Beenzino for Musinsa

Beenzino – Musinsa Interview (2012)

In Interviews, Translated Interviews by Lena

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Read Musinsa‘s short but sweet interview with Beenzino from 2012.

Musinsa, meeting Beenzino.

This year, Beenzino released a new album and time for him just flies by. And meeting him, time flew by as we talked. We asked everything, not only the important questions. Of course, all the questions he had received several times before as well. Because we thought that way, Beenzino would become tired and a dead body on the sofa1)Reference to the lyrics of Beenzino’s Boogie On & On and be here tomorrow as well.

This year, we’ve seen you in Carhartt’s last season’s collection Lookbook and through the release of your album “2 4 : 2 6.” But an interview is a first.
That’s right, it’s the first time Musinsa is interviewing me as the rapper Beenzino.

Please introduce yourself first.
I’m the rapper Beenzino who is active under Illionaire Records.

I want to make you say things you’ve said several times before. I’m curious about the meaning behind your name.
As often as I get that question, I’ve answered it, but people still ask it a lot. In America, there’s a rapper called Benzino. I don’t like him. There was a lot of fuss about him because he dissed Eminem. In middle school, my friends and I parodied names of rappers. The parody of Benzino was Beenzino. That’s how the name was made. My friend’s name was Doctor Crab and mine was Beenzino. I didn’t know I’d use it for such a long time (laughs).

Benzino, I mean Beenzino is a rapper. How did you start with hip hop?
The first time I became interested in hip hop was when I lived in New Zealand, I was about 11-12 years old. Since then I’ve been interested in hip hop. I somehow had lots of interest in rap. I rapped along to songs and I was very interested in it. No matter if it was Tony Ahn’s rap in a song by H.O.T or an English rap, I rapped along to all of them. In sixth grade of elementary school, I started writing lyrics. I think that was the beginning.

Which musician do you like best?
I like Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar and Franc Ocean, he’s not a rapper though.

You normally work with musicians you’re close with but this time you only worked a lot with your Illionaire label mates.
I think that’s because we have lots in common regarding the style of our music.

There’s a rumor saying you personally painted the camel on the album jacket of your album “2 4 : 2 6.”
I didn’t paint it myself. The illustrator Cha Inchul who designed Jazzyfact’s album covers painted it. I told him that I’d release and album and he produced the painting. If I had painted it, the album might have not come out ……

How are you working that it’s possible the album might not have come out?
That’s different from season to season. These days, I first search for a beat I like. After thinking of what I’d like to do with that beat, I think of a theme and approach it. The lyrics I want to express are mostly written at home but I also go out or to a book store to read books [to get ideas for the lyrics].

What books do you mainly read?
I’m the type who reads books that catch my eye. I don’t read that much but I definitely know which books I like: Alain de Botton’s “Status Anxiety” and Lee Sukwon’s “Ordinary Existence.” They left a deep impression and remain long in my memories.

From where else do you get inspiration for your lyrics, other than from books?
Sometimes I think of lyrics while watching movies. I’m the type to feel a lot when reading books or watching movies. If something comes to me that way, I try to get home as fast as possible and work.

Other than books and movies, which person has the most influence on you?
The most influence on my producing has Jazzyfact’s producer Shimmy Twice. I’ve been friends with him since high school, so we both know what the other likes and get along well. The music we listen to isn’t similar but we understand each other.

You’ve already worked with him; is there anyone else you’d like to work with?
I don’t know at the moment. There isn’t anyone I especially want to work with. If I have to pick someone, I’d say Yang Donggeun, with whom I’ve never worked with until now.

You were quite famous as part of Jazzyfact. What kind of music is Jazzyfact making?
It’s been 2 years since Jazzyfact has released an album. But I’m always thankful for fans who still remember it (laughs). It’s a funny fact, but Jazzyfact’s music is based on jazz rap. But it’s not different from the music I’m making now. I think the basic sample is a bit more plain.

You’ve done a lot during your twenties. Now that you’re drawing near their end, what do you think is different from their beginning?
That I’m making more money (laughs)? It’s changed a lot to the better. Of course there are also things which got worse. In the beginning of the twenties, my brain worked fast and no matter what I did, it went well. I didn’t hesitate, no matter what it was. But now that time’s passing, I think my brain is also getting old. Maybe it’s because I’m only working. Before, when I wanted to go to college, I went, and when I didn’t want to go, I didn’t go. What I mean is, now it feels like I’m aging because I’m doing the things I have to do, instead of living the way I want to. I absolutely have to take a break. I want to take a break and gain experience by doing the things I want to do in that time. So my goal for November is to take a break and to concentrate on myself as much as possible during that time.

Now that you’ve mentioned school, has the title “student of Seoul National University” ever burdened you?
It doesn’t burden me a lot. I think if people like it [that I’m a student of Seoul National University], then it’s good, and if they don’t like it, they don’t. I don’t care a lot about it.

Those are true words, what is your dream as a musician from now on?
In the end, the life I want is to make the music I like and do arts as well, while earning lots of money. Instead of living life the way others tell me to, I’d like to live my life the way I want.

That’s good to hear, anything else you’d like to say in the end?
I’m having a solo concert soon. The hip hop label “Illionaire” ( which I’m signed to is also going to have a concert. I’d like for many to come. Dok2 and The Quiett will also release new stuff, it would be great if you show lots of interest in our activities. Last but not least, thank you!


Editor: Kim Bo-eun | Photo: Jun Sungsoo
Published: 09/28/2012, 9:08 p.m.

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