Check out our exclusive recap of “Show Me the Money 5” Episode 3: “Attack of the United States”… Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Last week, we got a sneak peak for what was to come in this episode: 37 contestants who passed Round 2 auditions in Seoul, Korea, will be joined by a handful of contestants who auditioned in Los Angeles, California (check out our exclusive recap of Episode 2 here).
Episode 3 is divided into two parts: Los Angeles auditions and round 2.5 cyphers (will be explained later on this article).
The episode reveals that 26 Los Angeles contestants pass the first round of preliminary auditions (a cappella verse) and are faced with their next challenge: 60 seconds cypher survival (very similar to round 2 held in Seoul, Korea). The four producers (Kush, Dok2, Simon Dominic and Gill) are joined by the legendary American producer Timbaland.
Here are some remarks by our Korean producers:
- Simon Dominic: Judging alongside with Timbaland seemed surreal … It was an honor.
- Kush: I still have several Timbaland tracks on my playlist. Just sitting beside him was like … wow.
- Dok2: It was as if I was watching television.
- Gill: Being able to meet him in person, I would like to send my thanks to the #SMTM5 staff.
Producer Timbaland comments on Show Me the Money: “I think [SMTM] is the most innovative show that I have ever heard of. Big up Korea for doing the very first hiphop show. They took something that is heavily American culture and made it their culture. Korean hiphop, Show Me the Money: the newest wave.”
The first contestant is Mike Chun, also known as Verseatile. You may have seen his round 1 audition video that circulated on the internet prior to this episode drop. The artist has been in the hiphop scene for a while, with connections to Snacky Chan and being featured in an album by Uptown. Kush and Simon Dominic state that they want to see Verseatile and Snacky Chan battle in round 3. Check out the music video for his latest single titled ‘Car Tunez‘:
Unfortunately, all five producers fail the contestant. American producer Timbaland comments, “The rap selection is wrong, and the beat selection is wrong. You have to try a new style.”
The next contestant is Los Angeles-based Korean American rapper Sean Rhee. The artist comments, “There is no platform for Korean hiphop artists in Los Angeles … through this show, I hope to pursue my passion in music more freely, without needing to worry about money.” Check out his most recent single titled ‘YA JA SU (야자수)’ below:
The artist receives an ALL PASS. Simon Dominic comments, “[Sean Rhee] raps very tightly.”
Up next is Los Angeles-based Korean American rapper Junoflo (of Native Souls). The artist comments, “I’ve always been a fan of Korean hiphop. When I heard that ‘Show Me the Money’ was coming to Los Angeles, I thought it was a good opportunity to participate and win.” Check out his latest single ‘That’s iLL‘ on his SoundCloud channel:
Impressed by his verse, the producers give him an ALL PASS. Dok2 notes that Junoflo was consistently unshaken and did very well. Gill notes that he is a winning candidate of the show, “In my view, Junoflo is number one in Los Angeles.” Simon Dominic also adds that “He’ll probably gain a lot of female fans [for his charm, charisma, looks, etc] through this show.” When Simon Dominic asks Kush why he had failed the contestant, the producer responds, “To make him stronger.” Timbaland adds to the conversation, “Very wavy.”
The next contestant is a well known Korean artist in the Los Angeles Korean hiphop scene: Cycedelic Records artist Sikboy. Gill asks, “Why are you so popular in Los Angeles?” To which Simon Dominic adds, “Is it because you dissed San E?” This is a reference to Sikboy’s San E diss track that dropped a few years ago. Gill then asks, “If San E came out again [as a producer] this season, would you have competed?” To which Sikboy said he wouldn’t as he still dislikes the Brand New Music artist. Check out the music video for his latest track ‘LALA’ below:
Unfortunately, the contestant forgets his lyrics and consequently is eliminated by the five judges. The artist is disappointed and admits that his nervousness got the best of him.
The next contestant is Orange County-based Korean American rapper KillahGramz, who is another artist under Cycedelic Records (led by Compton Kirk – read more about him and the world renowned Compton records store here). Simon Dominic proudly introduces KillahGramz, stating that he had passed the contestant during the round 1 preliminary audition. The producer adds that he enjoys the contestant’s rap style, “I think we’d make a great duo. My tight low tone with his tight high tone … we would kill this sh*t.” Check out his collaborative track with fellow label-mate Sikboy titled ‘We Good’ featuring Kidkat and Beat Rhino:
Timbaland is impressed by the contestant’s unique style, “That was different [unique] … you got something.” Producer Gill adds to the feedback, “He killed it. I really enjoy rappers like KillahGramz … He’s got his own color.” Lastly, Dok2 adds, “In the hiphop scene, it’s very important to represent where you come from. The beat he chose had a very Los Angeles vibe.” KillahGramz qualifies to the next round!
This episode also features many non-Korean contestants who competed in the Los Angeles auditions, [distastefully] using Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Black and Yellow’ as a backing track to introduce these African-American artists. Dok2 comments that the hiphop culture is prominent in Los Angeles, and Simon Dominic wonders if they would see artists with the West Coast, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg vibe.
The first non-Korean contestant is Miss LA, who dominated the stage with confidence, as Dok2 points out after the performance. Unlike the other producers, Kush failed Miss LA, “There’s a lot of talented female rappers in Los Angeles … She was talented but I didn’t see anything beyond that.”
Next contestant is Legendary TeMo, who passed her first round of preliminary auditions by Kush. The producer, after listening to her a cappella verse in the previous round, was curious to see how she would do with a backing track. Timbaland states, “Let’s see if she can rock it on the beat.” With the exception of Gill, the other producers praise her catchy, trendy rap performance. Gill questions whether or not she would have anything more than the current trendy hiphop she brought to the table.
Up next is a familiar face: Hiphop duo (82 Hottest MC’s) member Superbee, who decided to try out ‘Show Me the Money’ in Los Angeles this season. Based on his personality and characteristics from last season, the artist was notorious for dissing HIGHGRND and Tablo in relation to artist Incredivle. Dok2 comments, “I didn’t feel very good about the fact that Superbee dissed Tablo, who is a very good friend to me. However, ‘Show Me the Money’ is … Show Me the Money (i.e., for entertainment).” Gill adds, “Any artist is free to diss others.” Superbee admits to his immaturity last season and states that he is back in this season as a different person, “I want to show a positive image of myself this season.” After his performance, Timbaland comments, “That was fresh.”
The next artist is a New York-based Korean-American rapper Flowsik (of Aziatix). As soon as he introduces himself, the producers comment on his deep voice. Timbaland states, “That voice is like a star’s.” Simon Dominic recognizes that Flowsik has dropped several albums in the past and is currently very active in the scene. Dok2 adds that Flowsik’s group Aziatix is currently signed under Cash Money Records, a renowned record label for working with artists like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake. The contestant explains why he chose to participate this season, “I know that my roots are from Korea … my parents are Korean. I wanted to see if I could make my mark in my parent’s country.” Dok2 states that he has been a fan of Flowsik “since day 1.” Check out his latest Korean collaboration with artists LIVE, PUNCHNELLO, SIK-K, and OWEN OVADOZ:
Flowsik receives an easy ALL PASS. Timbaland comments, “My favorite from this audition was Flowsik … ‘Sikflow’ or ‘Flowsik.’ Either one it go, he do both: he flows sick, and he’s a sick flow-er.”
What follows next is a contestant named Yung Kameo who passes the first round audition (by Kush) for his intensity during his verse. However, he fails in round 2. Kush states, “You’ve got a lot of energy, which is good, but you were so excited that you weren’t even on beat.” Timbaland agrees, “It was too much.” This was received negatively by the artist, who stomped out of the stage cursing at all the producers and contestants.
The last featured Los Angeles contestant is a New York-based Korean-American rapper JKey (Jaeki Cho), who was featured on HiphopKR for his mixtape [Gyopo Anthem: 퀸즈 돈벌어]. You can also check out his recent music video drop ‘SHABANG (샤방)’ below:
The contestant receives a pass by Timbaland, but fail from the other producers. JKey comments, “Yo, God bless you, Timbo.” However, Timbaland, after seeing the other fails, responds, “Yeah, uh .. I feel like, you know, it was a miscall [to pass JKey].”
Producers bring out the nine contestants back to the stage. The contestants soon find out that only five of them will be fly to Korea for the next round of ‘Show Me the Money 5’. Timbaland states that the producers chose four contestants that will automatically pass to the next round: Flowsik, Junoflo, Superbee and KillahGramz. The last five contestants are left to participate in a cypher, in which the winner will fly to Korea.
Out of the five contestants, the producers cannot make a decision between Legendary TeMo and Miss LA. They agree to do another round, but this time with Timbaland beatboxing. After much contemplation from the producer team, the decision is made: Legendary TeMo wins. However, she drops out of ‘Show Me the Money 5’ due to personal reasons.
Cue back to Korea in an abandoned warehouse: the 37 contestants meet MC Kim Jin Pyo, who congratulates them for making it this far. The host states that round 3 will be, as previous, 1 vs. 1 battle, where contestants will be randomly drawn to choose their opponent. To get a good grasp of other contestants’ rap skills, the contestants will participate in a “Cypher Search” round where each contestant will have an opportunity to spit their verse.
The contestants will be divided into teams based on how many “PASSES” they received from round 2 auditions:
- Team SANG (ALL PASS): Woo Taewoon, G2, Boy B, myunDo, Hash Swan, CJAMM, BewhY, Sanchez, Reddy, etc.
- Team JOONG (3 PASS): Snacky Chan, Jung Sang Soo, Kim Hyo Eun, Yang Hong Won, Donutman, ONE, etc.
- Team HA (2 PASS): Seo Chul Goo, Evo, J-Dub, Kim Seung Hwan, MOJAE, etc.
- Team “Dangerously Close to Elimination” (1 PASS): J’Kyun, Kim Tae Jeong, Shim Hyeji, etc.
After categorizing the contestants, MC Kim Jin Pyo mentions that they will be joined by four contestants from Los Angeles: KillahGramz (Team SANG), Superbee (Team SANG), Junoflo (Team JOONG), and Flowsik (Team SANG).
Team “Dangerously Close to Elimination” begins the cypher, followed by Team HA, then Team JOONG, and it’s wrapped up by Team SANG. After each cypher round, the other contestants are given the opportunity to write comments anonymously regarding the cypher. Here are the comments mentioned in the episode:
- Cho Seung-Yeun (1 PASS): His rapping is … typical
- J’Kyun (1 PASS): I can confirm that he is “dangerously close to elimination.”
- LeellaMarz (1 PASS) (who calls out Superbee during the cypher): LeellaMarz should be nice to Superbee
- Seo Chul Goo (2 PASS): The Korean Eminem … Why are you in “TWO PASS”?
- Snacky Chan (3 PASS): God-nacky Chan
- Hash Swan comments, “There is a reason why Snacky Chan is still here despite his hiccup last round … Because we know how good he is.“
- ONE (3 PASS): ONE’s homework: memorize his lyrics
- ONE forgets his lyrics twice during the cypher. Donutman jokes, “He kept repeating the same line … I thought he was just doing the hook.
- ONE reflects on his cypher: “I’m staying positive with the mindset that I will do better.“
- Junoflo (3 PASS): The water must be different in the United States. Never want to battle you!
- G2 comments “Junoflo did very well–I really like his rapping voice.“
- Hash Swan states that Junoflo is the best out of the four Los Angeles contestants
- BewhY felt that Junoflo should have been in Team SANG (ALL PASS)
- CJAMM (4 PASS): No need to say anything else but GOOD. Winning candidate.
- G2 (4 PASS): He reminds me of a tiger. Powerful and winning candidate.
- KillahGramz comments, “I could hear everything G2 was spitting … he had great delivery, and his confidence boosted his overall rap performance.“
- BewhY (4 PASS): He’s a king. Winning candidate.
- Junoflo comments that he enjoyed BewhY’s verse and unique voice
- Woo Taewoon (4 PASS): Disposable … If you’re gonna rap like that, then ‘Copy Ma Lyrics’ (reference to his latest single)
- Due to his nervousness, he forgets his lyrics. He makes a decision to use the same verse from round 1 auditions, which Mnet points out
- Boy B mentions that Woo Taewoon did NOT know Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Hypnotize’ and states that “any true rapper would know this track.”
- Reddy (ALL PASS): Receives all positive comments
- Although Reddy forgets his lyrics several times, the other contestants support him, unlike they did with Woo Taewoon, as Reddy appears to be more likeable than Woo Taewoon
- Seo Chul Goo critiques Flowsik, “I could barely understand what he was saying.“
- KillahGramz: His voice is surprisingly good ... His rap was fresh, unlike his physical appearance
You can check out the official cypher videos of some of the contestants by accessing the videos below:
Uncut versions of Junoflo, Boy B, CJAMM, and BewhY:
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