On March 5, Illionaire Records artists Dok2 and The Quiett returned to Vancouver as part of their 2017 Canada Tour. We had a chance to sit down with the CEOs to discuss topics including their recently established record label Ambition Musik, their upcoming albums, and their international tour experience.
Part I: Ambition Musik
Ambition Musik was established back in September 2016, and three artists (Kim Hyoeun, Changmo and Hash Swan) joined the label. How did Ambition Musik come about?
Dok2: We always wanted to work with new artists under Illionaire Records. But, the title “Illionaire” and the associated three artists (Dok2, The Quiett and Beenzino), became sort of like a group. It’s not a group, but at the same time, it became like a group, you know? If we get a fourth artist into Illionaire, we thought it would look a little awkward. So we came up with this new idea that is Ambition Musik. In many of our tracks, we mention the words [and themes] “Ambition” and “Illionaire” a lot, you know? So, we came up with that at the end, and it worked out.
Changmo seemed to have been involved with Illionaire Records, even before Ambition Musik.
Dok2: Oh yeah. He’s been working with us since we met him back in 2012. He played a lot of piano on our albums.
Acting in the capacity as both CEOs and mentors for Kim Hyoeun, Changmo and Hash Swan, what are your goals for supporting these artists under this label?
Dok2: We’re just trying to give them opportunities. We grew up watching rappers get stuck and caught up by the Korean contract system. We didn’t want to see that happen to Ambition Musik artists. And our idea worked out – everybody in Ambition Musik is doing very well right now. I think it’s a good thing.
Any plans to recruit additional artists under Ambition Musik?
Dok2: Oooh, I don’t know…
The Quiett: We gotta make the three pop more first, so we’re focusing on that right now. After that though, we don’t know. There’s a lot of new rap artists in Korea, so we’ll see.
Dok2: Yeah, we’re not close-minded or anything, so we’ll see what’s up.
Most definitely. I’m sure as label rookies, the three will have many opportunities to grow as artists, and we’re all excited to hear more of their music.
Dok2: Yeah, fo sho.
Follow Ambition Musik:
- Kim Hyoeun [ ] My Ambition EP
- Changmo [ ] Time Time Make Money 3 (돈 벌 시간 3) EP
- Hash Swan [ ] Shangri-La EP
Part II: Upcoming Albums
Going into your own music (The Quiett & Dok2)… the two of you released a lot of music last year in 2016:
- 2016.02.25: Q Train (Remaster)
- 2016.04.29: Q Train 2
- 2016.08.19: Still Got Luv (ft. Keem Hyoeun)
- 2016.08.26: Mission (ft. Dok2)
- 2016.09.02: Beautiful Life II (ft. Hash Swan)
- 2016.02.13: Future Flame
- 2016.03.28: Bad Vibes Lonely (ft. DEAN)
- 2016.05.21: 1Llusion
- 2016.06.16: Sprite On You
- 2016.07.19: Beverly 1lls (Remix)
- 2016.09.10: Just 1Llin’
- 2016.11.06: The Good (ft. Hash Swan)
- 2016.11.25: Put It Down (ft Keem Hyoeun, Changmo)
- 2017.01.11: 1ll Recognize 1ll
The Quiett, you mentioned a few times in the past about your upcoming LP.
The Quiett: Yeah, I’ve been working on it. The LP was pushed back because Ambition Musik got started and the three artists were releasing their EPs. Plus, Dok2’s been working on his new album, so I’m waiting on that to drop before I drop mine.
Are you guys planning on dropping both albums around the same time?
Dok2: I’ve never said this anywhere (!!), but my album is coming out on my birthday (March 28). The album is called Reborn. Since two years ago, I’ve dropped singles on my birthday (“Multillionaire” in 2015, and “Bad Vibes Lonely” in 2016). But this time, imma do more than just a single and drop an entire album.
The Quiett, can you comment on the style for your next album?
The Quiett: It’s hard to explain. I got my own style, you know? I love simple sound and I’m still doing that. I got many different beats for the new album. Most of the beats are made by Prima Vista.
The two of you worked with a number of international artists and producers. The Quiett has worked with Vlado Meller, Pete Rock, and Jake One. Dok2 has worked with Soulja Boy, Young Chop, DJ Mustard, and Jahlil Beats. Are you guys working with any international artists for your upcoming album?
Dok2: Not on my upcoming album.
The Quiett: Not on my upcoming album either. But I got DJ Premier’s beat right now, but I’ll show it next time.
Dok2: We always want to work with international producers, but that’s really hard, you know? Getting contact and all that takes time, and we gotta drop our album on D-Day because we got our due dates. We gotta keep up with that, so it’s really hard to work with international artists.
Part III: International Tour
In the last few years, you guys toured in several cities (Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto). Illionaire shows have a wide range of fans of all ethnicities. How does the North American audience compare to those in South Korea?
Dok2: We get this question a lot from international press, and we always have the same answer. It is different. One time we were performing in Atlanta, where the audience there grew up listening to trap and southern type of music. They know how to turn up on that shit.
When we perform in Korea, they know the lyrics, because we rap in Korean. Everybody can follow along with our lyrics.
When we do shows in Europe such as in Paris and London, they got big power for energy, and they never get tired. I’d say that’s the biggest difference in crowd when performing in Europe.
Any plans to perform in Europe this year?
Dok2: I wish. One day if they invite us.
Good to know, I’ll let all the promoters know.
Dok2: Yeah. Tell ‘em *laughs*
That wraps up our interview. Any closing remarks for your International fans?
Dok2: We’re gonna be in North America this year, so stay focused on that. Stay tuned for our albums as well. Every year, we’re just doing our thing, you know? Same shit – performing, albums. Nothing special, but we’re trying to be special at the same time.