Monday, July 22, 2013

Amoeba Culture terminates contract with E-Sens

Member E-Sens (real name Kang Minho) of hip hop duo Supreme Team's sudden announcement of his contract termination could lead to Supreme Team on the brink of disbanding. 

According to a representative from Amoeba Culture, they said in a press release, "We are notifying the public that beginning of July 19th, 2013, we have notified Kang Minho (E-Sens) in his termination of his contract. Also, E-Sens will no longer be an artist under the label," which was released on the 22nd. 
They also spoke with news outlet My Daily in saying, "We split from E-Sens because the paths we were thinking musically were different. Meanwhile, Simon D will remain promoting as an artist under Amoeba Culture." 

In the topic of Supreme Team disbanding, they responded, "Honestly, Supreme Team was a project group so 'disbanding' wouldn't be a fitting term for this situation" and "It is true however that Supreme Team are parting their own ways. From now on, they will promote solo in their respective musical paths." 

When asked about Simon D's upcoming solo promotions, they said, "Simon D has continually been preparing an album in the meantime, however we haven't asked him in detail about his solo album. It's unconfirmed for now." 

Supreme Team made their debut back in 2009 and created hits with tracks such as "Then, Then, Then" and "Why." In 2010, they won the MelOn Music Award for rap and hip hop as well as received an award in the 20th Seoul Gayo Awards for hip hop. recognizing their name as a skilled group in the industry.

However, E-Sens was caught for marijuana in the beginning of last year and took a time of reflection for two years. Last March, he participated in the 2013 break project 'NOWorkend' from Amoeba Culture with the new track "Stay Still," renouncing his comeback after a long while. Despite gathering attention and anticipation for his comeback promotions, no one knew that the reality of it was that he was on the ledge of disbandment. 

Source: My Daily via Nate

During the time that E-Sens's name was fluctuating on the top 10 names of major portal search engines last night, both members of Supreme Team tweeted in regards to the news in their own respective ways.

E-Sens tweeted, "Yes, I received my notification of my contract termination today - I will be promoting solo" while Simon D tweeted a beautiful essay saying, "This is the path that would make Sens only happy and I respect his decision. It's just that we won't be promoting as a team but our friendship of 10 years hasn't changed a bit. Because both of us have started going solo, I think all we need to do now is to show each other doing well within I.K (Illest Konfusion)."

So, what happens now? 

Well for one, we're all pretty sure that major labels of the underground scene are finding ways to contact E-Sens to see if they can contract him. For one, E-Sens is a very skilled rapper. That itself could serve as the only reason why labels want to sign him. 

If we had to choose another, it'd be his marijuana scandal. Why? Despite him doing wrong, he admitted to his wrong, which makes a big difference. He took time off sacrificing his solo album and Supreme Team promotions for the sake of reflecting on his actions. Netizens and the Korean general public may hate you for smoking weed but if you seem like you care enough about what they think and do what they want (in this case, reflect reflect reflect!), they're more forgiving of the issue. So, why does this scandal serve as a factor as to why labels want to sign him? It's a sob story. Everyone loves sob stories. Play your cards right with your media play and you have a brilliant, skilled artist who has a sob story that people can sympathize for, compare in the case with a certain artist who shall not be named, and say that you as a label picked him up when a company abandoned him in his time of need to rise him up to where he is today. Voila, there you have it. 

Now, the question remains as to who will be picking him up. As I write here time and time again, there aren't much labels in the underground scene other than Grandline Entertainment, Hi-Lite Records, and Illionaire Records. Out of those three, I would say Grandline or Hi-Lite would be the better choices. We all know E-Sens isn't about that flashy gold chain life like Illionaire is, so obviously they're out of the question. Meanwhile, Grandline has what it takes to get E-Sens where he was before he was abandoned, getting him back into mainstream as they are doing now with their breadwinner artist Geeks. Plus, the artists under Grandline are fairly close with E-Sens as he has made appearances for their concerts in the past. For Hi-Lite, I would say they would be the better choice musically, although Hi-Lite has their own sound they push for as a label but I can see E-Sens fitting in to give them a little break from their usual redundancy.

And as I have mentioned in the two past paragraphs of E-Sens being abandoned, I obviously used this specific word because I believe this is truly the case. Others may disagree and agree with Amoeba's case like most netizens who know jack shit but those who have followed Supreme Team let alone just E-Sens, everyone knows that it all seems unfitting of how beautiful of a story Amoeba Culture made this out to be despite them being the ones to terminate his contract. 

Just four months ago, E-Sens was gearing up for a comeback with Simon D for a Supreme Team album after having released the NOWorkend Project as a renouncement of their comeback. After their group album, they were supposed to release their respective solo albums (E-Sens's album which was heavily delayed) sometime in the future. Everything seemed well planned out it seemed so what happened in the past few months to lead to this turnover?

These are all speculations of course so do take it with a grain of salt but I believe that it has to be either of these three. Yes, it has to be one. 
  1. E-Sens had a rift with Amoeba/Simon D on both personal terms and musical terms 
  2. Enlisting in the military sometime soon.
  3. E-Sens is still smoking weed and Amoeba doesn't want to deal with it
For one, everyone knows that Simon D and E-Sens have been friends for over 10 years like he praised in his tweet but doesn't it seem too suspicious that not only is E-Sens kicked out basically from Amoeba, but that they're not promoting as Supreme Team anymore as well? Despite the press releases saying that Supreme Team was a project group, everyone knows better that Supreme Team was the prodigy that pulled Amoeba out of the dust when they had nothing left, especially during the time when Dynamic Duo had enlisted for the military. Doesn't it also seem highly suspicious that while Amoeba and Simon D were trying to wrap this whole situation up so nicely that E-Sens says nothing but the fact that he was given notice of his contract termination?

If not a rift between personal relations, it has to be music. As many of you may have seen and known already, Amoeba has been building their way up into the mainstream side of the music industry. Take Dynamic Duo for example. They're still hip hop but a hip hop with a different spin to it. It still has the generic hip hop beat with their smooth flows, but the lyrics have changed and so has the genre within their songs. What used to be lyrics contemplating about life, shitting on other artists, or having fun getting wasted with friends has now turned into sappy love stories and soft beats. I don't deny that I like this part of Dynamic Duo because in general I love anything that's an easy going, smooth listen but of course it's not what should only make Dynamic Duo. But this is what the public likes, and this is what gets them noticed. So what does Amoeba do? Polish them up to be these two guys with 'hunky' voices romanticizing hip hop to sway the ladies. Seriously, the last 3 Dynamic Duo albums proves this and so does their recent comeback where it's just all fangirls at their performances for music shows. With their other artists like Zion.T also pushing for mainstream, it's undeniable that Amoeba wants this for Supreme Team as well, especially with how much public recognition Supreme Team already has however, I don't think E-Sens wants any of this. If anything, he'd rather make clean versions for certain songs but he still wants to remain who he is with his character. Also, keep in mind that with everyone in Amoeba having gone mainstream, basically E-Sens was the only connection they had keeping them linked to the underground scene. I guess the ultimatum to E-Sens was to join mainstream and stick with Amoeba or pursue his own music and stay underground, so he chose the latter.

The second speculation is what I've seen on the Korean hip hop DC Gallery. Nothing new there except that he is in the age to enlist. Last but not least with the third, who knows. He seemed like he didn't want to do it again after having done interviews about how much he wanted to come back and make music but then again that could have been a bone to throw at the public while he still smoked behind their backs. If not, I assume that the NOWorkend Project was a test in the waters for Amoeba to see if E-Sens still had the public's attention and if he didn't, they found it as a result of his marijuana scandal and thought it was too difficult to recover him from it.

All in all, there's nothing anyone can do but speculate up until E-Sens makes his own comeback with whatever he's going to come back with and pay attention to the lyrics to see if he drops hints. I'm sorry (not sorry) that this turned out to be an editorial's worthy-length of a post but I felt like this was needed since it's been a while that something big of an issue like this hit the fan in Korean hip hop.


  1. Thank you for this! I was actually really curious as to the sudden contract termination for E-Sens and other than your blog, it's pretty hard to get any info or insights on khiphop. So yeah, I really appreciate this! ^^

  2. "I don't think E-Sens wants any of this. If anything, he'd rather make clean versions for certain songs but he still wants to remain who he is with his character. Also, keep in mind that with everyone in Amoeba having gone mainstream, basically E-Sens was the only connection they had keeping them linked to the underground scene. I guess the ultimatum to E-Sens was to join mainstream and stick with Amoeba or pursue his own music and stay underground, so he chose the latter."


    As much as Simon D has paved his way into mainstream and variety, E-Sens was never really able to follow that, whether he wanted to or not. I can't see him joining Hi-Lite, as much as I like the company, although it'd be really interesting if he did.

    On a more fangirl kind of note: I'm sad. :( It's so, so disappointing to see them go separate ways. However, I'm anticipating his next step as a solo artist. Just like you, I'm curious as to whether the real reason for their split will unfold through his lyrics.

    Good luck to the both of them.

  3. you know this was running in the back of my head for so long. i wondered why it took so long for supreme team to make another album, the fact that e-sens hasnt made a solo album, the fact that most videos and perf you see DD with only simon d., i knew something was up. i really feel e-sens just probably wanted to do music different from the amoeba culture brand and add in a lil fight or arguements on his behavior.

  4. I'm really glad you wrote this post, I've been wanting to read a long analysis on this.

    And I totally agree that he should join Grandline Ent, I think he'd be able to make his own music there. That said, I'll really miss Supreme Team, but I wish both of them the best.

  5. I enjoyed this post. Thanks for writing! And now that you've stated some of the obvious I'm beginning to feel it too. I thought things were beginning to look good since Poison and Noworkend thing but apparently like what you said, "test waters". But AC has been a little fishy too like you mentioned they're really going too mainstream but I guess if it feeds them well, sure. Idk which label will sign him but idk.... GL? I kinda don't enjoy Geek's mainstream popularity right now but to appeal to the masses....that's what they gotta do. Maybe in the coming Geeks concert Esens would be there attending? HAHAA wishful thinking

  6. It is sad to add this....E-sens just wrote on twitter that he has left the I.K. crew.....I am worried about the both of seems like there is a problem between the two now.