Here is the interview! It’s pretty lengthy (approx. 1 hr, 25 minutes) and only has about 1,000 listens on Soundcloud so I’m not sure what people have thought of it so far. Below is a recap of the interview where I share some of the things that were discussed. I organized the content by topic but included time stamps for some topics so they can be easily found. Check it out!
– ‘Wondaland’ is the first album MFBTY has put out through their independent label ‘Feel Ghood Music’ and both Tiger JK and Tasha say they “just wanted to focus on what made us happy” as opposed to worrying about record sales
On their music career
– Tiger JK spoke about wanting to quit music all together at one point and how he was motivated to continue because of his son and the need to feed his family as well as the opportunity to work with Bizzy and Tasha.
– When asked about how having a kid has impacted their music, Tiger JK and Tasha had different answers. Tiger JK shared that it has impacted his music and has made him want to avoid typical rapper topics/subject matter and make music that’ll make Jordan happy. Tasha shared that “nothing has changed for me” and that when she’s writing music she doesn’t second guess what comes to her. She’s not worried about what now 7-year-old Jordan will think in the future. “He’ll get it,” Tasha says.
Artists they enjoy/respect/listen to
– As far as the music she listens to, Tasha shares that she still listens to what she did as a kid, and now listens to more R&B than hip hop. She mentioned listening to Sade and Danny Chung mentions that he too has been in a “Sade zone” lately. It was cool to hear that because my own dad is a big Sade fan and I grew up listening to her music. Tiger JK says that often Tasha and Bizzy put him on new stuff because he doesn’t really keep up with new music on his own.
-Tasha and Tiger JK both spoke highly of Dok2, whom they have known since he was 11 or 12. “He’s intelligent, he’s a cool dude,” Tiger JK says. Tasha speaks to the fact that Dok2 has used much of the adversity he’s been through to his advantage, and his current success is a product of what he’s been through. She said that it’s a part of hip hop culture to show off but his is truly from a place of “I came from the gutter”.
– Tiger JK says the artists he most pays attention to are Fana, The Quiett, Dok2, Double K, people he has often collaborated with in the past
Thoughts on the Korean Music Industry and Unpretty Rapstar/SMTM and History of The Movement
– Tasha and Tiger JK expressed that they have been “cock-blocked” so to speak by the Korean music industry in and that they receive more interview requests from blogs overseas than anywhere else. They enjoy these interviews because there’s no pressure to censor themselves in any way but they said that “shady s**t is universal”, it’s not just Korea. K-pop makes money and that makes the Korean government happy but they have just been “trying to find their lane”
– Around 23:00 ~ Tiger JK discusses The Movement and the history of the group’s formation. He shared that his desire was to share this culture that he feel in love with and bring others along with him.
– Tiger JK had some great stuff to share in regards to his thoughts on hip hop’s rise in popularity in Korea, in part due to shows like Show Me the Money. He says that he was a part of early meetings and talks that led to SMTM but what he envisioned was a BET cypher style show that would platform new artists but SMTM “became something else”. He is happy SMTM is making hip hop mainstream but he said there are side effects and talked about the diss culture that has formed. He said that nowadays people “can’t be an artist who can spit and tell a story, they have to come out swinging”. He also said he doesn’t want to diss the show because peers make money from it. As for Unpretty Rapstar, he briefly mentioned the fact that he didn’t appreciate the contestants coming at Tasha the way they did.
On It G Ma and The Cohort
– “I just seen that a week ago, that’s how behind I am” said Tiger JK. He said he’s been asked what his thoughts are on Keith Ape a lot and said he thought he was from the States until learning of his connection to The Hilite and Paloalto. “I salute them” he said as well as “I don’t know what to make of it yet” and that it reminded him of the Chief Keef movement in Chicago.
– Danny, Tasha and Tiger JK spoke to the fact that all types of people with different racial backgrounds are enjoying the music and being united by it and in a way paving the way for them.
– Around 38:00 ~ Tiger JK is cautionary though saying “I don’t want some sort of s**t to set us back 10 years” and talked about the whole Gangnam Style thing and PSY and his frustration with that and being Asian and experiencing people overseas wanting Gangnam Style. He is hesitant about how It G Ma will be perceived.
What inspired them to pursue music?
– Around 45:00 ~ Tasha’s dad was a DJ as a hobby and so music had been a part of her life from a young age. Tiger JK talks about his dad and his influence in his life. He says that in the 70s in Korean his house was like a secret society for artists and that environment shaped him, calling himself a “rebel by nature”. During his time in America he says he was a corny dude who was peer pressured into the culture and how he never really wanted to be a rapper but he began freestyling and participating in cyphers because of those around him. Tiger JK shares that Drunken Tiger was inspired by Wu Tang Clan and in a way that group helped Asian artists because it made Asian culture “cool”. Danny Chung shared that “Wu changed my life as well”.
On #BlackLivesMatter, Police Brutality and Racism
– Around 55:30 ~ Danny Chung transitions by telling Tasha that he’s a huge fan of her song “Black Happiness” (as am I) and asked her, “being black” what her thoughts were on the state of things in the US. “It goes without saying that its f—ed up. I was just talking about it with my dad,” she shared. She affirmed the fact that racism still exists in America and Korea, despite the fact that “things have gotten better”. She said that she can’t even watch films that deal with racism because it affects her deeply emotionally. She doesn’t condone violence (“we shouldn’t be looting s**t”) but she says the media doesn’t help by shifting the focus from the issues at hand.
– Around 59:00 ~ Tiger JK talks about growing up in LA and how when he ‘rolled with his black homies’ he got pulled over every time, for no reason and his white friends didn’t get it, saying things like “you guys must’ve done something”. Tasha talked about how it shouldn’t take an incident to draw attention to the fact that racism is still alive and well. She shared that in Korea, every car has a black box and she said that she believes every cop should have a body camera. She and Tiger Jk talked about how in Korea there’s not the same “fear dynamic” with cops, they have rules in place (ex: cops have rubber bullets, in general they can’t just shoot people). They both expressed the belief that it is “too easy to become a cop” in America and that there should be stricter standards for cops (Tiger JK even went as far as to suggest college education be required).
Tasha and John Legend and the future
– Around 1:07:00 ~ an anecdote is shared about how the couple was invited to John Legend’s concert and he put Tasha on the spot and asked her to rap and afterwards spontaneously invited her to perform with him. Tiger JK hilariously shared that John Legend was “suave” and he didn’t like him talking to his girl. In regards to Tasha’s popularity and record labels in the U.S. reaching out to her he had this to say “They want Tasha, not me”.
– Around 1:14:00 ~ They aren’t sure why they’re getting so much attention from overseas but they’re doing music because they love it and will continue to be themselves and not chase fame and record sales
Many thanks to Danny Chung and OogeeWoogee for this awesome interview. I really feel that it was the perfect opportunity for Tiger JK and Tasha to be candid and keep it real and openly share about where they’re at and what their lives as artists have been like. If you haven’t listened to ‘Wondaland‘ yet make sure to get it!