Some notes and interpretations for Cjamm‘s ‘Illusion‘ lyrics as translated by Changstarr.
- Title: 신기루 (Illusion)
- Artist: Cjamm
- Year: 2015
- Original lyrics
- Beat: unknown, available for free download somewhere online
- This post only addresses single lines, you can find the full English translation in the video below.
- There are other ways to interpret some of the lines; neither the correctness nor the completeness of these notes and interpretations is guaranteed.
- Using gender, sexual orientation, or age to insult someone is wrong. (Although those kinds of insults are common in (K)hiphop, they appear rather prominent in these lyrics which made this seem a necessary mention.)
I used to be thirsty, my destination was oasis
This line first picks up the overall metaphor of the track; Cjamm being in the desert, thirsty, and hoping for an oasis, but …
what I used to see was all an illusion
… it turns out it all was just an Illusion, or better: Fata Morgana or mirage. “It” being the rappers and the hiphop scene. The song is basically about disillusionment, as Cjamm discovers that the rappers he once looked up to are actually not what they appear to be.
‘Real recognize real’ is what they claim | But they are all politickin’, and these gay rappers hate each other
This is picking at the topic of “hiphop politics,” Swings is well-known for accusing the scene of it and having passed this on to his labelmates, as other Just Music artists have mentioned it in their lyrics.
They shit on K-pop boy bands but then they try to be like GD
Some say this is a diss directed at Hi-Lite due to them being taken over by CJ E&M, but you can also interpret this more generally.
Originality, my ass, all them new cats | Try to be like Swings, and think ‘some day I’m going to | catch up to Illionaire. I want to become like Beenzino’ | If you think this is dissing Blacknut, then you deserve to | write comments on Hiphopplaya.com freeboard, dumbass
1. Black Nut is known for being a fan of Beenzino.
2. Cjamm calls everyone (all the rookie rappers) who wants to become like Beenzino ‘unoriginal’ so he says that if anyone interprets that as a diss against Black Nut they are on the low level of the “Hiphopplaya freeboard,” which is Hiphopplaya’s message board. It is looked down on by many who think that all the users are “idiots” or “elementary schoolers.”
I have way too much digits on my iPhone that I don’t even need
He probably wants to imply that he knows many people but has only a few real friends.
If you can even try to act like a high schooler, that’s high shit
It is basically an insult to call someone a high schooler, a middle schooler, or “worse,” an elementary schooler.
When a rapper like Simba disses you, you try to jump on him | Rather than rap skill what you should practice more is street fight
This is a reference to Simba Zawadi dissing Hi-Lite for Keith Ape’s “Korean rap, it sucks. Bad.” The two parties (Simba Zawadi and Hi-Lite, being Paloalto, Okasian, B-Free, and DJ Djanga) met at the Money Flex Show. Afterwards, Simba deleted his diss track and apologized, saying that they had resolved their issues through conversation. Korean netizens jokingly asked him if he was attacked by Hi-Lite at the concert, and judging from a long statement Simba published later, the netizens were not all too wrong. That’s why Cjamm here says “rather practice fighting than rap skills” and that he thinks it wasn’t necessary to respond to a diss by someone “of that level,” which Simba admitted to since he was pretty unknown before the incident. (*)
When Superbee was dropped from SMTM, everybody was confused | But apparently Incredivle is going to HIGHGRND
This is another issue that belongs to the topic “hiphop politics.” Cjamm is obviously accusing Tablo of doing politics by passing Incredivle who he was planning to make a part of his label instead of Superbee with who he had no connection.
I’m scared right now
He’s most likely implying that he’s scared of the scene’s cold-hearted politics.
Even if I run from the first floor to the top in the hip hop scene | There is no bathroom for me to go, this is K-Hiphop all-girls high school
Here, he implies that from the rookies (first floor) to the famous rappers (rooftop) they are all “girls,” only he’s a “real man,” and he insults them as high schoolers, even “worse,” female high schoolers.
Anyway, I’m pretty ashamed | that I used to be one of them–this is a confession
He confesses that he used to be like the other rappers he disses above.
J-Tong, whom I used to respect, wrote a shitty track “Gal”
JTONG’s track ‘갈’ (kal) wasn’t received too well by fans. You can read its translation here.
San E hyung, give me a call tonight if you hear this | I’ll be the executive producer for your next album, hyung | Make the rap-retard-losers shut they mouth
nickname cussword he uses here is what people usually call San E. So he’s saying he’ll help San E to shut them up and make them be the losers and retards instead.
Grit your teeth and apple-ogize #Ipad
This is a common pun on ‘사과’ (sagwa) which can both mean ‘apologize’ and ‘apple’, I can only bow down to Changstarr for this epic translation.
Park Ji-Sung in the elementary schoolers soccer game
A reference to legendary soccer player Park Ji-Sung, Korea’s “eternal captain,” with which Cjamm wants to imply that he’s too good for the game.
My existence itself is a yellow card, I feel conscious after I defeat ’em
He feels bad for winning because he’s so much better than them that he counts it as a foul.
You try to feed me water (Korean expression for screw me up) but I’m a whale
With this line, he’s implying that he is comfortable with people trying to screw him up, or that he can easily find a way out.
For anyone who’s interested: The term ‘to feed sb. water’ comes from way back in the day when villagers would gather at the village head’s house for a meeting around dinner time. Logically, the participants were hungry but all they got was water since they did not meet to eat but to have a meeting. (*)
If Tupac resurrected and came to Korea | He woulda slapped everyone except for Jessi
‘Real recognize real’ rather fits this line. He says that Tupac would not like any one of the rappers and slap them all except for Jessi since she’s a lady.
Fuck Saying ‘Wassup’ | now it’s ‘Shalom’
This is a reference to the track ‘Shalom’ by Cjamm’s crewmate BewhY. ‘Shalom’ means ‘peace’ in Hebrew, so he is ending these rather negative lyrics with peace and …
If I don’t stay lovin’ like a fool | I can’t stand it even for a day
… love. He says that if not for love, he wouldn’t be able to stand the whole mess.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the lyrics or the interpretations and notes above, feel free to let us know!