1LLIONAIRE Records was first established on January 1, 2011 by Dok2 and The Quiett, two artists that reigned in the Korean underground hiphop scene for several years under different labels. The duo joining forces back in 2011 was not all that surprising, given their rich collaborations prior to 1LLIONAIRE (check out their Rapsolute Mixtape (2010)). Dok2 and The Quiett were soon joined by Beenzino, an artist also familiar in the underground scene, with past projects like Jazzyfact (with ShimmyTwice), and Hotclip (with Beatbox DG). I won’t delve into their individual music careers as this article will focus on the concert held in Vancouver, but you can check out the Complex Magazine article for a detailed past of each artist.
This isn’t the first time 1LLIONAIRE toured in Canada. On December 18 and 20 of last year, Dok2 and The Quiett performed at the Harbour Event Centre in Vancouver and Guverment in Toronto, respectively (Beenzino was unable to join them at this time). Due to the success of these shows, 1LLIONAIRE returned 9 months later to perform again for their Canadian fans. There seemed to be a much bigger hype this time around, thanks to the popularity of Beenzino, which is a name recognized by Korean hip-hop and K-pop listeners worldwide.
Not surprisingly, 1LLIONAIRE fans began lining up by the Vogue Theatre a few hours before the doors opened. Fans were met with disappointment upon discovering that the venue was not selling 1LLIONAIRE merchandise. But fear not international fans: 1LLIONAIRE snapbacks are [usually] sold online and shipped worldwide on Sopooom.com.
Thanks to the concert review of the EPIK HIGH show, which was also held at the Vogue theatre, I was much more familiar with the venue this time around. Unfortunately, the concert did not have a designated photo pit due to the modified layout of the stage and I was forced to take photos from upstairs on the balcony.
The concert kickstarted at 7:30 pm with Dok2’s new track ‘Me (내가)‘ featuring The Quiett and Beenzino. The audience roared in loud applause as each artist rapped their verse. As a privilege of my press pass, I was able to record 1LLIONAIRE’s opening performance (apologies for the annoying auto-focus… the lesson here for me is to use manual focus for video recordings):
The trio immediately transitioned to performing one of my favorite tracks by The Quiett and Dok2: ‘2 Chainz & Rollies.’ Had I not been taking photos during this song performance, I’m sure I would have been singing along all three verses. 1LLIONAIRE then performed Beenzino’s track ‘Profile.’ At this point, the crowd was jumping and singing the chorus in complete unison – the energy was real.
After each member introduced themselves, the three performed ‘1LLIONAIRE Gang,’ a song that dropped back in 2012 for free and ended up in Dok2’s [South Korean Rapstar Mixtape] a year later.
Next up was the signature 1LLIONAIRE track “YGGR (연결고리).” The track, gained much popularity when The Quiett and Dok2 were featured as producers on the third season of ‘Show Me the Money‘ which aired last year. Check out the remix version of YGGR by Show Me the Money 3 winner and YG artist Bobby. ‘YGGR‘ was immediately followed by my all time favorite track ‘Go (가)‘ which continued the fast and upbeat pace of the previous tracks.
As 1LLIONAIRE completed their compilation group tracks, The Quiett took the stage and confirmed that his upcoming album #1Life2Live is dropping this month. He then provided us a glimpse of the album by performing ‘All About‘ and ‘Nothing (ft. Saetbyeol).’ This was followed by Dok2 and Beenzino coming back on stage to perform ‘Rockin’ With The Best,’ a free track that dropped on November 11 of last year.
The energy of the crowd was at its peak as Dok2 rapped his verse from ‘Come Here (이리와봐),’ a collaborative track with YG artists Masta Wu and Bobby that came to fruition following Show Me the Money 3. Immediately after this track, 1LLIONAIRE followed up with both original and remix versions of ‘Hotter Than The Summer.’
Immediately afterwards, Beenzino took the stage and performed his solo tracks for the first time in Canada. He began with his most recent digital single ‘So What (어쩌라고)‘ which dropped back in March of this year:
Beenzino continued to woo the crowd with his next track ‘How Do I Look?‘ from his EP [Up All Night] (2014). As a former arts student at Seoul National University, Beenzino prides himself with his fashion statements, as illustrated in the lyrics of this track.
The Quiett eased the pace of the show with his slow-jam track ‘Be My Luv‘ from his solo album [Quiet Storm: A Night Record] (2010) which is one of my all time favorite works by The Quiett (I highly recommend tracks like ‘Q’s Way (ft. Saetbyeol),’ ‘Airplane Music (ft. Basick, Rimi, Beenzino, Fana, San E),’ and the remix version of ‘Be My Luv‘ featuring B-Free, Nuck, Paloalto and Junggigo)
Beenzino, who appeared to be the main character of the concert, returned to the spotlight with his famous track ‘Aqua Man‘ from his album [24:26] (2012). In this track, Beenzino compares himself to a fish trapped inside a bowl as he illustrates his trouble “hooking” up with a girl. Afterwards, the artist transitions to another hit track ‘Dali Van Picasso,’ which, according to Complex Magazine, the track accumulated over 600,000 official downloads without a music video.
The crowd expressed disappointment when Dok2 mentioned that there is only one track left to perform. When the 25 year-old CEO invited Beenzino to comment about his first time performing in Canada, the artist said he had a great time and asked the audience to invite him back to perform in Vancouver in the future. It seemed like Beenzino (and his crew, including his girlfriend) had a great time visiting in Vancouver. 1LLIONAIRE concluded the official set with another favorite of mine, ‘Mr. Independent 2‘ a track that foreshadowed the recruitment of Beenzino into 1LLIONAIRE Records back in 2011.
The crowd chanted “Encore! Encore!” as the artists left the stage. In less than a minute, the three returned on stage for the encore set: ‘Don (돈),’ ‘Rain Shower G-Mix,’Boogie On & On‘ (original and remix), ‘L4L (Lookin’ For Luv),’ and ‘I’m 1LL.’ The three independent artists concluded the show with the encore performance of ‘YGGR (연결고리).’
The 1LLIONAIRE Tour 2015 Canada show at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver was yet another incredible experience for me. Over the past few months, more and more Korean artists have performed in North America in front of international fans (and many more to come). It was nice to see 1LLIONAIRE come back for another show in Vancouver and Toronto. I’m unsure of when they will return again, but it does demonstrate the potential for other Korean hiphop artists to perform here in Canada. If you are an artist looking to perform in Canada, do not hesitate to hit me up to inquire about a possible tour!