Bobby Kim Is Back with Soulful Second Album

      December 09, 2006 11:32

      Bobby Kim

      Hip-hop musician Bobby Kim brought 10 years of obscurity to an end when "Dream of a Whale" blew up the charts two years ago. But his long cooped-up passion was only finally set free in December 2006. "Follow Your Soul," which is released on Dec. 11, is a masterpiece that overflows with his exceptional sound quality and compositional skill.

      As a first-generation rapper in Korea, he has the nickname "rap grandpa," but this time he appeals purely through song. "It can be called Korean soul," he says. "I just wanted to do songs that contain the flavor of people."

      The timbre of his husky high notes, the subtle vibrato all blending into finely tuned vital masterwork are the artist's own, but the lilting trumpet lines interspersed in the tracks are Kim Young-geun's work. Bobby Kim's father is a master himself, who was famous throughout the 60s and 70s. Bobby too began his musical life with the trumpet.

      When Bobby was just two years old, his father proclaimed that he was going to get recognition in the native land of trumpet playing and headed to the U.S. where the family lived for 18 years.

      "In middle school, I was one of the best at trumpet in the school, but my father never stopped his opposition to the idea, so I had no choice but to quit," Kim recalls. "I guess that it was because he knew just how hard it was to lead a musician's life." Bobby's father kept the pot boiling by running a clothing store and a restaurant. But when Bobby came of high school age, he was so into hip-hop and reggae music that even his father could not hold him back any more.

      After returning to Korea in 1992, he was a member of Dr. Reggae but failed to gain special attention. Throughout the 90s he was in obscurity, a time during which he says he climbed up Mt. Dobong in northern Seoul every day and practiced vocalization for an hour. So at that time, did he grow a lot musically? The answer comes in slightly awkward Korean, "I'm sure I did. Whenever I got back home, my parents looked at me with pity, it was almost too hard to stand. But the reason why I couldn't give up is because music was the only remedy for the hurt that I felt. It's kind of ironic that I encountered the hardship because of music but could only be cured by music at the same time."

      About his voice he said, stretching his arms out on both sides, "Isn't it like a bird that flies low but freely?" The wings of his dream still haven't stopped growing.

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