Read Dok2 and The Quiett‘s latest interview with Elle about connecting the link between hip hop kings and boyfriends.
An ‘Ethical’ Comic Talk with Pure Machos Illionaire Gang1)A pun on dodeok (ethical) and Dodeok (shortened combination of Dok2 & The Quiett in Korean)
In the music scene, they make the hearts of hip hop fans who hold up three fingers leap for joy, and off stage, they make the hearts of women flutter: Illionaire Records’ Dok2 and The Quiett. Together with the two of them, we set out to find the connecting link between hip hop kings and boyfriends.
Photographer: Jung Ji-eun
Stylist: Yoon Eun-young
Editor: Kim Bora
Dok2 is wearing is a golden-framed jumper with black and blue patterns that is an Alexander McQueen by Boon the Shop. The black beanie, black denim jeans, and the walkers are his own possessions. The Quiett is wearing a gold-frame patterned black sweatshirt that is an Alexander McQueen by Boon the Shop. The snapback, black denim jeans, and the walkers are all his own possessions.
The co-CEOs of hip-hop label Illionaire Records Dok2 and The Quiett met in 2005 when they participated in Dynamic Duo’s 2nd album. In the hip-hop world which was lined up with people born in the 70’s, the two were always the youngest wherever they went and naturally became close. It might have been fate that the two who pursued the same style and had the same goals met in the hip hop scene full of different styles. Eventually, The Quiett declared himself independent of ‘Soul Company’ and proposed to Dok2 ‘let’s make our own company’, and revealed ‘Illionaire Records’ to the world on January 1st, 2011. ‘More than anything we make fun music and let people have fun listening to that. Then people will also like it.’ With this single belief, they created a musical cause that made the ‘Dodeok’ couple a trend. We reveal the pleasant comic talk with them.
Congratulations on winning ‘Show Me the Money’. You’ve become really famous but with the way things are, will you appear on variety programs also?
The Quiett (hereafter Q): To be honest, I’m short of time even just for making music. ‘Show Me the Money 3’ was tiring because it was a program that took a long time to film. Honestly, [it was so tiring that] in the episode where we were in danger of being eliminated, we wanted to be eliminated. It looks like we have benefitted the most from ‘Show Me the Money 3’, but I think variety shows are different. On ‘Show Me the Money 3’, we could show ourselves as the musicians we are. For normal entertainment programs, we’d have to become entertainers. It would be laughable if we ran around playing games on shows like ‘Go Dream Team’ or ‘Running Man’.
It seems you got a phone call from one of the PDs of ‘Show Me the Money’ a little earlier, are they already casting you for another season?
Dok2 (hereafter D): Even so we won’t do it. Please print it in ‘Elle’. So that in case I waver about it later, I can read the ‘Elle’ interview and compose myself saying ‘Ah right. I said this’. (Laughs)
There’s a lot of talk about money and success in ‘Illionaire’ songs.
D: This is exactly what we consider hip hop. Most of the raps of the hip-hop mainland USA are like that too, but in Korea it’s known wrongly. Becoming successful through rap and living in a nice house, riding a nice car, buying that watch, [originally] stuff like that is very natural [for rappers]. We also weren’t like that from the beginning. In our old songs we don’t talk about money but about the poor lives we had. So it’s not that we’re very obsessed with money.
Have you thought about the response of young listeners who enjoy your music?
Q: Of course. We also thought ‘Wow, how can that be’, when we saw overseas hip-hop music videos and read their lyrics when we were young.
D: In the past I didn’t know if it was possible to throw away a pair of shoes after wearing it once. When I was young, I inserted elastic bands into the collars of t-shirts (of which I bought three for 5,000 won), super scared that they might wear out, but now, if for example make-up got on a t-shirt while putting it off, I throw it away immediately. The important thing here is this: are you envious of us being like this or do you have the ambition ‘I have to be as successful as them’?
Q: We always emphasize through our music that ‘I wasn’t originally like this but I worked hard and got here’.
‘This is the result of our music’? ‘And we even earned money’?
Q: That’s right. Instead, our fans will think that they will be the best in what they want to do or what they can do by giving their best, no matter in which area, it doesn’t have to be music.
The dense black knit is a Carven by Koon, the white Oxford shirt is a YMC, the sneakers and the black denim pants are all his own clothing.
D: Although we do brag, we’ve never said anything negative. ‘You can’t be like me’, ‘Only I can do this’, I’ve never made any types of sarcastic remarks like this … ah, I have. Hahaha.
Q: But you can just think of it as a hip-hop manner of expression and attitude.
D: It’s like a sort of self-help book. In the story, there are swear words, the person who tells the story has tattoos on their body and creates an uproar on stage so people look at it with different eyes.
When you weren’t popular have you ever been humiliated?
D: I was signed to a major company from the start. I was always #1 in the hip-hop world. Even 10 years ago, my concerts were nearly sold out. This isn’t boasting but the truth.
Q: I have. When I was an amateur, I once rapped in front of only two people. I also performed in Sillim-dong’s Sundae Town before.2)Sundae Town is an area full of restaurants that sell sundae (Korean blood sausages), thus note the ludicrosity of performing in such a venue.
You don’t drink alcohol or smoke, and don’t even drink coffee, then where do you look for pleasure?
D: That’s a prejudice of Korean people … even black American rappers don’t look for pleasure in those things. Honestly alcohol, cigarettes, and the likes are ‘icons of sorrow’.
When you aren’t working …
D: Traveling, shopping, performances. I think I have a pattern of repeating these three things.
Q: We invest the money other people spend on alcohol and cigarettes in buying things we like.
D: Alcohol gives you a heartburn and when you’re sober it’s over. We live healthily.
Recently, hip hop musicians are being listed on a ‘Wannabe Boyfriend’ list. As expected you two are listed.
D: Ah, it’s an uproar. Yea~ I’m good looking.
Q: I’ll report you. They say ‘there’s something stuck on your face’. You’re good looking.3)An old gag indicating that someone is good looking. The pun is on the phrase ‘gim mudeottda’ (something’s stuck on your face), and ‘jalsaenggim’ (good looks).
Do you [usually] react to that kind of interest that fans show you?
Q: I think this is the reason why we’re different from idols. Many characteristics of idols are defined by image-making.
D: Idols are told stuff like ‘Whenever you open your mouth you become an idiot so shut your mouth’. No matter if we’re actually idiots or not, we do and say whatever we want. There are also fans who sometimes criticize our clothes but we don’t care.
D: I get a lot of threatening comments on SNS telling me to shave my beard.
There are a lot of fans who want you to post pictures of yourself smiling.
Q: I usually smile a lot but I don’t smile well in front of the camera. Why would I, as long as the camera isn’t funny! I can’t understand why I have to smile although it’s not funny.
Your ideal types are…
Q: It’s a really difficult question.
D: I don’t have one. If we discuss it more and nitpick, an ideal type will come up, though.
Q: Yeah. But there isn’t just one.
D: We like variety. (Laughs)
What kind of boyfriend do you want to become?
D: The kind that works hard and earns a lot of money so I can let my girlfriend do whatever she wants, someone a bit like ‘Mansour’.4)Dok2 is referring to Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Prime Minister of the UAE who is known for his wealth. I’m not saying that all you need is money and everything works out. Even so, showing my real self is my idea of love I guess? Well, I’m like that. Because I love her I want to treat her well.
What about The Quiett?
Q: I’m always told that I’m nice. I’m not a ‘bad guy’. So I think being a nice guy is natural to me and good for my girlfriend as well.
The diamond decorated skull pendant necklace is H.R., the embroidered gray knit is a Dolce & Gabbana, the gray beanie, the black denim pants, and the walkers all are his own clothing.
Q (cont): I’ve never fought with a woman, not even once. Till now it’s a new record. I’m really a person that’s known to never fight with women.
When you get a girlfriend, will you make it public?
D, Q: No!
Q: If it’s a public relationship, chaos will ensue. Especially at a time like this [when we’re so popular], our girlfriend could get killed.
I heard that Dok2 lives in Yeoeui-do’s Marriott, and The Quiett lives alone in a 50-pyeong apartment. Aren’t there times you’re lonely living alone in a big apartment?
Q: I have a lot of things so my place is more crowded than you think.
D: And we have big TVs too.
You said you were lonely in your songs before.
Q: Well, that’s the loneliness you feel in life. When living there are times you’ll feel empty.
At those times, do you comfort yourself looking at the things you bought?
Q: Yes, either that or I buy new things. To be honest, in my thirty years of living, I’ve gone through a variety of things. When I was young, I rushed into this [Korean hip hop] scene but now I know the know-how’s of overcoming loneliness.
D: Loneliness is a kind of imagination. It’s not something that you have since you’re born. I can get rid of the loneliness that I caused myself to feel.
Q: That’s a famous saying. Is it by Kim Jaedong?5)Kim Jaedong is a comedian that is infamous for coming up with sayings.
D: It’s in the Buddhist scriptures. I’m Buddhist.
Do you have any overseas plans?
Q: We have a performance in Japan in the middle of October. We also had a performance in New York in September. They’re sold out every time. We’re obviously thankful.
Are you continuously working on songs?
D: I’m planning on releasing a single album in the middle of October. It’s the piano version of the title song ‘My Love’ from my first full-length album.
That sounds like your female fans will love it.
D: Oh, it’s very emotional. It’s the first love song I’ve released in three years.
Q: I’m also releasing a solo single sometime in the middle of October. I haven’t decided on the title yet. I’m also slowly working on a full-length album.
Oh, you two emphasize ‘11:11’ every time, why is that?
D: We announced the establishment of our label on January 1st, 2011, ‘Illionaire’ is written like ‘1LLI’, and when we release new songs, we try to do so at 11:11 pm. Thus, we have gotten a lot of connections with ‘1’ and it naturally became symbolic.
Even the interview we’re doing right now will appear in Elle’s November issue.
Q: That’s right. It’s super great that it’s in the November edition, oh, no wonder.
D: ‘Elle’ will probably sell out completely.
Q: We also did the interview because it’s Elle. We rejected everyone else. We’re expensive. Hahaha.
—[ SOURCE | ELLE ] [ TRANSLATION EDIT | Lena ]
Translator Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||A pun on dodeok (ethical) and Dodeok (shortened combination of Dok2 & The Quiett in Korean)|
|2.||↑||Sundae Town is an area full of restaurants that sell sundae (Korean blood sausages), thus note the ludicrosity of performing in such a venue.|
|3.||↑||An old gag indicating that someone is good looking. The pun is on the phrase ‘gim mudeottda’ (something’s stuck on your face), and ‘jalsaenggim’ (good looks).|
|4.||↑||Dok2 is referring to Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Prime Minister of the UAE who is known for his wealth.|
|5.||↑||Kim Jaedong is a comedian that is infamous for coming up with sayings.|