A Kidoh show has been a long time coming, and at first no one was sure it would happen. So, when news rolled out that Kidoh was having a free show in SF and LA, many fans took to social media to show their excitement (or upset per the Instagram comments) at their chances to catch Kidoh live in the US. The little less than half hour set list was an appetizer of Kidoh’s musical catalogue, and after giving full attention to the lyrical content of the show, I can see why he got the 21 and over label.
A little past midnight, after the club goers got their groove on to all the latest jams from DJ Pepito, Kidoh took to the Club Bound stage. Unfortunately, technical difficulties threatened to mar Kidoh’s shine, as the track started too early with the mic volume too low to hear his voice. However, with the swift cut of his fingers and a mic swap, the DJ restarted the track and Kidoh worked the crowd as he launched into his set. The ratio of Kidoh fans to general-public remained unclear, but when the audience fully participates in a call and response to KFC lyrics “work that p*ssy”, you know you’ve got something cooking on that stage, and Sanders recipe isn’t the menu option. Some of the crowd just stared in awe, while others caught the vibe and rode it all the way. KFC is that kind of track you’d expect to hear after Nelly’s Tip Drill, with lyrics that are just as blatant and don’t play coy.
Rocking all black from head to toe, with a studded jacket that glinted in the reddish pink club lights, Kidoh fit the description of his next song Pretty Mof#cka. The audience joined in on the catchy hook of wailing sirens with Kidoh, as Pretty Mof#cka got everyone bouncing to its Trap beats. The songs kept flowing and the energy stayed live as Kidoh finally closed out his show with his latest mini album track Her. As an artist, especially one formally well-known from the K-Pop side, the lyrics of Her takes a battering ram to all the rosy pop ideals, and shows a grittier side to Kidoh that juxtaposes with the mellow grooves. Kidoh is undeniably on that ratchet side of the Korean Hip-Hop spectrum, and he’s singing what he wants to sing, with truly no fucks to give. Once the mic was in hand, the words flowed like liquor in a cup, and even I had to take a pause, to resolve the visuals on the stage with the gritty lyrical content pumping through the sound system. It’s not every day you see an artist with idol looks, spitting lyrics that require “Parental Advisory”.
Seeing Kidoh live gave a real glimpse of what he’s capable of, and the three months in Cali seems to have rejuvenated his drive for more creative content. Catching timing in the Korean hip-hop industry is hard, but Kidoh is hustling from the ground floor and his name hasn’t left the minds of fans who’ve been waiting patiently to see him rise. He’s utilizing SoundCloud to provide his music straight from the tap, and with loyal support, Kidoh has the potential to establish his space in the hip-hop arena. Kidoh’s musical direction could be a bitter pill for some listeners who may still hold on to “pop” friendly memories. However, for the growing fans of Kidoh’s solo works, he’s the right dosage of raw artistry that adds depth to the Korean hip-hop scene. Hip-Hop fans better be ready, because there is no telling what boundaries Kidoh may be looking to push next.