The Quiett

The Quiett – ‘There’s no need for us to feel disappointed if people can’t enjoy our music.’

In Interviews, Translated Interviews by heardusk

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Hip: A lot of people were disappointed that there wasn’t a collaboration track with DJ Premier, did something happen?

Q: It was also disappointing for me. It was a track that I definitely wanted to include but there was a problem with the schedule. Because it took longer than I anticipated to communicate I kept waiting and it wouldn’t work out anymore so I didn’t include it.  


Hip: This album took a long time to release.

Q: It took a lot longer than I expected. I originally thought to release the album last year but [11:11] came out and I was really busy and lacked the time. Starting from the later half of last year we had a lot of events so I couldn’t do much on top of those. I just performed YGGR every day. (laughs) 

Hip: Most of the songs were [produced] together with Prima Vista. Looking at it, he strongly feels somewhat like a guest member of Illionaire. 

Q: Prima Vista and I started making songs together since around 2007. Thus, he naturally became a big part of Illionaire. But as you know, right now Illionaire is not a label that takes care of producers. 

Hip: It’s not publicized on the booklet so I wasn’t sure but there is talk about sample clearing.

Q: From some time ago we have been started getting sample clearance. I got clearance on songs for this album and am in the midst of getting clearance one-bye-one for past songs.

Hip: The sample sounds definitely seem to stand out. I’d like to hear about making songs and your beat choices. 

Q: In recent years, the trend of hip-hop music is clear but I didn’t want to be restricted to that. My music is always set by my own tastes.  During that time my released albums have changed by following the times but my music preferences in the past and now are similar. In that aspect, this album is not an exception. 

Hip: Compared to the good feedback on the album’s overall mood or sound, there’s a lot of questioning about your rapping. There are a lot of negative feedback.

Q: I grew up listening to clean-cut rap more than flashy rap and rap better in that style. Fast and high-toned rap was and is and always will be popular in Korea but that’s not what I pursue. What I pursue is a natural groove. [A groove] to the point which people listen and nod their heads in enjoyment. 

Hip: There’s a line that states that “I narrowed the gap between rap and money”. 1)The Quiett – Bentley There’s also a line to observe the hip-hop scene before and after you entered the scene. What do you think has changed a lot since you entered the scene? 

Q: I think almost everything. (laughs) Not that’s it’s because of me but somehow the timing is right as many things have changed in my fellow musicians’ generation. I feel that it’s a result of our combined efforts and it’s hard to list them out one-by-one. That’s because everything you see now came to being/happened during our generation. Aren’t we the people who prepared the base of this game? A lot of things after Illionaire [was created] are things that were made by Illionaire. 

Hip: Then are you the brains behind all the actions of Illionaire?

Q: Fundamentally, our ideas are all Dok2’s and mine. Through that, we made the majority of Illionaire, and Beenzino expands our domain through different aspects. 

Hip: Other than simply raising pay standards, you also think that you have proposed different path for rappers to chase money. But why do you think there hasn’t been a second example of succesful rappers like a 2nd generation of Illionaire?

Q: My thought is that isn’t it because there hasn’t been anyone who has believed in their own method and pushed forward with it? No matter what method you use, you have to stick through with it, and if you wisely pushing forward with it, I think that the fruits of your labor will come as a result. If you take American hip-hop as an example, Jay-Z’s way, Lil Wayne’s way, Rick Ross’s way, Pharrell’s way, Tyler’s way etc., there are various methods to be successful. However in our country, whatever it is, the trends we uniformly think about are all similar or easily given up upon and we change the route. The actions that look obvious and safe don’t receive attention. 

Hip: What does “I threw away several trophies” 2)The Quiett – Lifetimemean? Does it mean that you couldn’t accept a part of your past career? 

Q: It means exactly what it says. (laughs) It’s not figurative and literally I threw away several trophies. 


Hip: There’s the phrase that things are going ‘as planned’, but that ‘plans’ is about Illionaire and yourself, exactly what are those ‘plans’? 

Q: This also doesn’t have any special meaning. It’s lyrics I wrote in ‘AMBITIQN’ but I wrote it again. I don’t have clear plans. (laughs) 

Hip: It seems that people put a lot of meaning to lyrics when they listen to your rap.

Q: It seems so. Lyrics with meaning put into it are specifically there. It doesn’t matter whether or not people feel that or not but personally there are a lot of lyrics in this album that I felt proud about. 

Hip: Illionaire’s style has immense influence on the attitude or music style of aspiring rappers. Somehow Illionaire it seems that Illionaire is a textbook or bible to them. Maybe you guys also feel that way but what’s your own feelings about it. Have you heard or seen anything? 

Q: We don’t really know. We don’t really have opportunities to meet young musicians. We rarely know any musicians. At least while doing SMTM3 it became somewhat of an opportunity. We got to know Chamane and Owen, and we got to see C.Jamm and Giriboy for the first time. 

Hip: Since you said you didn’t know, this question is even funnier. It might be funny but looking at that influence [you guys have], it can also become a very tiring and embarrassing sight. A group of rookie rappers here said that they use Illionaire as bench markers, and it’s not even an exaggeration. (laughs)

Q: We had no idea. (laughs)

Hip: If it’s really like that…what’s the status now?

Q: It’s a good thing that people are influenced by us but in the end you still have to find your own niche. What you need to learn from us is a love for hip-hop and what we always maintain- never giving up no matter the situation. But everything else, you have to do of yourself. 

Hip: From the entertainment aspect, there are still a lot of people who feel negative about the reality of how excessive the messages of swagging about money bragging is. How people accept it affects their mood but it seems the factor of ‘entertainment’ is still a foreign concept to listeners.

Q: I think it’s unavoidable that it would be foreign. If you enjoy it, I’m thankful, if you can’t enjoy it, there’s no need for us to feel regret. I’m satisfied with what I’ve done up till now. When we started fundamentally doing this music and showing off rap, people thought ‘what’s this?’ and couldn’t understand our music. I thought ‘It’ll take some time for me also.’ However people enjoyed it at a much faster pace than I expected. When we go to university festivals, students follow in rapping the ‘YGGR’ rap, sometimes when I see that it feels a bit weird. (laughs) I think to myself, ‘How did students start rapping along with this type of rap?’ Anyways, it’s pretty cool. 

Hip: I think the phrase ‘self-made’ about making money gives interest and clear hope or dreams to a certain generation, to young people. Is that just you conveying your life story, or do you have this intention also? 

Q: Fundamentally rap is an individual act. You write your own story and through making good music you already fulfill that purpose. Whether or not it conveys a message to other people, it’s not up to us3)the rappers to decide. I think that the response to music is similar to weather. (laughs) Simply on this album, ‘Your World’ is a blatant instructive song. It’s a song with my earnest advice. I put in the truths that I discovered.  


Hip: Moreover, the story in your music ever since your ‘success’ seems to have an obsession towards the idea that your success is not merely a matter of luck. It seems like you are intending to clear up misunderstandings. Or you are stressed from it. If not, is it because there is an expansion of people who have heard The Quiett or Illionaire’s music? 

Q: As we got more famous, you can see that bigger misunderstandings and illusions came along with it. Now there are a lot of people who just know us as rappers who simply have a lot of money. Of course that’s true. (laughs) Just, they have to see more than that. We’ve come all the way here but it took a long time. Thus, I want to talk about that ‘process’. We kept enduring and we’ll keep on enduring. This is fair to anyone. So I put the words about not having thoughts to avoid that in ‘Your World’.   

Hip: There are also raps that you guys continuously put in response to cynical remarks about Illionaire. Representatively there’s ‘Me’. 4)“내가” from Dok2’s Multillionaire 

Q: Rap is also a process in which we have to overcome the jealousy, prejudices, etc, that follow. Saying things like “what you guys say is wrong”, “no matter what you guys do, I won’t waver”,  is the goal of the rap.

Hip: But you don’t listen to Korean hip-hop much right? In truth, the question is, was that a response to all such songs?

Q: Ah, actually I don’t really know if I really listen. (laughs) But I do know there are a lot of rappers who write lyrics towards us. I know about those situations but I don’t obstinately look for them. 

Hip: ‘I don’t need the crown of underground king’.5)The Quiett – Tomorrow It might just be my own feeling but you watched the actions that put a distance in the hip-hop scene.

Q: Well…first off you can view that line as ‘I’m the best but I’m not attached to that’. Discussing the ‘scene’ in its current situation is a complicated issue right now. The very form of the Korean hip-hop scene has changed a lot, it seems that knowing the current shape of the scene is hard. Thus I think discussing it here is meaningless. 

Hip: It seems like you get a lot of requests to feature in songs. I’m curious about your method for responding and the criteria. For example, Anda, Oohyo, and 1Punch’s One.

Q: There are a lot of circumstances. Cases in which I liked the music or the budget was right, or because they are someone I’m close with. It’s hard to state a specific criteria.

Hip: You proposed taking advantage of mass media after SMTM3 but I’m curious about the background of the positive utilization [of mass media].

Q: While doing SMTM3, I received the impression that people liked music with a hip-hop tone above expectations. You would have never imagined in the past but up till then, rappers appeared on TV and had to compromise a lot. But while experiencing SMTM, I felt that the times have changed or that we have to change this. So as this flow started I thought I have to make use of this opportunity. 

Hip: What do you think about the negative opinions about SMTM and Unpretty Rapstar as an artist who appeared as a ‘producer’ on the shows?

Q: I think everyone already knows the answer to this question but if I was to talk about our experiences, SMTM3 was fun in its own way and we won. Ever since we decided to appear on the show, we started to be really picky. Because there were a lot of parts in the program that we didn’t like so we demanded a lot. We even told them to change the program name. They said they couldn’t do that so we had to let go of that (laughs). But anyways we demanded a lot here and there. Through that a lot changed between season 2 and 3. In the end, it was the production crew’s will but they did use a lot of the demands we had. There won’t be such casts who would propose for such demands while being casted on the TV show. Since we originally did not want to be a part of it, we had an attitude like “Then would you do this thing for us. If not, we will quit” because they kept pressing us. Thus when we appeared we weren’t extremely offensive. And in the end, because it’s a variety program, since the beginning we weren’t expecting much. 

Hip: This program now undoubtedly has a bigger influence. What is the negative and positive aspect [of this influence]? 

Q: Because we gained a lot through that program, we can see a lot of positive aspects. Of course there’s light and darkness but I’m a person that tries to show the bright side in everything. Either way, it could be the end of the era of hip-hop artististry, during that time musicians verified their own methods. Being on a TV won’t guarantee success; the wise will survive as always. 


Hip: Any last comments? 

Q: None. 


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