May 24, 2012 09:47
Hip-hop used to be considered minority music in Korea, but it now ranks among mainstream tastes as the country remains surprisingly open to Western culture and influences. Among those artists who have contributed to both its popularization and localization, Korean-American Tiger JK (38) and Yoon Mi-rae (31) stand at the head of the pack.
The two have carved successful careers as solo singers, with Tiger JK leading the acclaimed hip-hop group Drunken Tiger, and Yoon performing simply as T. They have also joined forces to become a hit hip-hop duo, capable of dominating the stage with their powerful and high-energy performances. Incidentally, they are also a happily married couple.
Now the dynamic duo is hitting the world stage to showcase the best of Korean hip-hop at Music Matters, Asia's largest music business conference that is held annually in Singapore. This year's event, which wraps up this week, is being staged at popular drinking and dining hot spot Clarke Quay.
The couple is set to perform along with Clazzi, MIB, Bizzy and K-pop stars such as boy band BTOB on Thursday night. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Creative Contents Agency planned the event in an attempt to introduce various K-pop genres to a broader audience.
"When I think that I'll be representing Korea, it feels a little stressful. But I'm going to try and push that aside, enjoy the event to the fullest and make the stage my own," said Yoon.
The husband and wife are already recognized as global hip-hop musicians. Tiger JK has been named among the 10 Hot International Hip-Hop Artists You Need to Know by U.S. music magazine Rolling Out, while Yoon was included on the list of the world's top 12 female rappers by MTV.
Due to its heavy lyric-driven content, however, there are concerns that the language barrier may prevent those who can't speak Korean from enjoying the music. Tiger JK said the spread of the Korean Wave has already proved this isn't the case. "The K-pop craze proves that language barriers don't matter," he said.
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