On April 23, I sat down with independent artist Microdot for an exclusive video interview. We discussed topics such as his music career after Show Me the Money 4, his upcoming album (and the featured artists), his international tour experience, the globalization of “Downbad.” movement, and his upcoming projects. A special shoutout to Astro Vancity for inviting me to Microdot’s Vancouver show. You can check out the exclusive interview and concert footage here!
HiphopKR: Good to see you again Microdot! Why don’t you introduce yourself to your international fans?
Microdot: My name is Microdot. I rap and am still in the game. I did an interview with HiphopKR last year in July. I’m still the same me, but now I’m in Vancouver!
What’s been new with you since July?
In terms of music, I released more songs. On Show Me the Money 4, I made it to top 10 before being eliminated. I fell off to Black Nut, but we’re really good friends. The show changed my whole career path. I feel blessed to be where I’m at right now. I pretty much did shows everywhere in Korea you could possibly think of, and recently started my [international] tour.
I remember back in July when we interviewed you, you had all these goals you wanted to achieve… and you’ve done it all!
Yeah, it’s crazy! I don’t know how to explain it. I always have my big goals, but those little milestones, I definitely reached them.
Since Show Me the Money 4, you released three digital singles in Korea. On your Instagram, you mentioned you were working on an album for your international fans. How is that going?
It’s going good! I actually got about three tracks done now. I’m making tracks while touring, which is going very good in terms of progress. I’m recording about two or three more as soon as I get back to New York. My next album is going to feature several different artists. Every track that I’ve done, apart from one, have a featured artist. I want to bring more people into the game. I want to put myself out too. For the one track I’m rapping alone, I’m shooting a music video back in New York. I’m pretty pumped for that.
I’m actually going to put a few Korean songs in the upcoming album. There’s going to be about 10 tracks total. In this album, I’m really pouring out my English vocabulary, and concentrating on my Korean too. Typically, my Korean tracks have a little bit of English, but this album is the other way around – many tracks are mostly in English with a little bit of Korean. It’s like a different perspective. Also, I dropped a few songs on my Soundcloud channel since Show Me the Money 4.
I’ve just been building a lot of content. I will be releasing my upcoming single ‘Hella Trill’ with the music video in early-May. The music video was shot in Chicago, New York, and Japan, with extra filming in Korea. The track will have a little bit of everything – electro dub-step, bumpy, West-coast hiphop.
Have you been reaching out to more international artists than Korean artists?
I’ve been reaching out to both. I want to reach out to my “idols” but I don’t think I’m quite there yet, you know? I want to get to a spot where I can reach out to them directly, without a middle person. I guess I have to keep working hard to get there. Back in Korea, I reached out to Dok2 again. My brother Sanchez is probably going to be on the album too. I’ve been waiting for Beenzino, but I think it’s going to take a while since he’s so busy. I’ve reach out to Jessi too.
I recorded a track while I was in New Zealand over the nights with my high-school friends called Times x Two, so look out for that.
You’ve done shows in Japan, Australia, the United States, and now Canada. What has been your favorite city so far?
So far, I’d have to say the hype was crazy in Melbourne. Chicago and Japan was memorable too – the buzz, atmosphere and vibe was quite equal to each other. In Chicago, the venue had to change on the day of the show due to unforeseen construction. Shout-out to University of Illinois for finding another venue so quickly that day. Everything worked out real good. Sydney showed a lot of love too.
In terms of your performances, how does the Korean audience compare to your international audience?
Japan was the craziest… they showed crazy love. I performed with Hanhae, Kisum, Yookjidam, and Kanto. The performance experience was quite different than other countries. I find that all my international audience show crazy love.
Let’s talk about “Downbad. Movement” Back in our July interview, you explained about the culture and movement. Over the past year, I’ve noticed a lot more support from your fans and other artists. How’s it going in your eyes?
“Downbad. Movement” is crazy. It started from a clothing label with the meaning of physically wearing what you believe in. A lot of people see that in me in just the way I act and from always representing it. “Downbad.” is not a belief or something people follow, but more like what you represent, and how you portray yourself. Clothing-wise, I’m going to be relaunching “Downbad.” internationally at the end of May.
Any other artists supporting the movement?
Black Nut, BewhY, my brother Sanchez… but I don’t want Downbad. to be over-emphasized in front of people like a brand. If they like it, they can cop it. That’s the thing: you don’t want to be shoved something at you and be forced to represent or be something you’re not, you know? I feel like is has to be natural. It’s not the fact that I am selfish and don’t want to give them away, but it’s the fact that, to me, the value of it is different. You nurture it, you want to portray it, you want to respect it, represent it. When it’s forced at you, you end up wearing it once and throw it away, you know?
And now for some light-hearted questions: in the Korean hiphop scene, who would give you the biggest run for your money in an arm wrestling competition?
That’s a good question! Maybe Snacky Chan? He’s a big guy.
How about Don Mills?
Yeah, Don Mills is a fighter. B-Free (of HI-LITE Records) is a boxer. I used to train in mixed martial art a bit, until I ran out of money *laughs* It’s fun. It’s not the fact that you’re learning to beat someone up, but it’s the art of it, like music. Different ways you can nurture your body, and the movement of it. It’s pretty cool, I respect that. Anyways, yeah, Don Mills is huge. I saw him at the gym once when he was on film for ICON TV and he was real tall. I feel like he could kick me in the head and I’d be done!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to go into fitness?
Fitness is a commitment. You have to be obsessed with it. It sounds really weird, but if you want to be successful in life, you have to be obsessed with driving yourself to work hard towards being successful. In a similar manner, working out is the same way. Have a goal, stick with it. Commit yourself and stick with it. The best motivation is results.
You’ve always been an artist that expressed independence. Do you have any plans to join a label?
Nah. But that being said, I’m working with Culture Think. They act as my booking agency. They purely work on my schedule, and nothing else. As I mentioned before, I’m an independent artist. If there are 8 slices to a pie, Culture Think would control one of them. Being overseas so much, I can’t even answer phone calls and e-mail responses are delayed. It’s about professionalism. I learned these things through my experience as an artist. I believed that it was time to take the next step to building my foundation that could control firmer in each segments.
Culture Think organize a lot of big shows such as the Rapbeat Show. As an independent artist, I’ve been approached by managers and labels that have peaked and boomed. But Culture Think is an organization that had consistency in their growth. They helped a lot of artists in the game. They gave me a shot to do shows before I even made it to the second round of Show Me the Money last season. We are like family and loyalty is most important to me. Working with like-minded people and keeping our eyes on the future as much as the present, with the greed in passion and success together.
[Event] #RapbeatShow & NITE (13.05.2016) The FINAL line-up for the upcoming '2016 RAPBEAT SHOW & NITE' features independent hip-hop label Illionaire Records! This includes the trio #Dok2, #TheQuiett, and #Beenzino! — List of final line-up: – #IllionaireRecords – #ZionT – #Zico – #Microdot – #BewhY #비와이 – #HuckleberryP – #Vismajor Company – #Angdreville – #MKITRAIN Records (#Nafla) – #VIXX #라비 – #뉴챔프 #NewChamp – and more!!! Ticket purchase: – INTERPARK: http://goo.gl/6yU7DZ – TMON: http://goo.gl/PvwQ5C For full information, visit: – http://culturethink.net and – http://facebook.com/rapbeatshow #RAPBEATSHOW #랩비트쇼 #랩비트쇼앤나이트 #2016랩비트쇼앤나이트 #스컬캔디 #Skullcandy #비트 #Beatmusicplayer #타면된다 #쏘카
Will you be performing at the next Rapbeat SHOW & NITE?
Yep. On May 13 at the LOTTE Hotel in Seogongdong, Seoul City.
Any closing remarks as we wrap up the interview?
I’m dropping my new single ‘Hella Trill’ along with the music video in early May. As an artist, I’m not ready to release consistent, one-channel music. I always want to try variety. My new album is going to have a lot of random stuff. It should be good. I’m always focused on my goals. After Vancouver, I have a Toronto show next weekend, then shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Within 2 months, I’ve performed in 4 countries, 9 states/provinces, and 12 international shows. I’ve got to meet a lot of nice people. Honestly, it’s like a dream come true. I’ve always said it from the start that it was my goal to make it worldwide.
I read my comments online. I do this for my fans as much as for myself. If you want me to come, your city has to show me love. I cannot make a show happen because one person asked online to come to their city. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved. I’m not trying to disrespect, but that’s just how it is. If you want to invite me to an international show, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my direct messages (DM) too. I actually had a lot of shows set up through DM. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Downbad is launching at the end of May.
My new album may feature artist Wise from Teriyaki Boyz. I grew up listening to their music, especially their tracks from “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” soundtrack.
Please support my brother Sanchez (aka Fassnakuh) on Show Me the Money 5. He’s doing good. We’ll see how it goes. I can’t spoil it for the camera, so watch the show next month.
I’m looking forward to the Vancouver show tonight. Shoutout to HiphopKR – you guys supported me since Day 1, literally. I appreciate you coming to Vancouver!