“I’m not afraid of dying, I’m just afraid of being forgotten.”
Rudeka has produced and released over 14 mixtapes and stands out with a special rap style, a unique voice and honest lyrics. In 2013, he chose music over university and has recently released his latest mixtape ‘The Amazing RUDE-MAN’.
Tkhhi has asked him about his mixtape, himself and music.
THE ARTIST – Intro
Please introduce yourself for those who don’t know Rudeka.
Hello, I am Rudeka. I am a peculiar musician who shows the many sides of humans the way they are.
Info: The artist name Rudeka comes from typing his real name Kyeongdam (경담) on a Western keyboard.
How did you start making music?
When I was very young, I tried painting and dancing, but I felt a limit there and thought “Ah, this is not my thing.” While with music, I realized that I was slowly improving. That’s how I got here.
Why did you quit university and chose music?
Escaping high school where you had to learn as you were told to, I liked university where you could learn a bit more freely and independently. But the human relationships I experienced there were too disgusting. (TN: He is referring to the typical Korean seonbae-hubae [senior-junior], hyeong-dongsaeng relationships which are often abused.)
Have you ever regretted quitting university?
Not really, but recently the idol group AOA performed at the university festival [of my former university], which made me regret it a bit.
Your first name is Kyeongdam (경담) which you’ve used for a few songs as artist name other than Rudeka. There is also a personality called Dru that appears in your lyrics. Please explain the relationship between Rudeka, Dru and Kyeongdam.
Rudeka is the name of the one who represents all these personalities. He also stands for seriousness, agony, heroism and other, positive characteristics. Dru is the bad guy who keeps Rudeka in check. I use Kyeongdam for depression, delicacy and other feelings, he is the closest to the weak side of humans. Since all three are me, they are similar but also different beings.
MIXTAPE – The Amazing RUDE-MAN
Listen to the preview while reading!
Compared to most other mixtapes that are being released these days, ‘The Amazing RUDE-MAN’ is a lot richer in lyrics, the songs are longer and you completely produced it by yourself. Have you considered that you might not get back as much as you’ve put in?
The same goes for my previous works as well. I was quite sad about it, but now I’m probably over it. I just made the mixtape thinking “Listen to it or not.”
In the promotion text, you wrote that you referred to graphic novels to express your dark side. Which were those?
I referred a lot to Spiderman, as Peter Parker in the comic seemed similar to myself. I took the title of the song ‘Back In Anger’ from the Spiderman graphic novel ‘Back In Black’.
As expected, the titles ‘The Amazing RUDE-MAN’ and ‘Rudeka’s Creed’ do come from ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ and ‘Assassin’s Creed’, is that correct?
Yes, that’s right. I’ve made myself the main character.
The theme of the mixtape seems to be anger?
Yes. I thought it is the feeling that I can express the best.
Nevertheless, the aggressive personality Dru doesn’t appear except for in the song ‘아름다웠지’ (It Was Beautiful) which you’ve made long before this mixtape.
Actually, I’m planning to make this album a series. If I have the time and if I’m in the position to make a full-length album, I’ll have to do that properly. Then, Dru will officially appear as well.
In the skits, you talk about very personal and serious issues but seem to sarcastically make fun of them at the end. Is there a reason for that?
I want people to not take it too seriously when they hear what happened to me. Of course, I went through all of it, but those things have become a musical tool and I want people to see the music I’ve made, with the background of those things, as nothing more than art.
The beat of the song ‘조롱둥이’ (Mocked Kid) is impressive and special. Where did you get the idea for it?
I wanted the beat itself to be funny. So I referred a lot to trot music.
Why did you change The Lips’ voice on ‘조롱둥이’ (Mocked Kid) with audiotune? It is a pity that we cannot hear his beautiful voice.
That is sarcasm as well. I wanted to make fun of rappers who use lame audiotune.
Why did you rearrange ‘아름다웠지’ (It Was Beautiful) and ‘잔상’ (Afterimage)? You seem to rearrange your songs a lot.
Seeing it from another angle, those songs aren’t music but like movies that I’ve directed. I worked on them again with the wish of a director who wants to show a clear image by neatly remastering movies that were black and white.
1993 is your year of birth. What kind of meaning does the song 93 have?
93 is my year of birth and also the year when the Expo opened in Daejeon (TN: Daejeon is his hometown). It was the time when I and Daejeon shined the brightest, so the song contains the meaning of going back to that great time.
To ask a bit of a critical question, why did you use the word “homo” as an insult?
I think I wanted to show an inclination towards being macho. If I have to name it, it’s not “being homo” but “acting like a homo” that is disgusting. That’s how I expressed the ugly things happening in the Korean hip hop scene.
So you’re not insulting homosexuals and you’re not homophobic either?
Did anything interesting happen during your work on the mixtape?
Since I made most of the songs alone in my room, nothing very interesting happened. Sometimes, my younger brother came into the room while I was concentrated on recording. Since I was wearing headphones, I often realized only later that he had come in and got so startled that my heart nearly stopped.
Which songs do you like best?
‘Back In Anger’ and ‘혐오스런 일상’ (Hateful Daily Life). These two songs are the most typical for me.
When is the best time to listen to ‘The Amazing RUDE-MAN’?
I think it would be good when you’re angry but cannot show it.
What kind of music are you listening to lately?
I listen to a few songs by the Korean band Roller Coaster and to some by Sam Smith.
Why do you think people should listen to your music?
Because I’m good. There is nearly no other rapper in Korea who is as honest as I am.
What do you think is the ideal reaction when listening to Rudeka’s music?
Being emotionally agitated. But I don’t want any other actual movements to follow that agitation, like murder or something …
Do you think your music is attractive for foreigners too, who do not know Korean?
It should be, but it is definitely a lot more attractive for people who understand the artistic lyrics.
How and where do you usually write lyrics?
I write just lying in my room, or on the bus. I think the bus is the best place to write lyrics.
What kind of “underground” activities do you do?
I do quite like giving concerts, but since I have a slight stage fright, I prefer working in my room.
How do you do freestyle rap? Do the words just come to your mind right away or do you use lines and rhymes you’ve used before?
You just say what you want to say on the rhythm. Of course, when a line comes to mind that I’ve used before, I use that.
You’ve made a lot of mixtapes. Which work left the biggest impression?
That would be the work on Gyeonjadan’s mixtape ‘견자단’ (Gyeonjadan) (TN: Gyeonjadan is a hiphop duo of which Rudeka is a member). I remember us two rappers working hard in summer.
What do you think it means to be successful with music? Fame? Money?
The most important thing is that many people listen to it. Of course, if money follows, that’s good as well.
What kind of musician do you want to become?
A musician who earns money. Of course, that possibility is close to zero, so I’ve given up on it. I need to earn money to take care of my family and friends.
What do you like most about hip hop?
I like the most that it is the most typical for me. No matter who does hip hop, it resembles that person the most.
Do you want to try other genres as well?
Of course, I want to try it all.
Now the questions that rappers hate the most: What is hip hop to you?
A way of living, music, philosophy. (TN: He’s quoting Tiger JK.)
The ARTIST – Outro
Please say a few words in English (without using a dictionary).
You like US-American hero movies and Rudeka is a hero as well. What do you think is a hero?
It is someone who sacrifices himself to save everyone. I want to do the same.
Which rappers do you look up to and have been influenced by?
Tiger JK, Eminem, and Ricky P of Street Poets.
You usually have a hard time making music, when are you the happiest during that process?
When it is all finished. Since it feels as if all pieces of the puzzle match and the puzzle is completed.
In ADV’s Street Rap Shit video, Seo Chulgu (서출구) compliments you. Being praised by a man as talented as him must be special, how did you feel?
Good, of course. It was the first time I participated in an official rap battle and it’s a relief that I’ve been that much of a threat to him.
Seo Chulgu talks about Rudeka around 16:06 and 18:20.
(16:06) Seriously, Daejeon was the highlight. A fight between a dragon and a tiger. / “What I have are rock, paper, scissor. But my flow goes far, Wi-Fi flow – Seo Chulgu has lost at rock, paper, scissor. What? Wi-Fi flow? No, it’s 3G” / The moment the opponent [Rudeka] started, I thought “Wow, he’s real. He’s strong!” I’ve never felt so drained during a rap battle.
(18:20) The most impressive battle was the one against Rudeka in Daejeon. Scary, scary … It’s seriously a relief that there are no guns in Korea, both of us would have pointed guns at each other, telling the other to shut up. I’ve never cursed that much during a rap battle. I didn’t think this was possible in Korea, but thanks to Street Rap Shit and thanks to being in the streets, it was possible. / “I can just hit you with my fist, hyeong – I’m fucking disappointed, don’t rap!” / The moment it was over, my heart felt devastated. Looking back at it now, I think it was a life’s rap battle. That’s why the first place of the most impressive rap battle goes to Daejeon’s Rudeka. I’ll give him the love in my heart. Peace and love!
You also sing well and you’ve released an R&B mixtape (Jean&Juice). Comparing rap and singing, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages?
The advantage of rap is that you can express what you want to say the most clearly and exactly. The disadvantage is that relatively few people prefer it over singing. As for singing, you have to compress what you want to say as much as possible and also find a melody for it, it’s relatively more work but many people prefer it over rap.
What do you enjoy other than music?
I don’t think there is anything else I enjoy. Back in the days, I did some drawing and wrote poems, but lately I am completely concentrated on music.
Do you have a dream?
To take care of all the people around me. It would be great if I could do that with music, but if not … I have to try and find another way.
What are your plans for the future?
I have to solve the problems that are right in front of me first, and come back.
Is there anything left that you want to say?
Rudeka has a place in your heart. I hope you will always be able to treat him well.
Thank you for the interesting interview!
Originally posted @ translatedkhiphopinterviews