SMTM Commentary by Hiphopplaya

SMTM4 Owen Ovadoz, Borntong, Seo Chulgu: "They used our anger and thirst"

In Interviews, Show Me The Money, Translated Interviews by Lena

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Hiphopplaya talked to these three artists about Show Me The Money 4, especially about the disputed ‘cypher’ guerilla mission. Read on to find out what they had to say!

Owen Ovadoz

After a few seasons, Show Me The Money has given itself the image of a program that, so-called, “actually does not need to do things that suck because it has a lot of good stuff in it.” How and with what goal did you participate in Show Me The Money?
 
After my discharge [from military service] last year, I wanted to determine my capabilities. And I think there were too many idiots among the participants who did not take it seriously. So to be exact, it is difficult to say that I had a certain goal. Last year I was full of anger, thinking, “What do they take hiphop for?” and wanted to show the attitude “I will get rid of y’all from now on.” All in all, I think it is correct to say that I used the show.
However, my resolution for this season was quite different. This time too I thought of using the show, but more importantly I was thinking about why the hiphop culture could not have been revived [in South Korea] until now, and why labels that do benchmarking to a certain extent have been silent with the attitude: “We just have to do our thing well, that’s enough.” I am not saying all labels are like this, nor am I referring to certain labels. It is just that I think that the ‘design’ of Korea’s art, music and physical education has been hardened like that from ‘cement’.
Anyway, I wanted to show that people like me exist, people who do music this way, not with a major company, and who use the show as a stepping stone. So I guess I thought I had to reach the finals to be able to influence the public. Only this way, people start to take things in. If the public was not going to show any interest even if I did that, I had planned to lead them like cows.
The indie scene or fandom, indie listeners, indie manias? Of course there is a small minority, and I believe the scene exists to keep that minority solid, however on the other hand I also think that there are no indie fans or manias. It is the same in every season [of an audition program]. If it is about bands, ‘Ninja Turtles’ from Hongdae perform in the streets with their guitars. If it is ‘ShoMon’, MCs who are wearing snapbacks backwards with bangs hanging out of them go rampant with an amp and a mic. Just like the audience, it seems like they [people from TV] are looking for all kinds of prey, which is ridiculous just the same.
 
 
The cypher, which was severely controversial, was so shocking that I did not know if it was The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. How did you see it as a participant?
 
I was eliminated in the third round during the 1:1 battle because I made a mistake. Being eliminated due to a mistake is fair to everyone. So since I did not experience the situation myself, I am being careful with my words, but if I had been there, I would simply have left [the show] voluntarily. Me using the program is absolutely fine, but there would be no reason for me to stay when they set up such a crappy and crazy situation. I am certainly not criticizing or being sarcastic towards the participants who were there and struggled, unable to do what I would have done. I am supporting their courageous choices as they are. Nevertheless, from my point of view it was a situation that sufficiently called for a voluntary drop-out.
 
 
I do not want to criticize the rappers who took the cypher seriously. All I would like to mention is that a lot more rappers than expected consented to the system. Do you think the program Show Me The Money is worth going as far as to comply to such a thing?
 
Not at all. Like I said, I just used the program. If they run their own [hiphop] league, then I will show my own beliefs too.
 
 
What do you think of the editors’ unexpectedly frank approach of “Let’s die together”?
 
I heard from people I know that the PDs themselves did all that because they were pressured from higher up to do so, that they did not want that kind of editing and story .. Nevertheless, an outcry without a fight is no use. Pussies. Sell-out souls can’t be humble.
 
 
Do you think Show Me The Money is becoming a help for Korean hiphop?
 
I think that it did serve to promote more actively the hiphop culture and a few great artists who are within that culture, but for Korean hiphop? A help for Korean hiphop? Hm? if they really wanted to deliver good content to the public, the way of doing so and the means are the most important. I know that it [hiphop] can only be revived by making it known fast and wide, but in the end the origin should have only been one flower blooming in a concrete crack in the underground. They are retards who are arguing and nitpicking about right and wrong with their shitty witch hunt and hysterical mob mentality. I hope those idiots read this who try to make music in Korea while minding those retards, not wanting to make them their enemies, and hiding in their shadows. From now on, only those with a real attitude will survive, so we will see if the idiots can still be messing around when they’re confronted with that [attitude].
 
 
Related links:
Owen Ovadoz’ Instagram, SoundCloud

After a few seasons, Show Me The Money has given itself the image of a program that, so-called, “actually does not need to do things that suck because it has a lot of good stuff in it.” How and with what goal did you participate in Show Me The Money?
 
Around the time SMTM4 started, I was neglecting rap. There were times when I wanted to pretend I did not see myself being lazy, but that is the reason why I wanted to participate with my teammates and watch people battling to get a taste of bitterness. I also thought it might be fun ..
 
 
Anyone would not have wanted the rapper they support to set foot into that mud fight, but as expected, the most ugly scene was created. How did you see it?

 
At first I did not think much about it, but with time I thought that ‘we’ looked pathetic.
At the time, I had not talked to the other, older participants and the only hyung I could talk to was Seo Chulgu-hyung. So I just watched Chulgu-hyung from the back of the studio with a stern expression.
 
 
Together with Seo Chulgu, you did not rap until the end. What was the reason for that?
 
I also thought “This is not right.”
I reached out a few times to grab the mic but none of the hyungs passed it to me. The biggest reason for that was probably because I was the youngest participant which made me lose heart during filming.
 
 
I do not want to criticize the rappers who took the cypher seriously. All I would like to mention is that a lot more rappers than expected consented to the system. Do you think the program Show Me The Money is worth going as far as to comply to such a thing?
 
Personally, I think the reason why the cypher in episode 4 became an issue is because the public and hiphop fans judged that the cypher which was a guerilla mission was different from how a real cypher is like.
As many participants said, in the program Show Me The Money there exist rules, and all the participants joined the program sufficiently determined, so I think that if you want to pass the mission, there is no right or wrong within the program. I wanted to pass the mission, I think that Chulgu-hyung had a different opinion. The important thing is that Show Me The Money cannot account for Korean hiphop.
 
 
As one cannot make head nor tail of the editing, I am careful with this question: it has been edited so that the producers looked as if they greatly enjoyed it even though it was no sight for them to enjoy. How did they actually react? I am curious if that situation was something one of them really enjoyed.
 
I think that the producers could not expect such an uncomfortable situation to take place either. And I felt the producers’ expressions turn for the worse more and more. However, I am not happy about being used as [a kind of] ‘props’ but I guess it was interesting for the viewers.
 
 
What do you think of the editors’ unexpectedly frank approach of “Let’s die together”?
 
I do not really feel anything about the editing. There is absolutely no need for the organizers of Show Me The Money to understand hiphop, but if they had looked up things a bit more diligently on Naver [TN: he probably means they should have researched how a cypher works], it would have been a more fun show for me as a participant.
 
 
Do you think Show Me The Money is becoming a help for Korean hiphop?
 
I think every rapper feels about that differently. Anyway, all the individuals together are Korean hiphop, but I do not think that Korean hiphop can be restricted by Show Me The Money.

After a few seasons, Show Me The Money has given itself the image of a program that, so-called, “actually does not need to do things that suck because it has a lot of good stuff in it.” How and with what goal did you participate in Show Me The Money?

 
Originally, I did not think of participating. I also was not confident of doing well if I participated. Naturally, JJK-hyung was also against me participating in a program that is the complete opposite of hiphop. However, we were all exhausted and had enough of ADV’s situation and felt quite a huge sense of loss. Those who follow JJK-hyung on social networks should know, since that is where he expresses the fatigue and tiredness he truly feels.
When there was not much time left until the application deadline for SMTM4, JJK-hyung messaged me on KakaoTalk. To make a long story short, he said “I am no longer against it, so do as you please.” There is one sentence out of our many conversations that I still remember:
“Nobody is applauding us.”
I felt like someone had hit me. It seemed like the ideal in my mind broke. We invested both our time and our money to tour around the country two (!) times and perform and have [rap] battles in the streets. We also shot 7indays, held Rap Attack and did a lot of things for the [Korean hiphop] culture. However, we were always at the bottom. I wanted to receive applause.
On that night, I could not fall asleep and applied for participating in Show Me The Money.
 
 
The cypher, which was severely controversial, was so shocking that I did not know if it was The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. How did you see it as a participant?
 
It was epic shit.
 
 
Anyone would not have wanted the rapper they support to set foot into that mud fight, but as expected, the most ugly scene was created.
 
It felt like the people in Mad Max running desperately towards water, like tourists throwing pieces of meat to starved hyenas during a safari. I felt resentful and found it hideous. Not the rappers but the system. I wondered where it all started going wrong.
There were really a lot of great hyungs and younger rappers, I think we were all angry. Even before participating in SMTM4, we have always been angry. From the beginning, this scene is not fair, because light cannot reach the roots. And I think Show Me The Money used our anger and thirst just too well. Watching that “cypher” that was planned without any understand for the hiphop culture and genre but purely to entertain, I wondered how they could actually be this shrewd. I could not think straight at all. All I clearly knew was that I did not want to become a part of that system and that I wanted to change it. Although I had no means to do so, I knew what I had to do first. Leaving the system was the first step.
 
 
As a fan of Korean hiphop I want to applaud your choice and say, “Thank you.” Are you regretting your choice?
 
After making that choice and leaving, I had no sense of regret whatsoever. As I am just a human too, I did think that it was a tiny bit of a pity, but I really did not regret it. However, funnily enough, I had these thoughts a bit too late. When the people around me heard of it, unexpectedly more than I thought could not understand my decision and were sadder about it than me. Many told me that I was too naive and that I should become more selfish. I knew why they said those things but it was very hard for me to accept. I felt that I had really made a fool out of myself and sometimes I was so depressed that I could not get out of that depression. I just regretted everything here.
Fortunately, I do not think it was that much of a foolish thing to do. I am grateful to everyone who cheered me on and supported me, above all, I am grateful to tears to JJK-hyung and my ADV family who trusted me from beginning until the end the moment they heard about it and who told me that it was the right choice.
 
 
I do not want to criticize the rappers who took the cypher seriously. All I would like to mention is that a lot more rappers than expected consented to the system. Do you think the program Show Me The Money is worth going as far as to comply to such a thing?
 
That was the editing [that made it look like many consented to the system]. Of course, some rappers did comply to it but most of them were quite angry and protested really harshly to the camera and the writers. I really hope you do not dare to judge or insult them. Do not trust what you see on the program. There [amongst those who looked as if they consented] were also people who fought to their best.
Before deciding if it is worth complying, I think the criteria for that need to be decided on first. And those criteria are different for everyone, so I do not really know either. Honestly, I would like to say that there are none, damn it.
Nevertheless, in reality people always end up forgetting things right away, so I think the temptation to just close one’s eyes, comply and go through with it that one time was big enough. And people are already starting to forget.
 
 
As one cannot make head nor tail of the editing, I am careful with this question: it has been edited so that the producers looked as if they greatly enjoyed it even though it was no sight for them to enjoy. How did they actually react? I am curious if that situation was something any one of them really enjoyed.
 
I … would like to say that it was the editing but I am not too sure. Of course, I am saying this carefully too. I also watched closely but I just could not make anything out. Later, I heard from others that the producers naturally had not been very pleased either. Of course, there were one or two [who enjoyed it], but I’ll pretend I know nothing about that.
 
 
What do you think of the editors’ unexpectedly frank approach of “Let’s die together”?
 
I was in awe. I did not expect them to make their way out of that critical situation so well. They made me look like I gave away the mic because I am so nice, and it looks like all the rappers complied. They edited it so that it looked like an as beautiful as possible “sports” scene.
At first when only the preview came out, all criticism was aimed towards the show. Luckily, there were not that many people who badmouthed the rappers, and I think they made use of this cleverly. Through editing, they made it look like even the rappers that people support and cheer for were complying. That way, they shielded themselves and the harsh critisim stopped to a certain degree. Because they know that people cannot attack the rappers who they put in front. Bravo!
 
 
Do you think Show Me The Money is becoming a help for Korean hiphop?
 
This might be unexpected, but I think it is becoming a help. The principle is the same as this: if earthlings stop having wars and join forces for just one day, aliens with superpowers have to come and attack. Due to the program, people think at least once more about the essence and mind of hiphop and get a chance to ponder on what is ‘cool’. And this time, very thankfully, I think that Show Me The Money posed as the aliens, going: “The answer [to the question ‘What is cool?’ / ‘What is hiphop?’ / ..] is already there, you just have to say it.”
I do not think I need to add anything about other things like the popularization of hiphop, as everyone can judge that for themselves.
 
 
Thank you for doing this somewhat uncomfortable interview.
 
Buy JJK-hyung’s album that is coming out soon. And see you all in the streets this fall with ADV. Like in summer last year.
 
 
Related links:
Seo Chulgu’s Instagram, Twitter


Big thanks go out to isshohaj and tr1llionaire for kindly taking the time to proofread the translation.

Images, Source: hiphopplaya

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