KCON 2017 NY’s ‘M! Countdown’ Day 1 Concert Recap

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Almost exactly one year since it last hit the Prudential Center in New Yorks’s metropolitan area, KCON 2017 NY presented by Toyota returned once again this past weekend (June 23 and 24) for another two nights of star-studded M! Countdown performances. The Day 1 concert had rookie groups KNK and SF9 dancing on the same stage as the veteran “super rookie” group Highlight. Meanwhile hip-hop and R&B soloist Zion T. and girl group GFriend added diversity to the forever testosterone and pop-heavy lineup.

For some of the artists, it was their first time performing stateside altogether. But for all, their participation marked their debut onto the annual cross-cultural East Coast music festival scene that continues to bring the most devoted Hallyu fans out in droves. Not soon after concert goers filed in to occupy the arena seating and pit to catch the preshow – a fan dance battle moderated by special guest and former U-Kiss member Kevin Woo – had it been already time for the main event of the night. At promptly 7:30 PM, the show kicked off with its trademark “Let’s KCON” motto.

Also on Kultscene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Ascending in front of a very fitting backdrop of nebulae and celestial bodies, the vertically superior KNK opened with their most recent single “Sun, Moon, Star,” a song which they later explained was about broken up lovers. The quintet delivered the anguish that such a song demands, and decked out in resplendent white suits, they looked and sounded like they were not only a year into their careers. This only became apparent once they moved on from their debut song “Knock” straight into their already final track “Day N Night,” reminding audiences that their discography still has room to grow. The latter is a personal favorite, and since it was never promoted as a single, was a pleasant surprise to their terse setlist. I think lead rapper Heejun was doing all of us a public good when he put up his own mic to lead vocalist Youjin when he hit that high note during the bridge.

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It really would not be a KCON without its collaborative stages, and this year seemed to have been Broadway musical-themed (a tip of the hat to good ol’ New York City) as Yuju of GFriend and Dongwoon of Highlight united in a rendition of Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time.” It was definitely an oicwydt moment seeing the gorgeous GFriend member work in perfect harmony with the former “Beast” member. The no-frills duet relied solely on their immaculate vocals, all the while keeping the number subdued without sounding boring.

Up next was SF9, a boy group who I admittedly made the mistake of overlooking going into the concert. From the moment they set the venue aflame with their latest song “Easy Love,” the amount of proud fans clothed in unofficial merchandise and holding up support banners for the group who have not even seen their one year anniversary yet just made sense. The first real “dance” group coming out of FNC Entertainment, an agency typically known for their favoritism towards bands in the truest sense of the word, they did not disappoint. How they are able to execute their razor-sharp choreography without sound breathy is still beyond me, and after seeing the nine-piece group perform in the flesh, I can affirm that the aphorism about how one does not learn to appreciate a song until it is done live was about SF9.

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Not only that, the SF9 boys also proved that they are kings of fanservice when three members serenaded and competed for a girl indiscriminately chosen from the general audience. Poor girl seemed torn between her suitors, so the proposal ended in a draw. Despite this, the group managed to reel back into full performance mode, completing their set with their debut single “Fanfare,” followed by “Roar.”

The girl group representatives of the night, GFriend (sans Yerin who had individual schedules overseas), made their entrance with a powerful dance break in their signature uniformed-inspired look, compensating for KCON’s serious dearth of female acts. They continued the trend of opening with the most recent single and plunged right into disco and synth blend hit “Fingertip.” An exciting song to match the equally high-spirited mood.

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Unfortunately, as the proceeding “Navillera” transitioned into “Me Gustas Tu” into “Rough,” the rest of their set felt a little like one mega ditty playing up the naiveté of youth rather than three separate and unique songs. Not hating the high school concept trilogy, it’s just that a better setlist that showcased greater variety or another song inter-spliced between the ones could have avoided this misfortune. That aside, audiences still received kindly to the more than stable vocals, synchronized dances, and charms of these girl crushes.

It’s always interesting to see how a solo artist can manage to keep the momentum of crowds going, and with no group dynamic to fall back on, the pressure is certainly on. But Zion.T, draped in what looks like could be his dad’s baggy suit and traipsing his way towards a grand piano, exuded pure professionalism and cool, calm collectedness not witnessed in other acts seen thus far. There, he introduced “Complex,” before moving onto “The Song” off of the same OO album. He already impresses with his distinct voice and frictionless croons, but when he brings out his inner rapper as well, he’s just being unfair.

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The man also displayed a subtle sense of humor when he inquired if audiences knew his penultimate song for the night, “Eat” (“you know, like yum, yum, yum eat?”). Unsurprisingly, he closed with the iconic “Yanghwa Bridge,” a sluggish track that is perfect for not only evening commutes home, but also for bringing together a group of disparate peoples in chorus. Not a single person in attendance was not singing either “haengbokhaja” (“Let’s be happy”) or “apeuji malgo” (“Don’t be sick”) of the lyrics’ sweet words to his family. Zion.T’s strength lies in the fact that his slow-tempo songs always have those couple of phrases that are easy to follow along, guaranteeing audience participation. He knows this too as he played conductor, and took advantage of the whole extended stage. Only Zion.T could ever do what Zion.T does best.

The show could have concluded right then, and everyone would have been okay with it, however it did not. SF9 reappeared onto the stage for an unexpected special performance of EXO’s “Call Me Baby” and BTS’s “Boy in Luv,” which was probably KCON’s way of saying “Hey, I know we could not give you guys the two hottest K-pop groups at the moment, but here’s a cover.” In any event, audiences welcomed the familiar tunes and dances in vociferous cheers.

Also on Kultscene: KCON 2016 NY’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Rounding off the first night was finally Highlight, who hit the ground running with “Plz Don’t Be Sad.” Outfitted in white long coats with personalized names on the back (Dongwoo’s appropriately had “Guapo” monogrammed), they had as much fun with the performance as audiences did dancing along to the ridiculously fun hook. It was not even their last song, but streamers already rained down as if it was. Though “Calling You,” the group’s most recent release, was another obvious pick, it felt lowkey and paled in comparison to the former song. I would rather they have traded it out for “Can You Feel It?,” the eponymous track off of their first album post-rebranding, which would have offered tighter cohesion considering the other dance songs of the headliner’s setlist. That, and I just would have really like to see “Can You Feel It?” live once, you know?

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After exhausting their narrow discography as Highlight, the second generational group moved older fans with “Yey,” one of their more underrated bops that had the crowd on their feet even if they did not agree in the fine workmanship that went into producing the EDM track. They dug back further in their bag of tricks to also unveil the 2014 hit “Good Luck” and 2012 summer anthem “Beautiful Night,” which best describes what the evening was after their stellar performances. They had nothing but their fans in mind as they switched between their parts and tossing out plushies and taking selfies with the phones of some lucky individuals. A personal aside, but it brings me immense joy to know that a group that was once upon a time my first bias group still got it. Beast or Highlight, this is a band that simply knows what it takes to put on a show.

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And like that, the night had finished without a hitch. Though Day One of the two-part event was now officially over, there was still a Day Two to go to. While fans were entertained by the mirthful pop songs, intricate choreography, and earnest attempts at communication of the artists, they were already looking forward to what was in store for the upcoming day. After all, what better way to fill the void left behind by post-concert depression than with another concert?

Did you attend KCON 17 NY? What’s your favorite KCON artist? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Inside KCON 2017 Mexico [photos]

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Curtesy of CJ E&M

Given the brand’s success in Los Angeles and New York, expectations were at an all time high for KCON 2017 Mexico — the first in not only the country, but also in all of Latin America. While most first installments of KCON in a new country last one single day, the convention and M! Countdown concert were held at the Mexico City Arena for two days, Mar. 16 and 17, and saw 33,000 attendees. And how could the turnout not be this big when the convention portion was free and the concert roster included BTS, Monsta X, Red Velvet, NCT 127, Eric Nam, EXID, Astro, and INFINITE H? They were aiming big and hit it big.

Being the first year, KCON 2017 Mexico did not run perfectly. But the lows most certainly did not overshadow the highs. There’s a lot of room for improvement, of course, but KCON Mexico probably started out more smoothly than its LA and NY counterparts. The convention was small and held little events, but at each one, fans enjoyed the most out of them.


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by Alejandro Abarca

Since the concerts would be held at the Mexico City Arena, the convention had to be held somewhere closeby. And like early KCON LAs, the convention took place at the top floor of the venue’s parking lot. Unfortunately, this didn’t make for the most accessible nor spacious. The line to get into the convention circled the actual arena and lead up about three flights of stairs. Moreover, most of the vendors were cramped together. It did work, however, given that there was no other space available around that could fit a convention of this size.

The vendors, though limited, carried everything a K-pop fan would want to buy. From popular K-beauty brands like Tony Moly and CJ IMC, to local stores selling K-pop merch. The food options were also scarce, but it covered the all basics like kimbap, topokki, mandu, and diverse dessert options.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Viki and DramaFever were also both there, offering freebies and fun games to the attendees. The dance workshop space was big, which was ideal, especially when popular YouTubers Jun Curry Ahn and JRE went on stage to learn the choreography for BTS’ “Not Today.”

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by Alejandro Abarca

Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Panels & Workshops

Panels and workshops were also scarce, with only one tent dedicated to each. But as aforementioned, this was the first installment of KCON Mexico, so it’s expected.

What wasn’t expected, however, is the fans reactions to popular YouTubers and influencers. Fans coming out of the fan engagements crying and huddling with each other to share their fan cams were a common sight, and it’s something that happens a lot in KCON LA and NY too. In Mexico though, fans would cry, scream, and follow all the YouTubers on panels and workshops like if they were idols themselves.

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by Alejandro Abarca

During KenroVlogs’ panel, fans crowded the small stage and stood on the chairs to get the best look at him. Other fans waited outside the panelists’ lounge, waiting for JRE, and Jun Curry Ahn, and pretty much everyone who might be inside, chanting their names, hoping they come outside. And they did. Sometimes.

Viki hosted a couple of panels throughout both days centered on the contrast between the Mexican and Korean cultures — with a K-drama focus, of course. A few of their Mexican subbers talked about their experiences working for them and about their favorite dramas. They also talked about the disparity of them with Mexican telenovelas. Fans during the questions portion largely called them “vulgar” and non-creative, and expressed their desire for a much needed revamp. DramaFever, for their part, also hosted a workshop with one of the stars of their drama Oh My Grace, which they produced.

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by Alejandro Abarca

On another panel, Mexican YouTubers Double Trouble en Corea came all the way from Korea for the event and were also received by many passionately screaming fans who wanted to take pictures with them. For their panel, the sister duo disproved a lot of myths that fans have about living in Korea and K-pop idols. They also talked about what they most miss about Mexico and the Korean amenities and lifestyle options they can no longer live without (namely, the fast internet).

Red Carpet

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by Alejandro Abarca

A classic portion of every KCON is the red carpet, when all the artists performing that night come out to quickly greet fans and the media in their best outfits right before the show. However, in recent years, it’s become the place to see the SM Entertainment artists up close, given that they don’t have fan engagement events (or at least not since EXO and f(x) at KCON LA 2013).

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by Alejandro Abarca

Compared to other KCONs in LA and NY, the red carpet in Mexico was rushed, but at the same time, the artists were so spaced out among them that the MC, Korean Lover Joon, often ran out of things to say to the audience. Each artist answered around one question or two from the MC, posed rapidly for the cameras and fans, and then left. The concerts didn’t start until an hour and a half or two after the end of the red carpet, so maybe they needed to eat? Rest? Who knows…

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by Alejandro Abarca

Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

Viki Event

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by Alejandro Abarca

After KCON 2017 Mexico ended, Viki held an almost secret K-drama and K-pop party on Mar. 18 at Coffee KKot. Fans who were lucky enough to cop a free ticket were treated to breakfast and coffee, plus a bunch of K-pop and K-drama related games. Not to mention some of the most screamed after YouTubers at KCON like Latina Saram and KenroVlogs hosted mini fan meets, where fans got to take pictures with them and win awesome prizes.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Check out the rest of the pictures from KCON 2017 Mexico, including all the red carpet ones.

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Have you ever attended any of the KCONs around the world? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 2 Concert Recap

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by Alejandro Abarca

When KCON arrives in a new city for the first time, they generally hold just one concert night. Not in Mexico City, though. For the inaugural installment, KCON 2017 Mexico hosted two M! Countdown shows. And while more fans showed up the day prior to support BTS, concertgoers there to see Monsta X, Red Velvet, Astro, INFINITE H, and Eric Nam (yes, again!) also witnessed an awesome show on Mar. 18.

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by Alejandro Abarca

The pre-show kicked off just like previous installments of KCON in the US have, with a performance of violinist and YouTuber Jun Curry Ahn. This time around he played Crush’s “Beautiful,” which is the OST for the drama Goblin. He also played BTS’ “Spring Day.”

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by Alejandro Abarca

The first artist up for the second and last night of KCON Mexico was Astro, who started out their set with “Breathless.” Their stage’s graphics were a huge pop of color, which complemented their concept perfectly, as well as their songs. And other than singing “Only You” and a ballad, they performed “Should’ve Held On,” revealing that it was the first time they’d perform the song.

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by Alejandro Abarca

For KCON Mexico’s second night, Eric Nam came back to serve primarily as the official MC. But after Astro, Red Velvet’s Irene and Seulgi came out to present the next performers: fellow member Wendy and Eric. The singers performed their SM Station song “Sweet Love,” and said it was the first time they’d performed it together. This performance lead to Eric’s solo performance, which meant that, though not officially announced, he performed both KCON nights. And even if he didn’t deliver a full set, he performed “Can’t Help Myself” and “Heaven’s Door,” which he didn’t do the previous night. For the latter’s performance, however, he didn’t have a guest rapper to stand in for Loco this time and just danced through it.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Cutely struggling through her Spanish lines, Wendy served as the MC for this portion of the show and introduced the next performer, Monsta X. A highly anticipated performance of the night, the group’s set started out with Jooheon and IM’s fiery rendition of “That’s My Future.” This perfectly set the pace for their entire set, because that’s what a Monsta X performance is: lit. The rest of the members joined the rappers on stage and delved into “Fighter,” “Trespass,” and “Hero.”

And just like the first night, the “Piñata Time” segment made a comeback. Before the piñata spun, Monsta X were cracking jokes and stating their preference for the outcomes. Jooheon proudly declared, “I like kiss time,” in English. The winning mission, however, was love song, to which they sang “White Sugar.” But their performance had to end on a high note with just as much power as they’d started so they ended with “All In,” much to the delight of screaming fangirls at the mere sight of their exposed abs.

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by Alejandro Abarca

KCON Mexico had a sudden 180 degree switch up as the stage went from dark and manly-looking to an explosion of color and quirky graphics. Red Velvet sans Joy, who went back to Korea after their performance at SXSW in Texas for her drama shooting, immediately went into “Rookie” and “Dumb Dumb.” After this, the group gave — or at least attempted to — their greeting to the audience, but they were caught off guard an intense furor from the fans who chanted their names and screamed at the top of their lungs. The four girls looked both surprised and touched by the reception. They weren’t even the headliners but their fans had shown up in large numbers to support them.

This segued into “Piñata Time,” where their winning mission was “photo time.” Red Velvet gave the crowd many cute poses which, again, were received with loud approval. To close their set, the group’s final song was “Russian Roulette.” Even missing a member, Red Velvet did not miss a step or note, and covered Joy’s position in the choreographies.

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by Alejandro Abarca

One of the key elements of every KCON M! Countdown show are always the special stages. Eric talked about the massive popularity K-dramas have in Mexico, and mentioned a few of the most popular there. This talk lead to the aforementioned special stage. Singing “Beautiful” from the most popular drama in Mexico Goblin, Monsta X’s Kihyun gave an ethereal rendition of Crush’s heartfelt song.

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by Alejandro Abarca

hoya infinite h kcon mexico 2017

by Alejandro Abarca

The last act of the night was INIFINITE’s rap line subgroup Infinite H. Their set started out with a video message from the rest of the members both introducing the duo and apologizing for not being there as a whole. As the video ended, a few purple spotlights appeared and Hoya came out with an interpretive dance rendition of Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.” Dongwoo followed up, together with their dancers, dancing to a Bruno Mars song.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Also on KultScene: 5 Fave Moments from Giriboy & Blacknut’s San Francisco Show

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by Alejandro Abarca

Infinite H kicked off their set with their latest release “Pretty,” which the audience waved their hands and sang along to. Even though the crowd didn’t know all of their songs, they still danced and swayed to “Without U” and “Special Girl.” Moreover, all the fangirls squealed with “Sorry I’m Busy,” one of their most rap heavy songs, to which they delivered plenty of body rolls.

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by Alejandro Abarca

And with that, the concert came to a close. Unlike the previous night, all the groups and Eric came out to wave the crowds goodbye. The INFINITE H members danced and grooved to other group’s songs, especially Monsta X. Astro, for their part, sang along to Red Velvet’s “Rookie” while pointing at themselves for being the super rookies they are. The all held hands and bowed out as millions of confetti dropped upon the audience. Most groups exited the stage after a short while, but INFINITE H stayed back to keep dancing and hug each other and deliver plenty of fan service.

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by Alejandro Abarca

Considering it was the first installment, KCON Mexico surely delivered. They brought A-list groups who delivered top notch performances. Eric Nam deserves extra kudos for his Spanish skills, and Red Velvet gets an A for effort. INFINITE H and Monsta X gave their all in their choreographies, as did Red Velvet, whilst melting fanboys and girls’ hearts. And, of course, Astro made us cringe from the cuteness, proving to be a fun group to stan.

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by Alejandro Abarca

KCON Mexico ended setting the bar high. Higher than Los Angeles and New York did in their first installments, that’s for sure. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s show, as well as the upcoming LA and NY conventions. KCON Mexico set the tone for an awesome year and we can’t wait for the US KCONs this summer.

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by Alejandro Abarca

What’s your favorite KCON Mexico act? Tell us what you think in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Fave Moments from Giriboy & Blacknut’s San Francisco Show

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On Mar. 25, Korean hip-hop stars, Giriboy and Blacknut came to San Francisco and conquered the stage at one of the hottest night clubs, The Grand. Giriboy and Blacknut first gained international fame when they joined the cast of Korea’s Number one hip-hop show Show Me The Money and have been making waves ever since. Although the concert didn’t start until midnight, the dance floor was filled with fans hours before the show who were ready to party with their favorite Korean rappers! The whole show was amazing but here are some of our favorite moments.

The Club Atmosphere

The room was jammed packed with people and bright lights, with the DJ playing the latest hits as confetti fell from the ceiling. It was the perfect environment for the energetic duo that was about to hit the stage. By the time the opening talent for the K Hip Hop Fest started, the crowd was already wild!

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Also on KultScene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

Giriboy’s Stealthiness

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The Grand, although big, offered a very intimate stage where fans were just a couple feet away from the performers. Since there were VIP tables all around the stage, all of the opening rappers were up there hanging out and having a good time when, although there was a very clear route to the stage, Giriboy seemed to appear out of thin air. Everyone gasped and then yelled ‘Giriboy!’ once they realized he was on stage. His presence commanded the room and just like the best things in life, he appeared out of nowhere and was gone quicker than we could imagine.

Blacknut’s Antics: ‘My name is GD’

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Blacknut’s antics were everything we could dream of and more! When he came on stage, the amount of energy he brought with him was intense. The whole crowd was so hyped! However, nothing could prepare us for what he had in store. As Blacknut started his set he introduced himself by saying “Hi, my name is GD… Ladies, if you think I’m hot just throw me your bra!”


Also on KultScene: 5 Reasons To Watch “Unnies Slam Dunk Season 2”

That Giriboy/Blacknut Duo!

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When Giriboy said ‘last song’, the whole crowd was sad. But that quickly ended as we received a pleasant surprise: the beginning of Blacknut’s set and the night’s hottest collaboration. The pair put on an amazing performance of the Giriboy classic “Rain Showers,” which got the whole crowd going crazy!

Blacknut Shirtless: No Musele

 No that is not a typo. Blacknut continued to surprise us as the night went on. The most unforgettable moment was when he took off his shirt and revealed his bare skin with a special message on his abs, ‘No Musele.’ Even if you don’t have any muscles, Blacknut, we still love you!

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What’s your favorite Giriboy and/or Blacknut song? Tell us what you think in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

Expectations were at an all time high for the day one concert of the inaugural KCON 2017 Mexico — the first in Latin America, no less. The night of Mar. 17, KCON Mexico-goers were treated to a sold out M! Countdown show on Mar. 17 at the Mexico City Arena. This time around, the performers were BTS, Eric Nam, EXID, and NCT 127. There was even a surprise special stage by day two performer Astro.

Kicking off the night at 7:30 p.m., the pre-show began with an opening performance by the Korean Cultural Center in Mexico City with a rendition of traditional Korean drum music and was MC-ed by Joon, a Korean presenter who works in Mexican media. Shortly after, the official M! Countdown began and fans — who had already been screaming and wailing every time a song played over the speakers during the wait– went into a frenzy. For the intro, every group came out to wave at the crowds. Eric Nam, who has proven his Spanish speaking skills in After School Club before, served as the official MC.

In a weird twist of events, instead of having rookie group NCT 127 open KCON 2017 Mexico’s concert, it was actually BTS. Storming on stage, the septet opened their set with their latest single “Not Today,” then slowed things down with “Spring Day.” Army’s, BTS’ fandom, presence was definitely palpable in the Arena, given that their furor was felt throughout the rest of the group’s performances with “Save Me,” “Blood Sweat Tears,” and the perfect closer “Fire.”

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

For KCON Mexico, groups played a game called “Piñata Time,” where essentially a cartoon piñata spun on the screens and landed on a specific mission the artists must do. BTS’ landed on “kiss,” prompting Jin to blow kisses at the cameras, and then “photo time.” For the latter, the members told the fans to pull up their cameras and then proceeded to make a series of poses — cute, thumbs up, and finger hearts — for them.

After the performance, Eric Nam was joined on stage by EXID’s Jeonghwa and said that this was her group’s first time in the country. And, after a few games with the fans, they introduced a special stage by Hani, who sang “Ecos de Amor” by Mexican group Jesse y Joy in Spanish. Then came the aforementioned Astro stage, who did an upbeat version of the classic “La Bamba,” complete with a rap verse and playful choreography.

astro kcon mexico 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

Also on KultScene: 5 things we want to see at the Giriboy & Blacknut K-Hip Hop Fest

Right on queue, the lights went out and a video of Eric Nam performing “Can’t Help Myself” backstage with his dancers came come the big screens before they came out themselves and finished off the song. And since the original featured rapper Loco wasn’t there for the show, NCT 217’s Taeyong stepped up for the rap verse. Eric then performed “Body” and “Good For You,” complete with awkward dances and all.

For his turn at “Piñata Time,” it landed on “love song.” “How did you know I’m a sweet guy?” he said in Spanish, keeping “sweet guy” in English. The camera then looked for a fan in the audience, to whom Eric sang “You, Who?” acapella. But he quickly went back to his shenanigans with “Into You,” dancing and jumping all over the place. Unexpectedly, the last song he performed was “Ooh Ooh,” which he promised he’d do “next time” at KCON 16 NY, even though he in fact did not at KCON 16 LA. With Infinite’s Hoya performing the next concert night, fans were eager to see if he’d show up for his rap verse. But nope. The audio played and Eric and his dancers kept on dancing sans Hoya.

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Courtesy of CJ E&M

Being one of the only two girl groups performing at KCON Mexico, EXID fans showed up to support them. Unfortunately, the group was missing member Solji, who’s taking a break to recover from a health condition. Regardless, the rest of the members powered through “L.I.E,” “Ah Yeah,” and “Hot Pink.” Even though Solji and her vocals were missed, Hyejin held her own singing the full choruses on every song and seemed very happy every time fans would cheer for her while she sang. Moreover, the clear crowd pleasers were pre-viral fame “Every Night” and the song that made them what they are, “Up & Down.”

exid hani kcon le 2017 17 concert

Courtesy of CJ E&M

As a rookie group, it was surprising that NCT 127 was the last act to perform at the first night of KCON Mexico. However, once on stage, it seemed like they had been closing out stadiums for years. Their set started out very EXO-y with an opening dance performance by Taeyong, who was later joined by more members. But once they were done, they exited the stage and Johnny ascended playing a remix of “Fire Truck” on the turn tables. It was the perfect intro for said song, which he doesn’t participate in. Also without some of the members, only Taeil, Doyoung, and Jaehyun performed “Without You.”

Adding to the oddness of having a rookie group close, there was the fact that NCT 127 only has a couple of singles under their belt. This was not a problem, though. Truth is, the group has more than a few stellar B-sides, and Mark and Taeyong killed it with “Mad City,” while the rest of the group delivered an amazing performance of “Good Thing.”

Also on KultScene: Is K.A.R.D the future of K-pop?

Moreover, KCON always gives way for special performances, and this was no different. NCT 127 recycled their sunbaenim (senior label mates) Super Junior’s performance of the Brazilian song “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” with mostly the same choreography the latter used during their Latin American leg of their Super Show 5 and Super Camp. Staying on concept, they followed it up with a rendition of “Sorry Sorry.” A few more dance performances by Win Win and Taeyong followed before ending it all with their latest, “Limitless.”

kcon mexico 2017 17 concert nct 127

Courtesy of CJ E&M

For the show’s closing, all the acts came out to wave goodbye at the audience except for BTS. And while a longer set by them would’ve been appreciated, NCT 127 came through and delivered a show worthy of a headliner. Eric Nam was beyond cute with his Spanish and even managed to get a few zingers in, like making fun of fans for screaming at him while he was drinking water. BTS might have been short on time (they flew to Brazil right after their performance), but those five songs left everyone craving more. And, unsurprisingly, EXID’s choreographies were among the highlights of the night, not to mention LE’s fiery raps live.

The first concert seemed like the day to attend given BTS’ fans had showed up in droves to support them. However, with groups like Monsta X and Red Velvet performing the next day, expectations and excitement were at an all time high. The fans in attendance on day one poured their souls out with fan chants, singing, dancing, and just overall fangirl(boy)ing. The second night further proved that fans in Mexico are beyond passionate, but that’s a review for another day…

What’s your favorite act from KCON 2017 Mexico? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 things we want to see at the Giriboy & Blacknut K-Hip Hop Fest

Korean Hip Hop Super Stars Giriboy and Blacknut are coming to Cali! They will be the main stars at the WESKE K Hip Hop Fest 2017 San Francisco & Los Angeles. These two have been making waves in the Korean hip hop scene for quite some time now and gained international recognition when they participated in Korea’s first hip hop competition show, the popular Show Me The Money.

The U.S has been fortunate enough to continuously get waves of getting Korean hip hop for the past few years due to its popularity. However, this will be Giriboy & Blacknut’s first solo performance stateside. The multi talented rappers will be performing at Live 333 in Los Angeles on March 24th and The Grand Nightclub in San Francisco on March 25th.

WESKE is still selling tickets, so you haven’t missed your chance yet. Get tickets to either San Francisco or Los Angeles, right here. Tickets are nearly sold out so make sure to buy them up quickly! For more details, you can also visit their Facebook page.

We seriously can’t wait for this reunion, but in the meantime here are 5 things we want to see at the shows:

Giriboy Collaborations

Giriboy has collaborated with everyone in the game. Seriously, he raps, he sings, he writes, he produces. Is there anything this boy doesn’t do? PLUS, with a long list of special guests, you know it’s going to be crazy. If you’re not familiar with Giriboy, there are so many out there, including this one from Monsta X‘s pre-debut reality show, No.Mercy. We’ll let the music speak for itself. What’s your favorite Giriboy collab?

Blacknut’s performance of “What Can I Do” and “Beenzino”

Although Blacknut was known for his unapologetic and raw behavior in Show Me The Money 4, he showed us there’s much more to him than his no chill personality. During the finale he debuted his song, “What Can I Do” featuring female rapper and singer Jessi. This honest rap to himself talks about the difficulties one can face when chasing your dream. The performance itself is dope but what really gets us are those lyrics!

The song “Beenzino,” which is about Blacknut’s desire to be like the famous Korean rapper Beenzino, showcases Blacknut’s skills and humor. AKA everything we love about him so much. He always shows us just how down to earth he is. Honestly, how could we not love this song? We’re all fanboy/fangirl of someone, right?

Also on KultScene: 10 SHINee B-sides to know before ‘SHINee World V in USA’

Giriboy’s Smile

Talented with a charming smile? You know we couldn’t leave this off our list. Giriboy is talented and an absolute charmer. If you attend either show, feel free to spam @KultScene with pictures of his pearly whites… (You only think we’re joking!) 

Blacknut’s Unpredictability

Known for his crazy antics, we can’t wait to see what Blacknut pulls off in California! There’s two nights for Blacknut to surprise us, and we’ll eagerly anticipate what happens! Maybe he’ll pull us on stage and give us pillows? You never really know with him…

Everyone Going Crazy on Stage

Korean hip hop has a raw, unfiltered energy that makes us love it so much. Bring that energy to Cali’s nightclubs, and you know that the show is going to be crazy! We can’t wait to see everyone wilding out and stage and joining them in the crowd!

If you miss out, we feel bad for you son. We got 99 concerts, but ain’t missing this one.

What’s your favorite Giriboy and/or Blacknut song? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

10 SHINee B-sides to know before ‘SHINee World V in USA’

shinee world v usa concert show los angeles la dallas texas

You guys, our prayers have been finally heard. After years of SM Town tours, a couple of fan meetings last year, and a headlining performance at KCON, it’s finally happening. We. Are. Getting. A. SHINee. Concert series. Yes, it only took them eight years or so, but the SM Entertainment boy band is finally coming to the States with their SHINee World V in USA and we’re freaking out.

by Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum

The quintet’s highly anticipated first US solo concerts will be held in Dallas on Mar. 24 at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie and in Los Angeles on Mar. 26 at the Shrine Auditorium. Tickets went on sale on Feb. 25 and range between $65 to $215.

We all know the hits: the adolescent love manifesto “Replay;” the ever energetic “Lucifer;” the dazzling “Dream Girl.” But SHINee’s awesomeness only increases once you get to know their b-sides. SHINee is one of the rare K-pop groups whose album cuts actually rival, if not surpass, the singles. And now that we’re getting a full concert, it’s important to know their non-single songs. Here are 10 that you absolutely must know in order to maximize your experience at SHINee World V in USA.


SHINee’s 1 of 1 album was filled with outstanding songs that overshadowed the single by the same name. “Prism” with its tempo shifts and interestingly layered vocals was one of the best album cuts on said album. On this track, the guys showed all the different vocal ranges and styles they were capable of doing. Sounds like a disaster, and it kind of is, but that’s what makes “Prism” a great, perfectly crafted piece of pop havoc.

Also on KultScene: What to expect at KCON Mexico’s concerts


Hands down, “Symptoms” is one of SHINee’s best songs. Single or otherwise; it’s simply perfection. How they perfectly blend Onew and Jonghyun’s soulful vocals with Key and Minho’s almost spoken interludes and then add Taemin’s powerful interpretation is mind blowing. “Symptoms” is an explosion of emotion; it’s a song you feel, not hear.

“Love Still Goes On” + “Love Should Go On”

Adding a bit of old school SHINee into the mix, what’s more OG than horribly amazing extensive raps verses from rap-god Minho and Key and a loud, dancey chorus dominated by Onew and Jonghyun? While it can’t be said for most of their concepts, SHINee’s songs tend to age gracefully in a fast-evolving genre like K-pop, partly because they’re always ahead of the curve. “Love Should Go On,” and the made-for-concert “Love Still Goes On,” is a perfect example, given it was released in 2010 and doesn’t sound dated at all.

“Feel Good”

SHINee has that thing where their angelic voices and melodies yank your emotions suddenly and violently. And with “Feel Good,” they do just that; hit you right in the feels. Although not a sentimental track, this love song makes your body tingle with butterflies while dancing your butt off. Leave it to SHINee to make you groove to a slightly sexual song.


“Beautiful” is mainly on here because this is where we got to hear Minho’s areumdaun (beautiful) vocals instead of his rapping — although he slays that part too, naturally. Not to mention the choreography for the chorus is hella lit and easy to imitate. Bonus points for Jonghyun’s belts. Catch me at the show dancing to this with my hands in the air!

“Odd Eye”

If you needed a specific example of how SHINee are no longer the dweebs professing their love to a noona like in “Replay”, it’s got to be “Odd Eye.” Penned by Mr. Sex on a Stick Jonghyun, this track is a testament that SHINee is a group of grown, sexy men. “Odd Eye” is their ultimate thirst trap, with it’s R&B inspired vocals and croons.


In terms of SHINee’s upbeat, lose your ish songs, “Hitchhiking” is at the top of the list. It’s such a fun, high-energy track and the boys put their all into the choreography. And, of course, SHINee wouldn’t be the kings of performances without their outstanding vocals, with which they never miss a beat of. Overall, “Hitchhiking” is a damn good time.

Also on KultScene: Is K.A.R.D the future of K-pop?


Yet another incredible b-side from 1 of 1, “Shift” is a bop. It’s a fast-paced track that makes you feel as if you’re running through a video game, or maybe a cartoon-ish club. Either way, it’s fun to jam to.

“Alarm Clock”

But not everything is pump up jams and hard-hitting performances. SHINee slows it way down in “Alarm Clock,” focusing exclusively on the vocals and melodies. Hearing the rap line hold their own with the vocal line is outstanding. And of course Taemin takes the cake for evolving into an all around performer, with the dancing and power vocals on deck.

“Love Sick”

Two words: “Replay” sequel. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. With “Love Sick,” SHINee brings it all full circle by continuing the tale about being in love with an older girl, now declaring she’s their woman and she still makes their hearts flutter. Plus, now they’re men and not the dorky little dongsaengs.

What’s your favorite SHINee B-side? What song would you love to hear live? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below! Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

What to expect at KCON Mexico’s concerts

bts kcon la 16 los angeles 2016 bangtan

by Yasamine Entesari

With KCON’s rapid expansion all across the world, it’s no surprise that it would eventually reach one of Latin America’s largest countries and one with some of the most ardent K-pop fans, Mexico. Over the years, Mexico has been getting some more and more well-deserved K-pop attention, having hosted concerts that not even the U.S. have gotten (mainly Super Junior’s Super Show and SHINee’s SHINee World, although we’ll get the latter in March).

One of the biggest K-pop events of the year is finally heading down south, with top tier acts, no less. The official lineup includes KCON LA and NY past performers like Monsta X, BTS, and Red Velvet, and it also includes acts that even the U.S. KCONs haven’t gotten (yet!), NCT 127 and EXID. Other performers include Eric Nam, Astro, and INFINITE H. The event will be held at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on Mar. 17 and 18. Tickets went on sale on Feb. 7 and they range from 4,500 pesos (around $225) to 1,000 pesos (around $50).

And if KCON Mexico is your first K-pop show or you have never seen these specific acts, allow me to be of service. Having been blessed with trips to many K-pop events, including KCON LA and NY, over the years, I’ve seen mostly* every group and soloist on the lineup. This means I have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what will probably go down at both concerts. So let me break it down for you a bit…

[* With the exception of NCT 127 because they’ve never performed in the U.S.]


Let’s be real now: BTS is not only a popular group, it’s a freaking phenomenon. Until now, I’ve seen them perform four times (at their multiple KCON appearances and their Show & Prove mini-concert from American Hustle Life), so believe me when I say that you can expect two things: it’ll be lit and it’ll be absolute madness. ARMY do not play around; the amount of energy BTS leaves on stage is directly proportional (if not more!) to the fans’ excitement.

by Yasamine Entesari

We can always count on them to drop their hard-hitting bars and hit every move in their intricate choreographies. Last year, BTS went to both LA and NY, and while the song list differed a bit, they performed “Cypher Pt. 3: Killer” in each show, and both times it felt like it was their own concert; they absolutely dominated and set that place on fire. Moreover, the group recently dropped two singles, so we’ll witness those fresh out of the oven. One can only hope the same will happen in Mexico.

Red Velvet

SM Entertainment’s newest girl group performed at KCON LA in 2015 fresh off of “Ice Cream Cake.” Back then, they didn’t have enough “red” singles to fill out their set so they performed a cover. Now, however, with “Dumb, Dumb,” “Russian Roulette” and “Rookie,” they have the roster to put on the most uplifting and fun stage out of all of the artists. Expect lots of aegyo and a pit full of dancing fans.

by Alejandro Abarca

Also on KultScene: 9 Things I Learned While On Tour With GOT7

Monsta X

When Monsta X performed at KCON LA 2015 just a couple of months (maybe weeks?!) after their debut, they blew everyone in attendance away with their potent performance which consisted of a couple of album cuts and one single. One! That’s all it took to convert more than a few fans into Monbebes (their fandom name). Then the next year, they followed it up again in Los Angeles with another outstanding performance full of even more confidence and swag, since their fans were visibly repping for them in the audience. Similar to BTS, with Monsta X, KCON goers are in for a treat with their set. Get ready to turn up to all their fierce singles and flaming choreographies.

by Alejandro Abarca


If you can go to one K-pop concert, while the decision is massively difficult, a contender is without a doubt INFINITE. And while we’re not getting the whole group, the subunit INFINITE H comprised of members Hoya and Dongwoo is the next best thing. During their INFINITE Effect US tour last year, the duo performed a handful of their singles and album cuts and commanded the stage like it was their own show. Both performers are triple threats, being great dancers, rappers, and even singers. We’re all in for a treat with this duo who will surely makes us forget for awhile we are actually at KCON and not their solo concert.


Female representation on the KCON stage is always scarce, and this time it’s not different. However, a sexy girl group is just what we need to bring a bit of diversity in the acts. Having survived near disbandment prior to taking off with “Up and Down,” EXID have propelled themselves as the sexy, cool girl group K-pop largely lacks. Power vocals, a charismatic rapper, and easy to mimic dance moves to pretty much all their singles ensure a fun set. Having seen them two years ago at the Korea Times Music Festival, EXID commands the stage in a way that will have you glued to their every move. Not to mention Hani’s goofy side is sure to make an appearance.

Also on KultScene: 5 reasons to go to Hyuna’s North American tour

Eric Nam

Eric Nam has been a KCON regular for years as an MC or special guest. However, last year he finally got to perform at the convention, first in New York and then Los Angeles. Following his success in Korea with his recent releases, Eric put on a very contradicting performance, with his songs being super heartfelt and then shifting to his usual dorky self we grew to love on After School Club. And while he’s not the best dancer, he puts on a great show and always engages with the audience. Not to mention he actually speaks Spanish, which is rare if not unheard of in K-pop. Plus, this may be a stretch, but with Hoya also performing at KCON, who knows? Maybe we will finally get that performance of “Ooh Ooh” he promised fans in KCON NY.

by Yasamine Entesari


Astro is the one group KCON and DramaFever have pushed since their debut but have not gained as much traction as expected. Last year at KCON LA, my general concept of them was simple, Astro who? And yet, when they hit the stage, it was impossible not getting wrapped up in the incredibly cheesy and cutesy vibe they were transmitting. I may have not known their songs at the moment and I might not be stanning them now, but I can tell you that, in that moment, I was dancing and enjoying myself and now have a couple of their songs on my playlist. Astro is truly a happy virus that is bound to infect you. Accept and embrace it.

by Yasamine Entesari

NCT 127

Every year, there is one rookie boy group on the artist lineup that makes the fans girls go insane over, showcasing just how big the fandom abroad is. For this edition, that group will be NCT 127. And while I have not seen them live yet, one can still speculate. This specific unit of NCT has two albums under their belt, so it’s safe to say we can expect fiery performances of “Limitless” and “Fire Truck,” which will make the entire venue blow up. In addition, KCON always puts on special stages, and who better but NCT 127 and their slew of amazing dancers? Without a doubt, the first edition of KCON Mexico will host some of the most promising K-pop acts of the moments and we can’t wait to witness it!

Which KCON Mexico performer would you love seeing live? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below! Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

8 songs to hype you up for Paloalto’s ‘Unite’ North American tour

paloalto korean rap k rap k hip hop concert show

As 2016 was drawing to a close, Korean music fans were already aware that the first half of 2017 would be hectic in terms of concerts. And as 2017 dawned, it showed no signs of slowing down. US fans will probably get more than their fair dose of K-pop shows — but what about K-hip-hop? Worry not, for Paloalto’s got your back. Hi-Lite’s founder is bringing his Unite tour to North America

While it may be called a “North American Tour,” it only has four stops. And while more would be appreciated, we’ll take what we can get. The first is on Feb. 3 at San Francisco’s Origin, then it’s LA’s Club Bound on Feb. 4. A week later, the shows continue on Feb. 10 in New York at Space Ibiza, and finally in Vancouver, Canada on Feb. 11 at Privé Nightclub. Tickets range from $20 for GA to $60 for VVIP with a meet and greet to +$300 for bottle service. Each date varies in prices, so keep in mind the change. All shows are 21+, however, the meet-and-greet is 18+ — so keep that in mind if you’re planning to go! For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

paloalto korean rapper la new york vancouver san francisco concert show unite tour

And just in case you needed a warm up for what will undoubtedly be a lit night, here are eight Paloalto songs to hype you up for the shows:

1. “Moneyflow” by Paloalto, Zico, and Song Mino

The rap competition program Show Me the Money is always a great avenue for rappers, known and unknown, to collaborate and release fire tracks. So when Paloalto and Zico teamed up on Season Four, it was pretty obvious that their songs would be awesome. “Moneyflow” features both rappers plus contestant Song Mino. Paloalto always finds interesting ways of switching it up when it comes to beats, and going the rock route with “Moneyflow” fit Zico and Mino like a glove since their flows can go mosh pit hard without seeming fake.

Also on KultScene: A teenage fangirl’s farewell to 2NE1

2. “Turtleship” by Paloalto, G2, B-Free, Okasian, and Zico

For “Turtleship,” Paloalto released a version with his Show Me the Money team, but for the remix, the Hi-Lite CEO called on his label makes G2, B-Free and Okasian, plus Zico, for an even more lit rendition. Let’s get one thing out of the way: the original didn’t need to be upgraded, but with such a sick beat, why not expand the roster to see what even more rappers can spit on it? Even if it’s only under two years old, “Turtleship” is an instant classic.

3. “Good Times feat. Babylon”

As Korean rap becomes more popular, many rappers have begun to sound alike. However, Paloalto has his very own, difficult to replicate — or follow — flow, and this is perfectly exemplified in “Good Times.” It’s uplifting yet chill vibe makes the track a must for just about any day playlist.

4. “Fancy feat. Dean and Sway D”

What happens when you mix one a great rapper with one of the smoothest R&B vocalists? Gold, that’s what. Pure. Gold. Paloalto teamed up with Dean (oh yeah, and Sway D) for “Fancy,” aka, one of the chillest bops of 2016. Although it’s unlikely that Paloalto can pull off this song live in its perfect entirety without Dean, you need it in your life. You’re welcome.

5. “Would You Be My feat. Beenzino”

Throwing it a bit back, “Would You Be My” is an interesting indie rock and boom bap hybrid that we don’t get to hear in hip-hop a lot. But considering that Beenzino is the featuring rapper, of course it had to get experimental. It’s a stripped performance that allows their verses to take center stage, and it works perfectly.

6. “Au Revoir feat. CokeJazz”

Another laid-back, striped track playlist-worth is “Au Revoir” with CokeJazz. Before becoming a rapper, Palo aimed to be a songwriter, and fans constantly see glimmers of this when he focuses on the lyrics rather than the fanfare of the beat — like some other rappers, *cough* *cough*. “Au Revoir” is breezy and overall a feel-good jam.

Also on KultScene: 5 reasons to go to Hyuna’s North American tour

7. “Dark Panda” by Paloalto, Hyorin, and Zico

2015 gave us plenty of Zico and Paloalto collaborations. And while they’re all great in their own right, “Dark Panda” takes the cake for being one of the most interesting. They signed up Sistar’s Hyorin to put some R&B soul on the track and she took it right into bliss. Musically, it’s complex and, well, dark; and the contrast between Hyorin’s moans, Zico’s fast verses, and Paloalto’s wavy flow make “Dark Panda” and experience in its own right.

8. “Victories”

Paloalto’s most recent track mixes perfectly his signature sound of contrasting chill yet bumpy beats and flow shift. It starts out mid-tempo and then it slows down the pace a bit before going up again at the hook, and this just goes on and on for a four minute musical rollercoaster. Like everything he does, “Victories” is a chill experience sprinkled with mild turn up moments to go crazy in when performed live.

However, if you must know the actual set list for the tour, Paloalto recently announced it on Instagram:


song list of Unite US Tour

A photo posted by Paloalto 팔로알토 (@paloaltongue) on

What’s your favorite Paloalto song? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.