their step to the American market, but will be holding a U.S. tour in which they’re preparing for. Also, as we said before, we have various support projects between these in releasing other various artists. 

HHP: In greeting the New Year, say a word to the fans of hip hop and fans of American hip hop

AC: Thank you for always giving your love and attention to Amoeba Culture. Also, we will try to work harder in taking responsibility for the attention you provide us with. In 2012, we will visit you all in showing a strong transformation for “Amoeba” through various music and performances. Have a happy new year and thank you. 

Source: Hiphopplaya