Read Beenzino‘s interview with B Magazine about toys and games from the February 2013 issue.
He, the rapper, says that when he was small, building something with Lego following the instructions was too boring for him, and that if he couldn’t finish building it, he considered himself inferior to the toy.
Beenzino (Lim Sungbin) Musician, rapper / 26
Your first album was released last year in summer.
Exactly speaking, it wasn’t my first. It is although the first album I’ve worked on alone since the project group Jazzyfact’s album in 2010. Honestly, I didn’t expect a lot. I thought of finishing it up quickly and producing something better the next time. But I received better evaluations than I had thought, so no matter the process, I felt good. I am satisfied regarding the point that a few more people have gotten to know the rapper Beenzino.
How would you evaluate your first solo album yourself?
Many rappers write their own stories in their lyrics, but even if telling the same story, it often happens that they seem banal. Concerning that, I am confident that I can show something different than others. Before, I focused on making fancy and smooth rap but then I realized that the lyrics are less touching that way. Lately, I’m concentrating the most on my lyrics, so my technical rap skills have probably gotten a lot worse than before.
The fact that you are a rapper and an arts student at the same time is interesting.
When I was really small, I naturally approached arts – to the extend, that I don’t even remember if there was a moment I swore to do arts. If arts have been in me from the beginning, then music is something which touches me by finding enjoyment in it. Entering arts school was actually like a task that I had to finish to do music, thinking “I will finish just this” [then I will do music].
Since when have you wanted to make music?
Since 6th year in elementary. I joined something like a club on the internet, diligently searched and listened to hip hop online, and started to write lyrics in my diary instead of diary entries. In high school I had performances together with others from a hip hop club, trying hard not to lose music [in my life]. All I could do was enjoy music by myself, because it wasn’t anywhere around me.
In the lyrics of the album “2 4 : 2 6,” you are often referring to certain brands.
Hip hop has the advantage of being able to include any content in the music. I am actually very interested in brands, especially in fashion, I like to go shopping a lot. Within one week, I go shopping over two times.
Is Lego also one of the brands you’re interested in?
Ah, I talked about Lego in a magazine interview before, but it was nothing that nice. From ten to about eleven years of age, I lived in New Zealand, and when my mom bought me Lego, I’d throw away the instructions and played with them as I pleased.
Why did you do that?
When I was small, Lego were very boring to me. They were angled and they had to fit together, plus they could only be fixed with a board. On top of that, the finished picture was already on the toy’s box, so all there was to it was building it after the instructions. If I couldn’t complete that though, I felt like a person inferior to the toy. Those things felt a bit unpleasant to me, because I don’t really like copying anything, like reading a comic book and drawing its characters. In arts, copying something is actually the basic of the basics, but there is nothing left if you just copy something. Because I think that it is not mine. Thinking about it now, I guess I do not get attached to things that aren’t mine. It was the same with Lego. On the other hand, when I drew characters out of my imagination, I really couldn’t abandon them. Even if I threw away other toys, I’ve been keeping those drawings in boxes.
So in the end the problem was [having] to follow the instructions?
It didn’t feel any different from reading textbooks. I still have those habits, so even when I buy electronic products, I don’t look at the instructions. The same goes for programs like Photoshop. In high school, I once made a concert poster with Photoshop, which I did without looking at the manual at all. After working with it [Photoshop] by myself for some hours, I figured out my own way [to work with the program]. Of course it wasn’t perfect, but regarding my limits it was a good job.
It is usually said that Lego raise children’s creativity and imagination.
Of course, that is true on one hand. But I feel that it is more limiting. I don’t know how Lego express imagination. I think they are close to developing technical skills. Relating that to creativity is difficult. For example, plastic models are similar. I haven’t built a glider either, which everyone has built at least once when they were small.
So when do you think imagination can be shown the most?
I think you can use your imagination the most when you want to do something but can’t. In that sense, imagination can be used even in poor [living] conditions. The more prepared, the less you can imagine. I think when you don’t have anything at all, you can use your imagination the best. The finished Lego toy is already all over the box, so what is there to imagine? That makes [building] it nothing but an assignment.
If you approach it as a basic principle of Lego, you can see this another way, though.
That’s right. You can build endless other figures of just one simple set of Lego. Music has a similar side to it. When I concentrated on the flow of rap lyrics for quite a while, pronunciation felt quite three-dimensional for me. It was nothing but the sound when reading letters, but depending on which syllable you use, the three-dimensional degree was quite different. I worked while associating the pronunciation to visuals. It also felt like making a jigsaw puzzle.
Don’t you have any enjoyable memories of Lego?
I think I preferred the process of going to buy them over what you can build with them. I admired the finished Lego models exhibited in the stores. They do have more infatuating elements than visual toys like water color or books. Seeing the finished model, I got the thought “Ah, I also want to try that,” but way more often I took it home and neglected it after putting it together a few times.
So which classic toy do you prefer?
There was no toy I especially preferred. Compared to other kids of my age, I didn’t really like the robots they played with either. While drawing, I enjoyed becoming and acting the characters I drew. Playing two roles at once was the most fun, because when playing with someone else, I couldn’t control the other person as I pleased. One thing I was quite hung up on were the NBA basketball cards.
It was more collecting than sharing them, they were cards with famous players active in the NBA league were printed on. I remember they cost about three dollars. The value of every player was different, but the cards of particular players were worth even about one million won. Choosing [a packet] randomly without knowing which cards will come out was fun. It happened that I had the same card three times, but I also went to sell my cards at shops. Among my friends, we also exchanged cards the others liked.
Toys have the purpose of playing but also the subject of collecting.
After those cards, there actually was nothing I especially collected. Possessing something is a burden, I really don’t like the feeling of being restrained by objects. That’s why I throw things away easily. In high school, my friend gave me something like an Evangelion figure, but after playing with it for a while, most of them ended up stowed away somewhere. In the end I lost them. I don’t tend to treasure objects. I see them as good as consumables and don’t cherish them.
You must have friends who collect toys enthusiastically.
Now and then, yes, I honestly don’t understand that but I respect [other’s] preferences. And it’s fun to watch them. Two years ago I went to Akihabara in Tokyo with some friends, it was toy heaven. I saw incredibly lots of toys but I didn’t buy any. One toy cost several ten thousand won. With that money I could buy a good set of clothes, and I thought even if I ate one bowl of food I could still eat something more delicious.
Then what do you mainly do when meeting those friends?
Pro Evolution Soccer. I like watching soccer, so that’s the only game I enjoy. It is exciting, because the actual environment of the soccer league and the player transfers are applied the same every year. As long as the league keeps existing, I don’t think I’ll get sick of that game. I’ve been playing it since middle school, which is quite a long time. Not long ago I bought a TV and together with it a Playstation, but having that at home isn’t really fun. Only when playing it at other people’s places or at “Playstation rooms,”1)An establishment similar to internet cafés where you can go to play Playstation and also buy food and drinks. it feels right. When we [me and my friends] meet up at a “Playstation room,” we basically play two to three hours. Although lately I realized we weren’t talking to each other that much, so I am refraining a bit from playing games (laughs).
Is there a play you personally are enthusiastic about?
That has to be shopping. Some time ago I read something, which said that the difference between a boy and a man is the price of their toys. Lately, I keep wanting to buy expensive things. In the long run, I think the things I buy are my toys. I recently bought music equipment, a TV, a watch and a MacBook … Next year I want to buy a car too. I keep being in search of my toys.
—[ SOURCE | BEENZINO FANPAGE ] Please note that the blog including the post with the magazine scans has been deleted.
Translator Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||An establishment similar to internet cafés where you can go to play Playstation and also buy food and drinks.|