Hanyang University vs Seoul National University Hip Hop Battle
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Last year, the hip hop battle between Hanyang University (HYU) and Seoul National University (SNU) was a popular internet hit. The hip hop circles of HYU and SNU came together and each presented an ingeniously written self-composed song. This year, with high expectations, the hip hop battle between HYU and SNU continued its second round.
On June 10th, HYU's Showdown and SNU's Bounce Factory released their music videos, "Gatsby" and "Well-educated Kid," respectively. HYU's "Gatsby" featured dark dream-like aesthetics with a unique tune, while SNU's "Well-educated Kid" carried a fresh and energetic vibe. Both songs received wild attention on Youtube and were complimented on their unique themes and catchy flows.
A member of Showdown, Kong Young-jin (Department of Korean Language and Literature, 4th year), and a member of Bounce Factory, Choi Hyun-se, joined us for an interview this week.
Q: How did the hip hop battle continue into season 2? HYU: Both circles were willing to hold another competition, and after the success of last year's songs, "Wonderwood" (a production group known for many university-featured videos) offered to co-produce proper high-quality music videos. The participating teams were chosen by in-house votes, and we started the preparations last December.
Q: Let's talk about the songs. How did the team come up with your song - its atmosphere, tune, flow, and lyrics? What does the song portray, and what did you want to express through the song? HYU: We put a lot of effort into choosing the right beat that captured the ambience we wanted to create. Then we had to decide whether we wanted the song to flow harmoniously as one song, or allow individual members to stand out and portray his own style. Being the ambitious musicians that we are, we decided on the latter. Each member wrote his own part and each held a different meaning: ZRO dissed, Kylee Dawn talked love and peace, and so on. We then re-arranged the beat for each person. That's why our song is more individual-focused than the opponent's song.
SNU:As for us, it happened that all five members were far from the rough dissing style. Also, we wanted to break away from the usually dark and intense songs of hip hop battles. Thus we detoured and made it our primary goal to make a summer-like, fun song which shows the face of Seoul, befitting of the name of Seoul National University. Choosing the beat was a really hard task for us, too. We took the motif from No Brain's song, and wrote the parts individually.
Q: Both of the music videos are of very high quality. Where was yours filmed? HYU: In the Incheon Paradise City Hotel. A member of our circle knows a board member, so we were able to rent the place. After filming, we performed there in the evening. SNU:At various places in Seoul, like Hangang Park, Namsan, and COEX. Since our university is Seoul National University, a representative university of Seoul, "the honorary ambassador of Seoul" became our concept. The filming was exhausting. Once, we filmed at Namsan but we could not ride the cable car, so we hiked an hour carrying the heavy filming equipment, and when we filmed at COEX, there was a huge performance and I had to act with 10 thousand people in the plaza. It was so embarrassing.
Q: In your own opinion, how would you rate your team’s song out of ten? HYU:Perfect 10! SNU: I’d say 9.5, only to compare to Hanyang’s song.
Q: Then, what do you think of each other’s song? HYU: I honestly think they did better. Throughout the preparation, we helped and encouraged each other a lot, and I genuinely hoped SNU would do great - and they definitely did! Since their music videos tend to gain more attention, we're expecting a trickle-down effect. SNU: There have been many university hip hop battles thus far, but I think Hanyang's song this year placed almost at the top tier. Honestly, the usual content is pretty provocative, so I never watched any video for more than a minute, but I watched theirs to the end. I could feel that they put so much effort into it.
Q: Lastly, will the HYU vs. SNU hip hop battle continue next year and into the future? HYU:Unfortunately, it isn't clear. We will need a filming crew to continue the event next year. Nonethelss, since the videos gain a lot of attention each year, I'm sure we could recruit a crew. Then the battle will begin again.
Lim Ji-woo firstname.lastname@example.org Photo by Kim Ju-eun