I had planned to stay away from this topic, but I was asked if I was going to do it and I have come to the conclusion that I should share my perspective. I believe this is the first time I must stress that this is my opinion with the facts currently know about this situation. I have no intention to insult anyone else’s opinion, so I ask my readers to calmly express themselves when the need comes up. “Diss battles” or a series of “diss tracks” released from artists targeting one another is nothing new. I did some research and found out these tracks have roots all the way back to satirical poems from medieval times. They basically started out as a “Just poking fun, so no hard feelings. Right?” situation and I would guess that the poet really didn’t mean to tear down the person they targeted. “Diss tracks” are commonly associated with the hip-hop genre and a part of rivalries in the same genre. The use of “diss tracks” are generally understood to be for publicity with fans of either artist choosing sides and even purchasing their artist’s CDs in a show of support. These rivalries can involve more than two sides as well. These “diss battles” are generally used to get attention for the artist and boost their sales. This can be different if the artists involved actually have a dislike or hatred for the artists they are targeting in their music or the situation escalated due to an artist who was not targeted getting involved. That basically means an artist got involved to “fan the flames” for whatever reason. I’m not a hip-hop historian (It does sound nice to say though), but I’m using what I have heard. This situation has come up before in South Korea as recent as last year, so “diss tracks” are not unseen in the Korean music industry. If such a conflict arises in the K hip-hop scene, then it’s not that big of a surprise. It might be surprising if a “diss track” crosses the line or seems to lack a base, but most fans would just watch to see how it ends. However, it does come as a surprise when it comes unprovoked and from a rookie to an experienced senior. This is the current situation with A.KOR’s Kemy and 2NE1’s Park Bom.
The K Hip-hop scene is susceptible to “diss battles” just like any other countries hip-hop scene. Fans of the pop or “mainstream” Kpop scene might not be aware of the genre and lump them together with the other Kpop groups when seeing them promote on music shows, but these artists do have a separate genre. A heated “diss battle” happened last year around July and it made itself very noticeable. Maybe the summer heat got to them? ><
[Source: Soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/n4e89qu
Let’s start with the “diss battle” that started last year before moving to A.KOR’s Kemy. The “diss battle” back in the summer of 2013 was apparently started with the release of a song called “Control” by an American hip-hop artist known as Big Sean with a verse by another American hip-hop artist called Kendrick Lamar. It’s interesting how easy it is for influence to travel across oceans, but that is the power of music. It’s unfortunate that is started something so negative, but opinions will vary. The song “Control” apparently had the verse by Kendrick Lamar that “put on blast”, which was met with responding tracks by those he had named in the verse. This inspired a K hip-hop artist known as ‘Swings’ to make a song called “King Swings”. It’s not the most modest name for a song, but it does get attention and that is key in this situation. It appears that ‘Swings’ felt Kendrick Lamar’s verse was a collection of “disses” to those he named, but some people said it was actually a call to those named for an improvement in their music. A “call to step up” as one person put it, but it was not interpreted that way by ‘Swings’ at all. The song “King Swings” apparently calls out a lot of K hip-hop artists in a manner that earned it the title of “diss track”. This cleared a path for E-Sens to make a song called “You Can’t Control Me”, which targeted Gaeko and Amoeba Culture. Amoeba Culture was E-Sens former home, until he left on July 19, 2013. I don’t believe they left on bad terms, but making a “diss track” that targets your former label after you just left it brings up that possibility. According to a Soompi.com article, E-Sens accused Gaeko of “being fake and a sellout, while describing his treatment during and after his contract with Amoeba Culture.” That last part implies E-Sens did not have positive feelings while at Amoeba Culture or it could be an exaggeration for the sake of the song. The main point is that they got targeted, but soon announced they were not getting involved as a company to combat the song or its implied claims.
There is no rule for a “diss battle”, so any artist can come back into the “battle of words”, even if no one responded to them or targeted them. ‘Swings’ decided to release a follow up to his song “King Swings”, which he called “King Swings Part 2” and this song targeted artists ‘Ugly Duck’ and Simon D. This song is known for getting to the “name calling” soon after beginning and he accused Simon D of selling out, which had negative side effects on his former partner E-Sens. I don’t know if he is implying that E-Sens ended up suffering under Amoeba Culture , which might have a connection to the break up of their team “Supreme Team” and him leaving the company. This song is also known for the second half containing a lot of English, which the same Soompi.com article states was for his “English-speaking listeners”. Gaeko decided to respond to E-Sens in a blunt manner with his song called “I Can Control You” (Do you see what he did there? Okay then) and it drew on E-Sens’ marijuana scandal from the previous year. I guess there a no “low blows” among K hip-hop artists. I don’t know how it works, but this is apparently what one must be ready for if they start a “diss battle”. Gaeko used that scandal to call out E-Sens’ “selfishness, immaturity, and unprofessionalism. ” There are a few more back and forth moments afterwards, but this “battle” is not the main point of the article, so I’ll move on to the end. Eventually artists like Zion T. and Tarae expressed their desire to see the “diss war” end. It surely does seem like there were some personal agendas involved, but some of the artists involved still talk to each other and “diss wars” are just a part of life for them. It might not be common, but hip-hop artists seem to be ready for the possibility at any time.
The main difference between that “diss battle” and the situation with A.KOR’s Kemy is that Park Bom is considered a part of the mainstream pop genre, which is accompanied by her position as 2NE1’s main vocalist. If Kemy had targeted CL, then it is likely that fans might not be as outraged. Of course there are fans who will be outraged at any attack on their idol group, but is it hard to understand when the targeted group is not a K hip-hop group? That might be a factor.
[Source: Soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/mzcv5lt
Of course I am a Blackjack and this news made me very angry when I heard it. Many of us know Park Bom (Bommie) as a kind, gentle person with a sweet personality. It does not appear to take much to make Bommie cry and that image rushes into our heads when we see an insult heading her way. It’s a natural protectiveness a dedicated fan has to their idol, which is understandable. I believe my initial reaction was a fair one, which was a condemning of Kemy’s disrespectful action and confusion about why she would target Bommie at all. Some people feel she is going after her competition from the start, but that doesn’t quite make sense. 2NE1 is not the only girl group in Kpop and they are not even a K Hip-hop group. 2NE1 is known for having hip-hop elements in their songs and YG Entertainment (YGE) is known for its embracing of hip-hop culture. However, 2NE1 has a combination of pop, hip-hop, R&B, electropop and other genres. I mentioned above that Kemy’s main target was a factor in the outrage because a “diss battle” generally involves rappers and Park Bom is not a rapper. You don’t even get the vibe of a rapper from her and she doesn’t give off the attitude of a diva either, so most outraged Blackjacks saw the “diss track” as an attack on a person who could not fight back. The other factor in the outrage were the lyrics in the “diss track” about Park Bom. Gaeko’s response to E-Sens brought up his past marijuana scandal to point out negative character traits, which is similar to what Kemy tried to do with Park Bom’s past drug scandal. The difference begins with the previously stated fact that Gaeko and E-Sens are K hip-hop artists and one attacked the other before a response was given back. Park Bom never attacked Kemy with a “diss track”, which is also accompanied by the fact that A.KOR debuted no more than two weeks ago. They just debuted and their rapper has already caused an issue or is it an opportunity? That is one of the key points of those condemning the outraged Blackjacks. Those people point out that this is for publicity and A.KOR’s label (Doo Republic) would have to had seen the song to let it pass. This is not a song that Kemy uploaded on a personal YouTube account or spread on a forum. This is an official song by Kemy, which means the label knew about its contents. The Kpop market is flooded with groups that are just debuting and already in existence for years. Veteran idol groups like “g.o.d” and “Fly to the Sky” recently made comebacks, so competition can suddenly appear from any direction. You either stand out or you get left behind, so publicity stunts are not unexpected from new groups. However, Kemy’s actions cross a line that should have been left alone.
An interesting note about this “diss track” is that it does not name Park Bom in the song, but the lyrics could not make it more obvious aside from actually naming her. Lyrics like “You’re weak and you fell into drugs.
Did the drugs fall into the jelly box? Who glanced over the 4 pills that disappeared? Since when were the prosecutors so nice?” clearly point to Park Bom’s past drug scandal, which was brought up again recently. Also, lyrics like “It must be nice for your fans to cover you up. I’m jealous that your CEO writes a novel for you. You set fire on your Roommate friends, and they must feel chaotic, because the corn exploded. You’ll hide behind your influential label and then come back when it gets quiet.” clearly point to YGE’s letter explaining Bommie’s prescription for the medication, Blackjacks defending her in an instant and her involvement with the SBS variety show “Roommate”. The issue for my condemning of Kemy’s actions come from the fact that she is reported as 17 and new to the Korean music industry. That makes Park Bom her senior in more than one way and her “diss track” is extremely rude to her senior. One person on a forum pointed out that SNSD is a big competitor for 2NE1 and they never did such a thing. Members of SNSD have even mentioned respecting 2NE1 and both groups appear to get along just fine. That debunks the “taking on her competition angle”, which was never a good defense from the start. Gaeko, E-Sens and the other K hip-hop artists from the “battle” last year had been in the industry a while and they were not far from each other in age. That is an important factor this time for me and other people as well. A.KOR just debuted and this is a poor way to get attention. Maybe their “Payday” MV has gotten some more views since this situation started, but the views are dismal compared to many other Korean MVs, the dislikes vastly outnumber the likes and the comments are filled with obvious negativity. What makes this situation worse is that hate is now being directed to the other members of ‘A.KOR’, who might not have supported such an action at all. The other members might not have known at all, but the final decision would be in the hands of the label. This “diss track” also leaves a bad impression in the eyes of other industry officials. Kemy went for a big target, which means many people find out about it in a small amount of time. Some people feel the publicity will be good no matter what the outrage seems like now, but one must remember that there are entertainers that will remember this and view A.KOR in a negative light. This could hurt them in the long run and maybe draw “diss tracks” towards them, which the group might not be ready for as a whole. There is no guarantee the other members would be able to handle “diss tracks” back at them, so Kemy might have “opened Pandora’s Box” in a sense. I don’t believe Kemy’s choice will help A.KOR in the long run and that might hurt their success overall.
K-netizens can be an odd bunch when it comes to scandals and controversies. Often called “Keyboard Warrior” for their constant typing to express their (often biased) opinions and clashing with other netizens online. K-netizens in this situation have opinions as well, but condemned Park Bom’s stylist for interfering in the situation. This seems quite hypocritical as K-netizens interfere by expressing their opinions as well. Some people call it a “double standard”, but I just call it “stupid”.
[Source: Soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/qa5rgnv
The reason K-netizens might have told Park Bom’s stylist to stay out of the situation was because she is not a random person hiding behind a computer screen. She is an employee of YG Entertainment, which means her opinion could contain bias and it is not her battle to fight. The quote in a Soompi.com article showed the K-netizens saying ” it wasn’t a fight for a third party to interfere in, and that the post was rash”. A rash post from a third party in a Kpop controversy is nothing new and K-netizens do it on a daily basis, so that would have been a sign for me to ignore them. However, the post and the Instagram account it was on were deleted shortly after criticism came her way. It was probably her way of agreeing to stay out of it and support Bommie in a private manner. Of course screenshots were captured before that and they can be found all over the internet, including right here. According to Soompi.com, the post the stylist made said “Look at everyone and their grandmother saying that they’re doing hip hop and throwing out diss tracks. The ink on your ID card hasn’t even dried yet, and look at you speaking informally to someone who is a huge senior to you. You’ve got some nerve. It’s like you want to retire right after your debut. If you want to diss someone, do it when you’re on their level.” This essentially says that A.KOR’s Kemy has just debuted and yet she is already putting out tracks that insult another person who is a senior of many years to her. The last part is probably not serious, but it mentions her being able to do such a thing when she is on the level of Park Bom in terms of seniority. This can never happen as both artists can not be at the same level of seniority since they debuted so far apart. That would require breaking some law of time and maybe space, so that option is out. The main focus of the post is that Kemy’s action was rude and that has been my point from the start. “Diss tracks” appear to be nothing more than rude attempts to get attention, when they are not childish squabbles between artists in the public eye. Some rappers might feel it is a natural part of the hip-hop culture, but insulting your senior with no personal reason to do so is pathetic in my eyes. This is a clear attempt at attention using news that has passed or been explained already. It was very foolish to target such a big group too. YG Entertainment is known as “YG Family” and the fandoms are often known to band together when presented with a common enemy, which is not uncommon to see in human behavior. YG fandoms banding together also happens to support each other and that is also happening now. Various YG fandoms are gathering to condemn A.KOR’s Kemy through deeming her disrespectful and requesting an apology, which is what Blackjacks like myself are doing and even creating “diss tracks” back at Kemy. That is just like trying to put out fire with more fire to me, but I won’t bother them. They are being creative, but some of them are just as hurtful with a collection of fans who are going too far in my eyes.
There will always be the extreme fans who do not control their emotions or even want to take the “high ground” in moments like these. It would defeat Kemy’s goal in more than one way if fans ignored the “diss track” and shrugged off Kemy, but some people just have to respond over and over again. I have only stated how disrespectful I found Kemy and her “diss track”, which I deemed a foolish act for the target she chose as well. Some people are choosing to insult Kemy right back with mocking lyrics about her appearance and lack of fans. I believe “two wrongs don’t make a right”, but I have heard Kemy merely put out a “Thanks” that I cannot confirm. If it is true, then it only means Kemy has yet to see how seriously disrespectful some people have found her actions and she is content with her track’s purpose. Now this action can come back to hurt her career, such as it being brought up by an MC during a time when the group or Kemy is well known. An MC can even save their facts from this event for a time when the group or Kemy is going through a big scandal/controversy and use it to case more drama, which could have terrible consequences during such a time. One never knows, which is why people are advised to be very careful about what they do. This is even more true for public figures, which Kemy became upon her debut. The reactions I do not agree with and condemn are the death threats. These always show up from extreme fans who have no control of their emotions and perhaps are emotionally unstable in their everyday life. They could even be sasaengs, which would not surprise me at all. Every fandom has them, so there is no point in denying it. Some fandoms do a better job of controlling or stopping them, but death threats are a tactic that is usually associated with the obsessive sasaengs. Such actions are terrible either way and I am ashamed people would even speak of such a thing. Something to note is that some people cause trouble under the guise of a Blackjack or they are automatically labeled one by people who see them condemning Kemy. I do not believe a true Blackjack resorts to such tactics, but that is how I choose to see my fandom. I only wish for Kemy to apologize for her disrespectful actions and reflect to become a better person. It would appear such “diss tracks” do have a place in the music world, but I do not believe Kemy has found that place yet. Some people may believe this means she should not have to apologize, but I believe so and I am not alone. In the end, the “diss track” was unprovoked and a rude way to introduce herself to the music world. I do hope everyone can calmly express their opinions on the matter from now and I sincerely hope Kemy realizes such music is not necessary to become a good hip-hop artist. Her actions have consequences that affect other people as well. Kemy needs to think before she acts or A.KOR might end up suffering for her actions in the long run.
*This is a Twitter petition (Twitition) for a formal apology to be made from A.KOR’s Kemy: http://twitition.com/v96ul
Here is A.KOR’s debut MV “Payday” with all I mentioned above.
This is the currently “infamous diss track” from A.KOR’s Kemy concerning Park Bom.
Of course, I also have some Park Bom for everyone too. ^^