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Show Me The Lyrics #1

In Show Me The Money by Lena

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Mnet’s Show Me The Money has been the stage of many controversies surrounding lyrics. This weekly series will pick out the show’s witty rhymes, punchlines, messages, whatever appears to be of interest lyrics-wise, and provide translations, explanations and background information.

Note: Only a few artists’ lyrics were selected as there is not enough time to discuss all of them. They were chosen from the videos available on Mnet’s official YouTube channel of which some are edited, shortened versions as seen in the episode and others unedited, complete videos.
The content of this weekly series will change depending on what the show has to offer, e.g. great punchlines will probably come only in the later part of the show during battles or similar tasks.

This time around, we’ll take a look at the lyrics of these three artists: veteran Nucksal of VMC who is clearly too good for the show like several other participants, elementary schooler Woochan Jo whose rap is full of bragging and who seems to represent the young generation of aspiring rappers that admire the ‘coolness’ of hiphop, and finally rookie Wonjae Woo who seems more serious and whose conscious rap is lyrically challenging.
Each participant’s purpose for being on the show appears to be as different as their lyrics. See for yourself!


These lyrics that flow so smoothly and confidently off Nucksal‘s lips are from his track ‘NFS (Not For Sale)‘ off his glorious album ‘The God of Small Things‘. “My soul is not for sale” is the track’s message, and this is the part he raps in the above video:

More caffeine, the city has lost sleep
Everyone wants to leave, Dorothy in the tornado
No matter if the head of a family or a son, in their position
each one forgets their own self under the pressure

more caffein 잠을 잃은 도시
모두가 떠나고 싶어해 태풍 속 도로시
가장이던 아들이던 각자의 위치에서
압박을 받으며 자기 자신을 잊지

A bare man, I believe in myself
The Merchant of Venice has made a generous offer
but my soul’s flesh will never be reduced, not even one gram
Those clowns are making a fuss

알몸에 사내 난 자신을 믿지
베니스의 상인은 후한 값을 제시했지만
내 영혼의 옆구리 1도 줄 일 없어
저 어릿광대들은 난리법석

Now, come and weigh me
Tell me how many zeros there are
My soul weighs 0g, it can never be tied down
It flies away, far away

자 내 무겔 와서 달아봐
0의 개수가 몇 개인지 내게 말해봐
내 영혼은 0g 절대 묶일 수 없어
저기 저기 멀리 날아가

You’re still hiding behind a stable life,
minding other people
Can just breathing be called “being alive?”
We shine even brighter when we are ourselves

아직도 눈치를 보며 안전한
삶 속에 넌 숨지
숨을 쉬는 것만이 살아 있다 말할 수 있나
우린 우리 자신일 때 더욱 빛나

Like many other well-known participants shown in this first episode, Nucksal rapped lyrics off a track that has already been released officially. From The Wizard of Oz to The Merchant of Venice and a message with impact-it is evident that these lyrics were written with a lot of care for a full-length album. Will his upcoming texts be similarly intelligent?

Woochan Jo

This (in Korean age) 13-year-old participant made Gaeko laugh as he introduces his rap with, “This song is for the fake rappers,” just to spit bars that you would not expect to hear from a boy in elementary school (note: lyrics are not complete as this is the edited, not the full version):

Most here are fake fans trying to imitate rap
I grabbed my fishing rod, something’s taken the bait
Now it is time to shine
However, I think I’ve started early

여기 대부분이 랩을 흉내 내려는 힙질이
낚싯대 잡았더니 입질이 왔어
이제는 빛을 발할 시기
그런데 일찍이 시작을 했나 생각이 들고

Honestly, these days [rappers] they are all the same
They’re all the same and I’m so sick of them
Therefore I am rare
I’ve made my appearance, a little boy who raps

요즘 솔직히 다 비슷비슷하고
비슷비슷하고 너무 지긋지긋하고
그러니 난 희귀하고
내가 나타났지 꼬맹이가 랩을 하지

I’m tiny but don’t underestimate my skills, does a young boy seem like a pushover?
However, I’m rich with time
My stocks go up slowly, if you invest in me I’ll give you the greatest dividend

키는 땅꼬마지 실력은 사람 잡지 어린놈이 만만하니
하지만 난 시간 부자
천천히 올라가 나의 주가 내게 투자하면 줄게 최고 배당

Right now I’ve got no fame no chain, nothing at all
But investing in me is the best thing
I’m a treasure hidden in plain sight

나는 지금 no fame no chain 절대 없어 nothing
But 투자해봐 best thing
난 긁지 않은 배팅 oh

No wonder Microdot shows a daddy smile and Gaeko decides to “invest” in this participant. Let’s see if Woochan Jo can keep going like this.

Wonjae Woo

How great would be an uncensored version of this participant’s rap. Wonjae Woo, who got into hiphop thanks to Drunken Tiger, announces that his rap is coming from deep down in his heart, which Mnet makes very evident with all the beeps. Here’s what is left of his conscious rap lyrics (of which parts have already been cut out as the above video is the edited, not the full version):

This is all because of _
It has _ me like this, look!
Hating [it] to death and now I want death
Three bags of pills explain my current life

_ 때문이잖아 이거 다
날 이렇게 _잖아 이거 봐
죽도록 원하고 이젠 죽음을 원해
난 알약 세봉지가 설명해 내 지금의 삶

My life is a prison which I’m locked in together with misfortune, my life is locked in with misfortune
_ (motherf*cker) Everyone’s got it hard, you might think I’m rapping this because I don’t know that _
_ That’s not the case _
[You say] I’m mistaking myself for an artist? I don’t do art, I’m earning money. Just move your car (you asshole)

내 삶은 불행과 갇힌 감옥 내 삶은 불행과 갇힌
_ (motherf*cker) 다 힘들지 그걸 내가 몰라서 이러는 줄 아나본데 _
_ 그거 아녀 _
예술병? 난 예술 안해 나 돈 버는 거야 넌 그냥 차 빼 (이 새끼야)

You’re not earning money, you’re begging for pocket money
A senior in high school commenting on gravitation probably seems like teaching a fish how to swim
Ay, __

넌 돈 버는 것도 아니라 코 묻은 돈 빌어먹는 거야
고3이 만유인력을 논하니 굼벵이 앞에 주름을 잡는 꼴이겠지
Ay, __

You think that’s your right
I’m perfect for your brainwashing
Ay _ hurry up and concentrate
If you walk on and on and on it’s all the same
_ Things are going well for me now so there’s no mercy
A war made by you guys’ greed

그게 권린 줄 아는
니 _ 정신 개조엔 내가 제격이지
Ay _ 얼른 집중해
걷다봄 또 또 또 똑 똑 똑같아
_ 나 이제 일 잘 풀려서 자빈 없네
니들 욕심이 만든 전쟁

Tiger JK, who heard more of the rap than we did, said: “There seems to be a story behind his rap which makes it fascinating. He was very unique and impressive. That’s the kind of person I’ve been looking for and there he was. Today was good.”
While the rap was clearly socially and politically conscious, it also had interesting stylistic devices, for example this wordplay:

죽도록 원하고 이젠 죽음을 원해
jungdorok wonhago ijen jugeumeul wonhae
Hating [it] to death and now I want death

First he uses ‘death’ as an adverb then as a noun and also plays on the verb ‘원하다’ (wonhada) which can mean both ‘to hate’ and ‘to want’.
He further uses an idiom, an ellipse, repetition, onomatopoeia and lots of swearwords. Diverse and lyrical as “beep.” More please.

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