After several rappers have released political hiphop tracks about the Choi Soon-sil Gate, MC Meta has now done the same with ‘퇴진의 영순위와 도둑놈패’ (roughly: the top priority of resignation, and the group of thieves) for which he has received a very positive response from fans. Meanwhile, several famous rappers were featured on the popular entertainment show Infinite Challenge, which caused a discussion among netizens and rappers on the way hiphop is portrayed in the Korean media.
MC Meta – 퇴진의 영순위와 도둑놈패
Let’s first listen to MC Meta’s new track:
To give you an idea of the song’s content, here is a part of the lyrics (“her” obviously refers to President Park Geun-hye):
“Her name is ‘ignorance’, her other name ‘stupidity’
The things she possesses are the weapons called pretense and violence
She strangled genuinity to death, resignation is her top priority
A true ‘dumb idiot’ who only follows Soon-sil[‘s orders]!”
Korean fans commented on SoundCloud, YouTube and hiphop communities: Can’t help but respect Meta-hyung – Awesome – f*cking good – he spoke my mind, Meta swag – he is indeed a legend – I don’t really like MC Meta but this is really good – I’ve got goose bumps – I’ve been singing along the whole day, it gives me some strength for the protest tomorrow, thank you – This is real hiphop …
Unlike his previous only slightly political track ‘Show Me the Hiphop‘ with Choi Sam, fans are not showing any bad reactions this time. Back then, fans complained that MC Meta just mentioned political topics to receive attention and they judged his rap very badly. Black Nut even dissed him for it in the track ‘Indigo Child‘, calling the first generation rapper a “has-been.” In relation to this, a fan now commented on ‘퇴진의 영순위와 도둑놈패’: “I wanted to talk bad about Meta-hyung [for this political track] but I can’t. […] I’ll just shut up and listen.”
A few fans found the track reason to give shout-outs to other rappers: Where is Swings now and what is he doing, he who said he ‘will make songs that will reform society’? – Hey Black Nut, you wanna diss this track too?
Both Jerry.k and Garion have performed at the recent candle rallies, below is a video of Garion’s performance. It starts at 10:55 min with ‘퇴진의 영순위와 도둑놈패’ and MC Meta asking the audience to shout with him: “Park Geun-hye, resign!”
Discussions about Hiphop, politics, and the media
A recent episode of the TV show Infinite Challenge featured several popular rappers and made viewers rather angry. They complained about the lack of politics in hiphop and expressed their disappointment with the artists for not addressing that important topic but instead bragging about money “as usual.”
For example, Twitter user @shinyhye wrote: “Hiphop peeps, when are y’all releasing diss tracks against politics?? – Our dear rappers can rap ‘She’s Having an Abortion‘ but not ‘Politics Are Collapsing'”
This in return caused several rappers to voice their viewpoints on the situation.
On Twitter, Sleeq showed her annoyance with people who only know the one-dimensional side of Khiphop that the media feeds them, suggesting that they should look up Jerry.k (CEO of her label ‘daze alive’) who is probably the most prominent representative of political Khiphop. She also tweeted in reference to @shinyhye: “The above person’s tweet is so laughable, asking when we’ll do political rap; seems like you entrusted that job to us at one point – a “diss” rap against politics ….” With this statement, she is implying that it is not the job of rappers to make music about politics.
Donutman also expressed his opinion via Twitter, criticizing the way hiphop is presented by the media: “Why do you always see rappers as people who are unhappy with society and who do nothing but complain? – You probably think so because of what you’ve seen of hiphop in media like movies and dramas so far – I’m telling you, this is why it’s dangerous that hiphop is being shown in entertainment and comedy shows as a f*cking retarded culture that is only about ‘swag swag’, idiots” In other words, he emphasized that there is much more to hiphop than the media makes of it and that that faulty image the media presents is the cause of people’s wrong expectations of rappers.
Deepflow posted the above image of a news article which accuses famous rappers “who usually talk a lot” of staying quiet about the political situation and quotes viewers of Infinite Challenge saying: “Again, they only bragged about money – The resistant spirit of hiphop is a thing of the past.”
The boss of VMC wrote a long text in the caption in which he explained his opinion carefully and clear, garnering agreement and respect from fans:
“At times like this, many people will feel cathartic when famous people express the same point of view as themselves. I also think that taking up such influential actions is a very important role. It would be really satisfying if GD or Yoo Jaesuk publicly stated #ParkGeunhye_has_to_resign! However.
Even though rap can be a good tool to let such voices be heard, it is a huge misunderstanding and prejudice to think that that is an essential role of hiphop. You might be disappointed by this, but both in Korea and the US rap has been nothing but party music in the beginning, it is not based on a spirit of resistance. Nowadays it is indeed different, there is a broader range of topics. There are love songs, there is gangster hiphop, and there are also political songs that criticize society, but these are mere subgenres. I truly wonder who created the term “hiphop mindset” that the Korean media likes to use so much, lol. Useless, wishy-washy words like that have to disappear already.
The foremost issue we VMC members talk about these days is, just like for all of you, the current political situation. Some members also participated in the candlelight rallies, though they did not make it public via SNS. It is not only us, the same goes for many other rappers. Yet, just because one is a rapper, one does not have the duty to express one’s anger through rap. And personally, I don’t want to do that. I think I’d just curse on the beat for three straight minutes. That would probably make me feel better, but as an artist and creator I do not want to give up on aesthetics. These days you might feel provoked by hiphop that is only about bragging and money, but instead of exhausting rebuke it would be more meaningful to support musicians like Jerry.k-hyung who have constantly voiced their opinions about such [political and societal] issues.”
It once again comes down to the question of “What is hiphop?” And the media feeds the public a simplified, one-dimensional answer to this essential question, which causes people to have corresponding expectations.
Deepflow’s explanation is easy to understand; of course rappers do not have the duty to rap about politics as it is only a subgenre, an option of many, and most of the more famous rappers do not release political tracks or even mention politics in their lyrics. Plus, broadening the view, there are musicians of other genres as well as other famous people out there who can speak up.
Or just look at the US, not everyone is expecting rappers to rap about Trump now, right? But they have and they are and they most likely will be rapping about him (in 266 songs so far since 1989), so why should fans of US-American rappers feel the need to ask them for it?
Meanwhile, is it justified to demand more political Khiphop? Is political hiphop still underdeveloped in South Korea as compared to the US or other Western countries? The Korean media are discussing the current political situation and there is a high demand for political content among fans and the larger public. Now is indeed the perfect time for any rapper to make a mark, just look at the highly favorable feedback MC Meta received for his track, yet why are so few taking this chance?