It is common in hiphop to pay homage to another artist by citation or reuse of lines (parts) of the lyrics. This is obviously happening in Korean hiphop as well, and we will now take a look at one very famous line (which is also a metaphor) that has been circulating in the scene since 2005.
Note: This article is based on this Q&A.
In February 2005, Eun Jiwon released his fourth full-length album ‘The 2nd Round’. Its second track is titled ‘8t. Truck’ and is about the previous idol Eun Jiwon’s advance into hiphop, conveying the message that he will keep doing hiphop no matter what people say about him (yes, the “issue” with “idol rappers” has always existed). The hook goes:
욕해 실컷 (Yo! I don’t stop!)
yokhae silkeot (Yo! I don’t stop!)
Insult me all you want (Yo! I don’t stop!)
미친 지원 (Yo! I don’t quit!)
michin jiwon (Yo! I don’t quit!)
Crazy Jiwon (Yo! I don’t quit!)
Brake*가 고장난 8t. truck
Brake ga gojangnan 8t. truck
An 8-ton truck with dysfunctional brakes
Go broom broom, ready to boom!
*Fun fact: The lyrics (as seen on Naver Music, Mnet) actually read “break” instead of “brake.”
Note that the “8” is read as “eight.”
The metaphor is quite an easy one; a
huge big truck whose brakes do not work?! That thing won’t stop, so better get out of the way to save yourself! The truck represents the speaker and the dysfunctional brakes express that the speaker cannot be stopped.
Now, credit where credit is due, because Eun Jiwon did in fact not write this line. Check out this (shortened) live performance:
Yes, already in the very beginning, the credits read “Written and composed by Tiger JK.” (Did you catch that?) Also, you must have heard JK’s typical flow that is evident throughout the track, especially in the hook.
So, the original line was written by Tiger JK, thus, it is probably safe to say that most of the homages that followed were paid to Tiger JK. Before we take a look at them however, see how JK re-used the line in his own track ’60 Percenta Zen’ on Drunken Tiger’s sixth full-length album ‘1945 해방’ (1945 Liberation).
돌격 전진, f*ck you, motherf*cking 8t트럭, 이미 늦었어 멈추긴
dolgyeok jeonjin, f*ck you, motherf*cking 8t teureok, imi neujeosseo meomchugin
Charging ahead, f*ck you, motherf*cking 8-ton truck, it’s already too late to stop
Listen to the line below (the video starts at 1:16).
The number of homages is countless. The most famous one (because the track itself is very popular and the 8-ton-truck line appears at the beginning of the track) is probably by Gaeko in Dynamic Duo’s ‘고백 [Confession] (Go Back) (Feat. Jung-in)’ off their second full-length album ‘Double Dynamite’ which was also released in 2005:
난 핸들이 고장 난 8(eight)톤 트럭, 내 인생은 언제나 삐딱선
nan haendeuri gojang nan 8(eight)ton teureok, nae insaeng-eun eonjena ppittakseon
I’m an 8-ton truck with a dysfunctional wheel, my life is always full of detours
This is a witty variant of the original line. The metaphor of a truck with a dysfunctional wheel is used to express that goals in life cannot always be reached right away but by taking detours. Listen to the line below (the video starts at 1:13):
Another famous example is Jazzyfact’s track ‘?!. (Feat. DJ Pumkin)’ off their first album ‘Lifes Like‘ (released 2010). Since Beenzino is a huge fan of Gaeko and the line is about the truck’s wheel and not the brakes, we can suppose that this is a homage to Gaeko’s variant of the original line.
면허는 없어 but when I flow 나는 핸들이 말짱한 8t. truck
myeonheoneun eopseo but when I flow naneun haendeuri maljjanghan 8t. truck
I don’t have a driver’s license but when I flow I’m an 8-ton truck with a functional wheel
Do you see what’s going on? Nothing dysfunctional here, Beenzino cheekily turned the whole metaphor around, telling us that he’s got his flow under control. Hats off!
Another very famous example is Primary’s ‘? (물음표) (Question Mark) (Feat. Choiza and Zion.T)’ off his ‘Primary And The Messengers‘ LP (2012). Choiza goes back to the basics and raps:
넌 진짜 감당하기 힘든 일을 벌렸어 난 브레이크가 고장 난 8톤 트럭 못 멈춰 이미 시동 걸렸어 난
neon jinjja gamdanghagi himdeun ireul beollyeosseo nan beureikeuga gojang nan 8ton teureok mot meomchwo imi sidong geollyeosseo nan
You really did something that’s hard to handle for me, I’m an 8-ton truck with dysfunctional brakes, I can’t stop, I’ve already started the engine
Further prominent examples are:
- Epik High – Breakdown (Supreme Mix) (2008)
Get the f*ck out of here or duck out of fear, cause my flow is an eight-ton truck out of gear (Tablo)
(Thanks to Chris for this one!)
- Deepflow – Heavy Deep (2011)
난 8T 트럭 내 앞을 가로막지마
nan 8t teureok nae apeul garomangjima
I’m an 8-ton truck, don’t get in my way
- M.I.B – 끄덕여줘! (2013)
하지만 이대로 끝낼 순 없어 계속 달리자 GO! 나도 핸들이 고장 나버린 8톤 트럭
hajiman idaero kkeunnael sun eopseo gyesok dallija GO! nado haendeuri gojang nabeorin 8ton teureok
But it can’t end like this, keep going, GO! I too am an 8-ton truck with a dysfunctional wheel
Note: Tiger JK also participated in writing the lyrics for this track, so he might have even written this line himself as a type of thanks to Gaeko for his homage.
- Tarae – 싸우지마 (2013)
고장난 8톤 트럭처럼 달리고 싶었지만 너네 같은 돌뿌리들 때문에 땅을 짚었지
gojangnan 8ton teureongcheoreom dalligo sipeotjiman neone gateun dolppurideul ttaemune ttang-eul kipeotji
I wanted to drive like a dysfunctional 8-ton truck but because of jagged stones like you guys I’ve got my feet on the ground
- Team Bobby, Junhoe, Chanwoo – Let’s Get It Started (Feat. Hanna Jang) (2014)
시동 (on) seat belt (on) gear (on) accel (on) 난 핸들이 말짱한 8톤 트럭 이 힙합 트랙 위의 폭주족
sidong (on) […] nan haendeuri maljjanghan 8ton teureok, i hiphap teuraek wiui pongjujok
engine (on) […] I’m an 8-ton truck with a functional wheel, a reckless driver on this hiphop track
- TK – Feel Alright (Feat. Hwaji & ODEE) (2016)
난 핸들이 고장나고픈 8톤 트럭, 내 인생을 이제야 조금 삐딱 세워
nan haendeuri gojangnagopeun 8ton teureok, nae insaeng-eul ijeya jogeum ppittak sewo
I’m an 8-ton truck that wants to have a dysfunctional wheel, my life is only now a bit crooked
There are even more, but we truly cannot cover all of them.
In the end, we still have no idea why it is an 8-ton truck out of all the huge trucks that exist. The reason behind this, only JK knows. All we can do is speculate that it is most likely because of the syllable count that matched the rhythm (of ‘8t. Truck’) and because it ‘flows well’ (pronounced “eighton truck” or “ay-ton truck”).
Fyi: The featured image at the top of the page does not show an 8-ton truck; for the sake of authenticity it should, but there simply was no usable image of an 8-ton truck available. (It is a too insignificant vehicle.)
For sure is that this line has been one of the most used lines (metaphors) in Korean hiphop and has come to represent a lot more: it is the dream of Korean hiphop, it is Tiger JK. Especially Tarae’s use of the 8-ton truck makes this clear if you read his line as: “I wanted to
And the next time you hear or read it in someone’s lyrics, you will know exactly what it means.