Read Dazed & Confused‘s interview with Beenzino about his album “2 4 : 2 6” from their September 2012 issue.
MY FIRST STORY
Beenzino, who has been active with Hot Clip and Jazzyfact, has released a solo album “2 4 : 2 6.” It is full of the life, lethargy, passion and despair of people in their twenties.
In your lyrics you say you become arrogant in the summer, how do you feel now after releasing your album?
I don’t think I’m satisfied with it, I myself had a problem with it somewhere, I had it hard somewhere, since I know after what kinds of ups and downs the album was made. In the beginning I didn’t even want to release an album. “Why release such an album?” I thought but now that it’s released, people like it and I like that I can sing new songs at concerts. Jazzyfact’s album was released in 2010 but I performed those songs until 2012, the people who called us to perform them are awesome and it’s fascinating that I still went to perform although I knew that [the songs were old] (laughs). Overall it’s an interesting mood, I have fun living these days.
What were you dissatisfied with?
After I made it, there were many soft songs. Right now I don’t seem to be in the right situation and mind to make songs that overflow with charisma. I think my current situation has been reflected quite well [in the album]. It’s as natural as possible and without any petty tricks, it’s my album.
Still, since you were chosen by Dazed, please tell us which parts you think you did well.
The way of expressing the “fishing ground” in “Aqua Man,” the hook of “Boogie On & On,” and the way of expressing a woman in the streets in “Nike Shoes.” I think those points are good, well, there are extremely many [I like] (laughs).
It’s an album that covers your thoughts and feelings from 24 to 26 years of age, what did you think of most while making the album?
I was dominated by many slumps and times of tiredness. After releasing the album I came to know that equally worse hardships were waiting for me and that it wasn’t only as fun as I had imagined it to be. Furthermore, random things like college kept me from concentrating and working when I wanted. I didn’t like the overall mood and environment. It also felt like a restriction to meet people I had to see for work and I wanted to get away as soon as possible. I was very tired so I think that’s why I put that camel on my album cover. I imagine the camel to walk slowly through the desert.
How was the situation when you wrote “If I die tomorrow?”
I wrote it when I wanted to be alone. I didn’t ponder on it long, I just thought “What should I write about?” and the song naturally came out. It’s not that I was extremely sad when I wrote it, I actually had fun writing it. I jokingly told my girlfriend “If I die, only let those people come that I’ve invited” and started to tell her who I’d invite. I wanted to be chic and just write a few people but once I started there were so many [people] (laughs). I have to invite that person too and this hyung as well … There were so many that I naturally came to a closure while writing it.
The way from a member of Jazzyfact to a solo album seems natural but the results of your solo work have a wide spectrum. There are cute as well as rough songs, aren’t you set on one genre?
No, when I listen to music I don’t listen to nothing but south hip hop, R&B or soul day and night, I also listen to rock sometimes. I’m quite capricious so I easily get sick of things, that’s why [the album has many genres]. But I think that my own style is inside of that. That’s why I think it won’t become a problem.
So when you get sick of singing these songs you will release another album?
I’d like to possibly release it when I’m the least tired of them, if it takes too long it’ll be too painful for me. I’ll feel outdated, just like worn-off clothes. If other people are singing new songs at concerts but only we [I and the featured artists] keep singing old songs, I don’t feel well. I’d like to release a single, an EP, a full album or a mixtape, anything, as soon as possible,
You also talk about your sponsor Carhartt as well as about times when you’re frustrated, it seems like the sensitive feelings of people in their twenties are expressed well in your lyrics.
I do have the must fun when my honest feelings are delivered. I think the songs “If I Die Tomorrow,” “Always Awake,” and “Vibra” from Jazzyfact’s album contain my real stories. I feel good when the words I wanted to say are delivered clearly to my opponent and that’s the same with music. I also used the words I made up when I was small as well as words which I think were made for rap. That way, I think I really wrote down the words I wanted to say in my lyrics and feel refreshed inside. I think that’s my highest priority when making music.
I heard you even made songs about the gap between rich and poor when you were younger?
Haha. Yes, I think I was thirteen years old?
How did you think of writing rap back then?
I think I wanted to. I don’t know how I started writing either, expressing myself was my main goal when I was small too, as I enjoyed painting and listening to music until four in the morning all by myself. There was nobody who’d complain if I played loud music at our house. Instead, when there was no music playing I thought “Why is there no music today? It’s so quiet, I can’t sleep.” I just naturally start doing something but I do remember the time I quit something very well. During high school I suddenly went to an acting school but it was too difficult so I immediately quit. I often think of that incident (laughs). I don’t think I remember the process of really wanting to do something and working towards it myself. It’s the same when starting to date someone, you can’t say when exactly you fell in love and with what exactly. You meet, become closer, converse and become even closer at one moment. I think it’s the same with music.
How much are you confident of and trust your own talent?
I absolutely don’t think I’m the best. I think I really lack a lot but I think I have enough [talent] to live doing what I want and enjoying life.
“A good flow, a good groove, good lyrics.” I’ve heard many different things but which elements of hip hop do you see as the most important ones?
I think the first time I released something, people said I have a good flow and a good groove. But back then, my lyrics and pronunciation were pointed out as problematic. That’s when I realized the importance of lyrics and started to give special attention to them. When you release an album, people tell you which lyrics they like. That makes me a lot happier than words like “a good sense of beat,” “a good groove” or “a good flow.” People listen to the songs, understand and feel them. That I produce those feelings in people makes me happy. I’m especially happy when there are people who understand the parts that I wrote with extra care. For example, in “Nike Shoes” there is this line: As tight as the line of your eyebrows in the wind of the river. So a girl is working out at the Han River wearing Nike shoes. While she’s working out, wind is blowing so she closes her eyes. Here I imagined her eyebrows take on the form of the Nike logo. I’m happy and thankful when anyone realizes those details and secret codes I’ve hidden [inside my lyrics].
You borrowed one line of Mac Miller’s “Nikes On My Feet.” Did that come to you right away when listening to the song or did it happen by accident?
Mac Miller’s line goes like this: Nikes on my feet keep my cypher complete. It means the Nikes I’m wearing make my rap complete, and hearing that made me want to tell about my ideal type, a girl wearing Nike shoes. That phrase actually originates from one of Nas’ songs. I reinterpreted it in my own way: Nikes on her feet make my love complete. The process of making the song was fun. My girlfriend wears lots of trainers too, she doesn’t wear heels often.
Wasn’t Carhartt sad [that the song is called “Nike Shoes”]?
No, the camel on my album cover is covered with a blanket and when you look at it closely, it says Carhartt on it. It’s a Carhartt blanket (laughs).
If you could let aliens who’ve never listened to hip hop before listen to one of the songs of your album, which one would you choose?
I’d like to let them listen to “If I Die Tomorrow.” It’s possible that the aliens invade and kill us, so if they listen to that song they might just think “Ah, we’ll let this guy live.”
EDITOR Jiyeon Nah
—[ SOURCE | BEENZINO FANPAGE ] Please note that the website including the original post with the magazine scans has been deleted.