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Korea’s Got Alot of Seoul… And I’m Diggin’ It! [Music Videos]

Judging by the title of my entry, you can guess that this post is about *drum roll please* Korea (South Korea to be exact)!

I know, you’re probably looking at me like “Wait, you’re a black girl from the West Indies, living in Brooklyn, New York. What can you possibly know about Korea?” But guess what? I know I like their music and even a couple of their movies!

Thanks to modern-day inventions like the internet (and friends with things for cute Asian guys), I’ve been exposed to the wonderful world of K-Pop.

*Disclaimer* I do not presume to be an authority on K-Pop. In fact, I’m still a novice picking and choosing specific songs that catch my ear. With that being said, I will continue on.

A couple years ago, a young woman I’m pretty acquainted with named Elba (who is like a makeup extraordinaire) probably put me on to my first K-Pop song. It was Seung-Ri’s “VVIP.” The reason why I was interested in it? Because I saw a gif of him gyrating his hips on Tumblr and I was intrigued.

YES. I ADMIT IT, damn it! I wanted to see him shake his tush — I’m only human!?!

Anyway, after watching that video, I became even more interested in the Korean music scene. Now, one thing you must know about me is that I “fan girl” over things very quickly and pretty intensely. Once I have feelings about something, that’s it. I have those feelings until they die off, which sometimes happens almost as quickly as they begin (see: Alexander Skarsgard). Another thing you should know: I’m pretty open-minded. While most people would scoff at the notion of listening to music in a language they have NO KNOWLEDGE of, I instead took on the challenge.

Music is universal to me. You can ultimately know what a person is singing just by the tone, and the overall sound. Somber = sad, lamenting,  upbeat = happy, hopeful. It’s not freaking rocket science. Furthermore if Asians can sing along to Beyoncé and Jay Z without feeling any way about it, why can’t I jam to their music?! Another cool thing about K-Pop? Some of the songs feature English words. I guess that would mean they’re singing in KorEnglish, but I digress.

After putting me on to “VVIP,” Elba told me to try another song called “Strong, Baby” (which I fuggin’ LOVED) and then a bunch of tunes by Big Bang, which is the group Seung-Ri or “VI” sings in. She ALSO alerted me to the fact that actor Bi Rain from Ninja Assassinis also a Korean pop singer:

Naturally, I was all like “what?!” That makes no sense. Then I watched a couple of his performances…

and I was like…

“THAT BOY KNOWS HOW TO ROLL HIS HIPS!!!”

And he actually has a song about it.

So in learning ALL of this, I started my own self-paced study into the world of K-Pop. Now, I can bore with the TEDIOUS way in which some of these kids are basically taken from their homes to endure dance and vocal training for years because they can even release a single, but I won’t (but you can read about some of it in this Village Voice article). Instead, I’ll just show you a couple of the songs I’m all about right now.

I’m probably going to try and do this frequently, since I find a new song I like ever so often. So, first on today’s list:

3. Seung-Ri “VI” > “Gotta Talk To U”

Why? Because VI is just getting his sexy on. The suit, the hair, EVERYTHING just works. If I lived in Seoul, I’d throw my panties at him if I saw him on the street. Yes, I went there.

I just love the beat, the guitar at the beginning, the way he just smolders with those eyes…

and makes suggestive movements with his hips…

Yum. VI is proving that he’s all grown up and ready to do sexy bedroom things with the ladies. Plus, the music is dance friendly and the hard remix (at the end of the video) is definitely something I’d jam to at the club.

2. SiStar > Give It To Me

Why? Because I’m really loving Hyolyn (Hyorin?)’s voice. You probably don’t know who I’m talking about, so here’s what she looks like in the video:

She’s basically the main vocals in the chorus and this girl can saaaaaaang. You’re probably not hearing how great she is because you’re completely distracted by the fact that they’re all singing in Korean, but she’s definitely got a voice on her. Don’t believe me? Listen to her sing Beyoncé’s “Halo.” I’ll wait.


Also the song’s just sexy. You kinda just want to give them, whatever “it” is after their sultry begging.

Hyolyn’s actually got this single out now called “One Way Love” that is growing on me. I’ll probably mention in my next K-Pop post…

1. CL > “The Baddest Female”

Why? One, because CL (the lead singer of K-Pop band 2NE1) is an all-around bad ass. This chick has so much swag in this video, I can’t stand it. Her style is amaze balls (which is why she’s fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s muse) and she’s rocking gold fronts with fanged canines like nobody’s business.

Two, I’m IN LOVE with the choreography. As simple as it looks, it’s clean, funky, and makes you want to dance. I dare anyone of you to pick it up, and do it justice.


And besides that, CL’s rapping is cool, I like the flow, and the chorus is easy enough that I can sing along.

All in all, CL is just #werqing it for me. Get it girl!

These are probably the three songs that have been getting the most play on my MP3 player this week, but not the only songs I’m on to. I’ve got a couple other tracks from G-Dragon, Big Bang, 2NE1, Jay Park etc. that I listen to. I’ll let you know which ones are in rotation in my next installment.

As I mentioned before, I’m am NO authority on K-Pop, so I don’t know what’s the latest in music game until it’s too late. So if you’d like to school me on some songs I should be on, feel free to hit a girl up and tell her what’s good!

Con Amor

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE
“My Guilty Pop Pleasure” is an ongoing effort on the XHIBIT P blog to openly address some of the internal conflicts and contradictions that we often feel towards our love for pop culture. If you’d like to be a guest contributor, please contact us.

K-Pop boy band, BIGBANG

That’s right, you read correctly. My guilty pop pleasure is Korean Pop, otherwise known as K-Pop. Now looking at me – a black girl from the West Indies, raised in the notorious rap borough of Brooklyn- you would not think that I would have a thing for music from another part of the world, in another language no less, but I do. I’ll tell you how it all started: one night while watching a mini-marathon of Degrassi (another guilty pleasure for another time) on the N, I stumbled upon the music video for K-Pop Princess BoA. The name of the song was “Eat You Up,” and I was immediately intrigued. She could sing, dance and had style. After a while, however, she disappeared and I have yet to see the video on T.V. again.
BoA “Eat You Up” video:
Months later I stumbled on a copy of The Village Voice, with Jin Young Park, a mega mogul in the Korean entertainment industry on the cover. I have to tell you, I was excited to see this, as I was intrigued by BoA and I wanted to learn more about the culture of K-Pop. The article talked about him trying to launch some of his artists in the states and hoping that he could get them to cross-over into the American music industry. I found his intentions commendable, but I wasn’t too happy with some of the training methods that were going down. It seemed to me that these artists were being manufactured as Asian Hip-Hop knock offs, trained by hip-hop choreographers and enduring singing lessons requiring them to learn English and listen to nothing but Beyonce, Usher, Mariah, Alicia Keys and Keisha Cole. When I told my friends about this, some of them were not pleased.
“Can’t we have something that is genuinely ours?” They demanded. One girl said that she detested the fact that artists feel the need to use hip-hop and R&B culture as a means to break into the industry, using “I can’t stand when [non-blacks] use what is typified as ‘black music,’ to get ahead. These Asians are doing the same thing.” While I tried to tell her that music knows no boundaries, I had to admit that she had a point. I watched videos of some boy bands singing Boys II Men, wearing baggy pants with backward caps, rapping Jay-Z and it left a jarring taste in the mouth.
Years later while mindlessly going through my tumblr dashboard, a girl I knew had a video of a Korean guy dancing. I asked who it was and she (being the K-Pop junkie that she is) pointed me in the right direction, full on with band names, music videos, and some of her favorite songs. And I must admit that while I felt like I was looking at hip-hop through an altered mirror, I found that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. The lyrics (mostly in Korean) are tamer than anything that’s being produced in Hip-hop and R&R at the moment and the beats are infectious. When I walk home from work listening to it on my MP3 player, all I hear and feel is the music. And while they do “borrow” a lot of Hip-Hop and R&B to draw in audience and influence listeners, one thing I HAVE to stress is that they’ve embraced something outside of their own (as I’ve been told) rigid culture and made it their own. I now find it a compliment that Koreans look to ‘black’ music culture and want to be a part of it. Groups like 2NE1 and BigBang have taken elements of hip-hop culture along with other pop culture elements and have dominated the pop charts in Korea and quite a few slots in my MP3 player.

Writing Prompt: Dream — I had a date with Big Bang

I figured that I would use some of my time on this blog as a means to get some of my self-imposed prompt writing done. I’ve gotten prompts from other places, such as this one but I was told by a friend that I need to try and write for a few minutes a day, just to keep the old brain moving. It’s super hard to do, especially since all my energy is usurped by my job, but I figured I’ll take a whack at it anyhow.

So what can I really write about today? Let’s see…I’m letting my mind roam, so let’s let it fall on the fact that I had a dream last night that I went out on a lunch/dinner date with the band members of Big Bang. If you don’t know who they are, it’s all gravy. I was recently put onto them by a girl I know, who’s in love with one of the members. Anyhow, I was on this date with the members and it was super awesome. We were at a mall and I was checking out clothes and they were just boys being boys. Some of them looked at me funny because…well I’m black and well…they’re Korean. It was a pretty big culture clash but at the same time it was okay. I was hanging around TOP a lot because I think he’s super cute and I would sneak in hugs and waist-holding moments from G-Dragon cause he’s uber adorable. He was like the friend you tell people is your ‘little brother’ because he’s cute and sweet and you don’t want other chicks to mess with him, but you yourself engage in somewhat “incestuous” behavior with him and then laugh it off by saying “he’s just a friend.”
Seung Ri or VI was getting a lot of attention too. He was seeking attention from me which I was more than willing to give. After all, he is the baby in the group and Taeyang was doing his job, being his little Korean pseudo Usher self. I went back and forth a lot between GD and TOP. It was sweet. They played my song Lollipop 2 and I danced with all of them, including Daesung who seemed the most nervous of them all. They all spoke in Korean, mainly looking in concern at me because once again- I was this random black girl that they were hanging out with. None of them for damn sure thought about getting with me, but I think I kissed one of them. And  nope, it didn’t start a romance. It was what it was. We went shopping, and that was extremely sweet because those boys have style for eons and I was just amazed at how they picked out hoodies and sneakers like stylist pros and um, we ate in the cafeteria where I taught them some English phrases and got hugs and smooches (on the cheek) here and there. I remember at one point someone decided to say something to fresh to me, in regards to me walking around with five dudes and TOP and Taeyang got a little defensive, but at the end of it all, we ended the day with hugs and kisses and me promising to come to Korea again and hang out because they were genuinely nice dudes.

For the first time in a long time I had a seemingly innocent dream about a bunch of cute guys. I did want to bang TOP though, I will not tell a lie. And I wouldn’t have mind practicing the art of making babies with GD, but out of Elo‘s loyalty to him and my own to someone I will just deem “the other one,” even in my dreams, I didn’t succumb to temptation. But that was my dream…