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Epic Punchlines #7: Tablo (Sold Out)

In Miscellaneous by Lena

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Today’s Epic Punchlines are very special as we will discuss not only one punchline but the whole two verses Tablo wrote for Yankie’s ‘Sold Out’. Tablo again? And two whole verses even? Yes, because they are a parade of brilliant, epic punchlines that seem to have been written so incredibly effortlessly and truly deserve some attention.

Both verses are illustrated rather nicely in the music video, so do listen and watch. Tablo’s first verse starts at 0:45 and the second at 2:00.

Below, you will see:
Korean lyrics
Romanized lyrics
English translation

And an explanation.

Verses & Explanations

Verse 1)
Yo I’m livin dat,
livin lovin livin dat 꿈
Yo I’m livin dat,
livin lovin livin dat kkum
Yo I’m livin dat,
livin lovin livin dat dream

Nothing to explain here.

날 틀에 박을 수 있는 건 인스타그램 뿐
#foodporn #차트이터 #보증수표
nal teure bageul su inneun geon inseutageuraem ppun
#foodporn #chateu-iteo #bojeungsupyo
The only thing that can pigeonhole me is Instagram
#foodporn #chart-eater #certifiedcheck

To pigeonhole someone literally means ‘to put someone into a frame/box’ which again refers to the square shape of Instagram photos and the borders around them.
“Chart eater” refers to him topping the charts (Koreans like to use the word ‘eat’ as a metaphor for this (therefore #foodporn); think of the food chain) and the word ‘보증수표’ (bojeungsupyo, certified check) is logically used as a metaphor for something that is guaranteed. With this, he expresses that his tracks are guaranteed to top the charts.

멜론을 씹어 삼켜
pass me the 프로슈토!
melloneul ssibeo samkyeo
pass me the peurosyuto!
I devour melon(s)
Pass me the prosciutto!

MelOn is a music portal; so he’s saying that he will top the (MelOn) charts. And prosciutto simply goes well with melon (prosciutto e melone).

치명적인 허기
파일 나눠먹을 라이벌이 어디?
chimyeongjeogin heogi
pail nanwomeogeul raibeori eodi?
A fatal hunger
Where’s the rival to share the pile with?

‘Pile’ seems to refer to a pile of food, and at the same time the word ‘파일’ (pail, pile) looks very similar to the word ‘과일’ (gwail, fruit) (both syllables have the same amount of strokes, the difference is minimal) and ‘fruit’ refers to the melon (MelOn) from the previous line. In other words, he’s saying that he has no rivals in the charts (he’s always eating (topping) them by himself).

까치발 들었지만
퇴물보다 못한 자식들 어깨 나란히 설리 없지
kkachibal deureotjiman
toemulboda mothan jasikdeul eokkae narani seolli eopji
Although they’re on tiptoe,
those who are worse than a has-been cannot stand shoulder to shoulder [with me]

Khiphop fans agree that “has-been” refers to Choiza (uh-oh) and yes, Sulli is in there too: “cannot stand” means ‘설 일이 없다’ (seol iri eopda). In spoken language, this is pronounced a bit quicker and ends up as: ‘설리 없다’ (seolli eopda).

Verse 2)
그 놈의 클래스
어딜 앉혀도 fly kid
geu nomui keullaeseu
eodil ancheodo fly kid
This class of mine
No matter where I sit down, I’m a fly kid

This is an easy one: “class” refers to the different classes in an airplane. No need to explain any further.

But 내 가족 앞에 앉으려면
파일럿 아님 뒤로 짜져
But nae gajok ape anjeuryeomyeon 
pailleot anim dwiro jjajyeo
But if you want to sit in front of my fam
and you’re not a pilot, squeeze into the back

This is self-explanatory too.

내가 빡칠 땐 만물이 무릎 꿇어
이건 갑질 아닌 갓질
naega ppakchil ttaen manmuri mureup kkurheo
igeon gapjil anin gatjil
When I’m pissed off, all things kneel down
This isn’t being bossy, it’s being god

Take for example: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.” (Romans 14:11, source)
The pun here is “being bossy” (갑질, gapjil) and “being god” (갓질, gatjil).

하루 벌어 하루 살기?
됐고 우린 하루 벌어 하루 위해 살지
haru beoreo haru salgi?
dwaetgo urin haru beoreo haru wihae salji
Living from hand to mouth?
Forget about that, we live for Haru’s sake

“Living from hand to mouth” means in Korean ‘to earn on one day the money one needs to live for one day’, literally ‘earn for one day, live one day’. And ‘one day’ means ‘하루’ (haru) which again, as you all know, is the name of Tablo and Kang Hyejung’s daughter. So in the second part, Tablo modifies the idiom to ‘earn for one day, live for the sake of one day (Haru)’.

따블로 강해져 가벼운 걸음
이건 맞벌이 swag
둘이 뜨면 두리번두리번
ttabeullo kanghaejyeo gabyeoun georeum
ogeon matbeori swag
duri tteumyeon duribeonduribeon
We become twice as strong, light-footed
This is double income swag
When the two of us appear, heads turn

Tablo used the English word ‘double’ to express ‘twice’: ‘따블로’ (ttabeullo) which sounds similar to ‘Tablo’ (타블로, tabeullo). And the word for ‘to become stronger’ sounds similar to his wife’s name: 강해져 (kanghaejyeo) and 강혜정 (kanghyejeong).
This isn’t all though; the word ‘두리번두리번’ (duribeonduribeon, to look around) can also be read as its homophone ‘둘이번둘이번’ (duribeonduribeon) meaning ‘both are earning money’ in reference to “double income.”

You read through all these explanations and your head is still clear? Great! Let’s learn some grammar!


Since there are so many lines, we will not analyze every single one but instead take a look at three grammatical aspects that appear in the two verses and that we have already encountered in other Epic Punchlines.

Rappers tend to make use of the fact that Korean syllables can be condensed. This is obviously useful when trying to maintain a certain syllable count that matches the rhythm. Let’s unravel the ones Tablo used:

  • (nal) = 나를 (nareul, pronoun ‘I’ + object particle = me)
  • 건/이건 (geon/igeon) = 거는/이거는 (geoneun/igeoneun, this + subject particle)
  • 못한 (mothan) = 못하는 (mothaneun, adjective form of verb ‘못하다’ (mothada, cannot))
  • 어딜 (eodil) = 어디를 (eodireul, where + object particle)
  • 아님 (anim) = 아니면 (animyeon, form of verb ‘아니다’ (anida, not be) + if-particle)
  • (ttaen) = 때는 (ttaeneun, time/moment + subject particle)
  • 우린 (urin) = 우리는 (urineun, pronoun ‘we’ + subject particle)

As you can see, only particles are condensed, which is common practice.

What else is there? Previously, you learned about adjective phrases and that they can be rather long. Let’s see which adjective phrases Tablo used:

  • 퇴물보다 못한 자식들 (toemulboda mothan jasikdeul)
    those who are worse than a has-been
  • 갑질 아닌 갓질 (gapjil anin gatjil)
    being god, [an action] that isn’t being bossy

The adjective phrases (underlined) have to be translated as relative clauses.

And finally, he also used some ellipses (San E taught us about these too), leaving out the verb ‘to be’

파일 나눠먹을 라이벌이 어디 [있어]?
pail nanwomeogeul raibeori eodi [isseo]?
Where’s the rival to share the pile with?

and leaving out the pronoun ‘I’

퇴물보다 못한 자식들 [나랑] 어깨 나란히 설리 없지
toemulboda mothan jasikdeul [narang] eokkae naranhi seolli eopji
those who are worse than a has-been cannot stand shoulder to shoulder [with me]

and the pronoun ‘you’.

But [네가] 내 가족 앞에 앉으려면 파일럿 아님 뒤로 짜져
But [nega] nae gajok ape anjeuryeomyeon pailleot anim dwiro jjajyeo
But if you want to sit in front of my fam and you‘re not a pilot, squeeze into the back

That’s it! Although this was quite a long Epic Punchlines article, we hope you enjoyed it! Do leave us some feedback or let us know whose punchline(s) you want to read about next!

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