I recently had the opportunity to talk with Chillin Ovatime, a Korean hiphop artist recognized by fans for his lyrical coherence and rhythmic creativity. During the past week, he agreed to answer fans’ questions about his career and the overall state of Korean hiphop in an exclusive interview with HiphopKR.
I know things can get a little crazy when artists are preparing for upcoming projects, so thanks for taking the time out to do the interview and answer some of the questions that were sent in.
I’m glad to be here. Thanks.
Our first question comes from Rajaa Ma who asked: “Is there a reason why you changed your name?”
In the past, there was a time when I had to take medication due to the emotional toll songwriting was having on my emotions. After deciding that I needed to think more positively about and enjoy the creative process, I changed my name to Chillin Ovatime with a fresh start in mind. I think of it as relaxing and enjoying life to the fullest, in a way.
João Victor Cruz asked: “What is your opinion about the current situation of Korean Rap? What do you dislike?”
I love how hiphop is more widely known now than it was back in the day. There isn’t really anything about the actual state of Korean hiphop that I dislike, but I think the rappers who rhyme just to make themselves look good are wack.
Monie Potter asked: “Among these rookie rappers nowadays, who do you think […] will grow big in [the] future?”
Myself 😉 Nah, I’m playing. I haven’t given it too much thought, though. To be honest, I feel like there’s a difference between getting famous, and understanding, genuinely enjoying, and ultimately creating good hiphop.
Rajaa Ma asked: “With which artists would you like to work with?”
There are actually alot of great people I’d like to work with. Recently I’ve been thinking about Okasian, Owen Ovadoz, and B-Free. I like their vibe and can respect their creativity on the mic.
Growing up in a culture that gravitated more towards a fixation on American and European pop as opposed to hiphop throughout the 90’s, what was it that originally got you interested in hiphop and eventually inspired you to become a creator of the genre itself?
I attended school in Korea until I was in my second year of middle school and ended up going to live in Seattle in the States after that. While I was there, I had some black friends that I chilled with and over time, I eventually picked up their love for hiphop. Initially, I started recording pre-existing songs for fun and then challenged myself to write my own lyrics. In the beginning it was really difficult, but as time went on I really began to enjoy lacing beats with the words I wanted to express and transforming songs into whatever I wanted them to be. There were definitely plently of challenges along the way, though.
You mentioned to me before that you have Starfield’s symbol tattooed on your arm. Could you tell us a little more about what that means to you and how you initially became affiliated with the label?
I think of us as a crew more than a label. The reason why I have the crew’s mark tattooed on my arm is because Starfield is like a family to me. It feels like we were just meant to be. I’m here doing my thing because Starfield is here doing it’s thing. That’s kind of what was going through my mind when I decided to get the inkwork done. Starfield originally began as a crew that I started with Kambo, so the journey to where I am today has always felt really natural to me. Although it was just me and Kambo back in the day, we’re now running with other members as well that I wouldn’t trade for anyone else: Kambo, JL, Mateo, Cloudy Beats, Chris Lyon, MachoGrande, Quan D, and Jmue. They’re all family and I got alot of love for them.
Working as an artist within the hiphop community and having the opportunity to see some of the concepts other rappers bring to the table firsthand, is there anything you wish you saw more of on the Korean hiphop scene?
From what I see, there are plenty of artists who are trying to share alot of diverse and fresh ideas and styles with eachother. I’m constantly trying to do my best to find how I can contribute along with everyone else. There isn’t really anything that I would like to gain from the hiphop scene. I’d rather have the hiphop scene be able to gain something from the work I put out. I’m just gonna keep doing what I do.
Looking at the variety in the style of beats you choose to incorporate into your music, do you have any overall personal preference or feel as though some styles are more fitting for certain messages than others?
I don’t necessarily think so. I’m not too picky about the styles of beats I rap over, so I personally don’t feel that there are certain types of beats that I’m able to communicate better over or that make the lyrics come easier.
I’m excited to see the achievements and potential that you continue to show through your music, and I’m sure the fans are as well. Do you have any projects coming up that you are able to discuss and what are your plans for the near future?
Although I haven’t put out any releases besides “Guilty“ since I changed my name, I’m currently in the final stages of working on my new mixtape entitled Just Chillin. Before the release I have about two more music videos scheduled to be released. One of my goals for the future is to continue to express myself through different styles and share the music Starfield creates with as many listeners as possible. As for a more personal goal, I would like to get another tattoo on my right arm similar to how I have Starfield’s emblem on my left.
I definitely wish you the best with your plans and am looking forward to yourupcoming mixtape’s release. Thanks for spending time with us.
No problem. Thanks for having me.
Interviewer Chris Lyon is a hiphop producer currently working in South Korea. Originally finding an interest in Korean culture in high school, he began investing his time in learning the language as well as furthering his love for music production. He later decided to complete a portion of his education in South Korea and started building relationships with some of the hiphop artists in the area. He now enjoys doing what he can to help promote Korean hiphop culture through a variety of avenues while working on production at Starfield Entertainment.
Update (July 12, 2015): The MV for Chillin Ovatime’s latest track 3ways is now up on YouTube! The MV was shot by macho GRANDE and was created in one continuous shot. Check it out below: