It was April 11, 2009 when one of my bestfriends introduced KPOP to me. I eas a JPOP fan prior to that so it wasn’t really hard to like boy groups from another country. She first showed me Super Junior’s Happiness MV. The song was nice. The MV was cute, too. But the group didn’t have that very big effect on me. They were, for me, very normal. So, she tried to show me another MV. She knew I was into American hiphop at that time. Ludacris, Flo Rida, Eminem were some artists I listened to. This time, she showed me Bigbang’s Lollipop. And that was it. I fell for Korean music. Bigbang was just so amazing. From the song, to the members, to the music video, everything was just so right. I then declared myself as a fan.
While I was spazzing over Bigbang and 2ne1, I happened to have stumbled across other groups that were also promoting in the same year. There were the Wonder Girls, SHINee, 2PM, SNSD and 4minute. Even my highschool classmates started to like KPOP because I kept on playing and singing these songs at school.
But in 2010, when I started college, I had a lot more time to indulge myself in the world of KPOP. I met new groups, heard more songs. And that’s when I stumbled across Epik High.
I was watching FT Island’s I Hope MV on Youtube. Then on the “suggested” area, the next video was Epik High’s Run. I clicked on it. I wanted to know if it was a Korean song because, somehow, they looked Indonesian to me. And so it played. I watched. I even remember shedding a tear before it ended. And I loved it! The lyrics, the music, the music video, it was all so perfect! And it was the first KPOP MV I watched and heard that all verses were rapped. And I really liked how they did it. I was just so amazed. That’s when I started researching about them. I had to know how they started, what their label is, who they are and what other songs they have. And it was the start of a wonderful life with Epik High.
As I researched about them, I stumbled across other artists they’ve collaborated with. And so I looked for DoK2, Drunken Tiger, Kero One, MYK, Dumbfoundead, Younha, Bumkey, and more. That included those who were in the same crew as them, Movement Crew. A “crew” was a new thing for me. I mean, I knew what it meant. But what’s so special about it to even have a name for it?
And that’s when I learned about Korean Hiphop. Most of the people Epik High has collaborated with were considered Korean Hiphop artists. And I also discovered they were entirely different from those artists I see on TV. And my curiosity took me to heaven. The more I dug into their histories, the more enthusiastic I was in supporting them. I listened to most of their songs and even though some of them may not sound very nice, their lyrics are still so amazing. And personally, I look for that in a song. It just doesn’t take a good melody to catch people. Sometimes, it’s in what your song means. Epik High’s songs were all like that, filled with a message that speaks to its listeners. And soon enough I was left in love with Korean Hiphop.
However, 2011 was the year I started to love the underground scene, those artists that are active in clubs and are part of much more less popular labels. I learned about Jiggy Fellaz, Overclass, Buddha Babyz and Soul Connection. When Block B debuted, I was introduced to Buckwilds, Do’mains and Royalclass. In early 2012, I was also starting to like Sexy Street and Yello, Vismajor and members of DaeNamHyup.
As I was still a very dedicated KPOP fan (not to mention, a busy KPOP fanbase admin), it was hard to keep up with both worlds. But I must admit, being an admin made it easier for me to promote KHOP to other people. It was by mid-2013 that my friends from Kpop United Clan started to like some rappers I kept on spazzing about. That included Paloalto, Supreme Boi, i11evn, Scotch VIP, San E, J’Kyun and Uglyduck.
And right now, KUC permits on me posting anything about KHOP. There’s also a growing number of followers of DaeNamHyup and Royalclass in our group. And I’m proud to say that their growing curiosity makes me even inspired to be more updated with KHOP.
My mom always hears KHOP songs on ny phone. She would sometimes tell me why I listen to this kind of songs, especially if the song playing is something like Epik High’s “Born Hater”, DaeNamHyup’s “Crew Love” and Jiggy Fellaz’ “La Familia”. But she never really reacts if it’s something like Tymee’s “Diary”, Phantom’s “I Already Know” or Verbal Jint’s You’re Pretty Enough” playing. She respects music and the artists’ talents, which is something I learned to do myself. I owe it to my mom why I liked music from different countries. She listens to them, too, including music of different genres. And she would tell me that music isn’t about if you understand the lyrics or not. Music is meant to be listened to. If you’re moved just by listening to it, then it must be a very good song. You can learn what the lyrics mean afterwards anyway. There will always be songs that don’t appeal to you but that doesn’t mean you have to hate it. The artist put a lot of effort to put their songs out. That alone deserves respect.
KHOP taught me to respect people more. And that’s what I share with my friends and other people. Respect. And this is one of the reasons I’m proud to say that I am just not a Korean Hiphop fan. I’m a loyalist.