Korean Hip-Hop from the US
MKIT RAIN Records, Los Angeles
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Hip-hop influences the culture and lifestyles of today's youths. As more and more people aspire to become rap stars, wannabe rappers upload their mixtapes online for people to listen to. Through this process, they become associated with music labels and groups, or join entertainment agencies. Some Korean rappers are now active overseas and MKIT RAIN, a hip-hop label based in Los Angeles, is of substantive support to them.
The name MKIT RAIN comes from the phrase 'make it rain', which is widely used in the hip-hop scenes as is throwing money in the air. This shows people the pride and goal of the musicians of the fact that they will earn enormous amounts of money as rappers. As for the members of the label, there are: Loopy, Nafla, Bloo, Owen Ovadoz, and Young West. The label was established on 22nd January, 2016 by Loopy, Nafla, and Bloo.
As many rappers wish to create their rap name into something that best contains their character and music style, Loopy creates songs with tight beats and lyrics. The name Loopy comes from 'loop', which is the repetition of a song. It also holds the meaning 'half insane'. Although Loopy has not lived in the United States for as long as the other members of MKIT RAIN, he has his unique flows that appear original in taste. Loopy won the Best Mixtape Song of the Year 2015 from Hiphop LE, an online webzine and community for African-American music. “The goal of MKIT RAIN is to bring the native [US] hip-hop vibe to Korea. We would like to introduce the new genre of hip hop,” said Loopy during an interview with Wikitree. “Korea seems to concentrate only on the fashion of hip-hop and that's not all there is to the genre,” he added.
Nafla came up with his name from some words written on a fizzy drink. 'Natural flavor' combined together becomes his name, Nafla. Born in Los Angeles, he used to work with 42 crew members, most of whom are now in the MKIT RAIN records. Nafla’s rap style used to be very aggressive since it was used to show his sense of anger until now. He is currently at the stage of finding his real music style. “We knew that our first official concert, First Class, would be sold out. A lot of people are interested in our group and we have been preparing as if a foreign artist is visiting Korea,” said Nafla during an interview with Wikitree. The Best Mixtape of the Year 2015 Award, and Best Mixtape Performance of the Year 2015 Award have been received by Nafla from Hiphop LE.
Bloo used to work under the name of Daniel Prynne. He got his name from Badboyloo. He believes that originality in music comes from the roots of where it originated from, which is the United States. “Korean lyrics would all meet at a point where people have had similar experiences at school and while dating. It has to be limited. In the United States, there is a culture that makes people understand the roots to where hip-hop music has originated from,” said Bloo during an interview with Wikitree. He has strong faith and conviction in his music that he concentrates on making a piece of music that the public wants to listen to. “I have worked on the storytelling part of music so that my memories take place within the music,” he said during a listening session with Hiphop LE.
Owen Ovadoz has his name from a Bible verse, 'if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also'. Owen is the generous ego while Ovadoz is the negative ego that adds up to the two sides of human being. Owen, who spent his childhood years in the United States, is famous for his amount of songs produced. He has produced so many mixtapes until now and a lot of rappers say that it is hard to keep up with the pace since he is so passionate at his work. During an interview with Hiphop LE, he said that “I am a very greedy person when it comes to creating songs. I write the lyrics fast and I spend a whole day recording the songs created." He added, "I create blueprints in my life as a steroid. It drives me forward and achieve things one by one, which motivates me to go even further."
Last but not least, Young West, who is from the 42-person crew with Nafla and Bloo, has also joined the MKIT RAIN as the fifth member. As of the ‘Bad Bad Good Good Tour in DAEGU’, which was a concert held in Daegu, Korea, he has officially joined the label. “I moved to California when I was young. My starting point was listening to different types of music. The relationship among the 42-member crew started by hanging out together since junior high,” said Young West during an interview with Street. “I try to create a free, out-of-the-box type of music. I want to make the listeners move and be remembered as more than just a rapper,” he added.
Although these five different musicians each have unique characteristics, they come together to create a well-balanced synergy that is affecting the Korean hip-hop scene. Since they have ambitious goals with a lot to offer to Koreans, why not give them a listen.
Kim Seung-jun firstname.lastname@example.org
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