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Weekly K-Pop Faves: May 23-29

kpop playlist favorites may last week 2016
The final (full) week of May brought a lot of returns from some of our team’s favorite artists. Girl groups, boy groups, solo artists, and a wide variety of genres are represented in this week’s KultScene weekly K-pop faves.

“Windy Day” by Oh My Girl (Released May 25)

With “Windy Day”, Oh My Girl threatened us with a most dreaded coffee shop ballad. I nearly stopped listening after twenty seconds due to intense disappointment, especially this being the best and most exuberant of all rookie girl groups. I perked up by Yooa and Binnie’s angelic pre-chorus and was absolutely hooked by the Middle East-inspired break after the chorus. Between these parts, the song is driven by Oh My Girl’s perpetual dynamism. First by the chorus vocals in which seven of the members participate in and then by those wonderful strings (might be an Oud) and choreography. No group has exuded such youthful apathy towards musical norms quite like Oh My Girl. They are the rightful heirs to Girls’ Generation’s throne.

— Joe

“Life in Color” by Beenzino (Released May 26)

After the lackluster that was “We Are Going To,” it’s comforting to see that Beenzino is back at it making up for the lost momentum after his “Up All Night” album. It’s no secret that Beenzino is #artsy: one of his most artistic music videos is last year’s “Break.” Continuing the concept and, with another Digipedi music video, comes “Life in Color.” The track is more on the experimental, hypebeast hip-hop side rather than the Southern rap stuff Illionaire regularly does, which makes it that more refreshening. Korea is all about making rap music that doesn’t sound like rap music (mainly slow tempo tracks with a singer at the chorus), but Beenzino mastered this practice by creating something interesting and new while keeping it upbeat. I for one am now highly anticipating his new album (which drops tomorrow!) and hope we see more songs on par with “Life in Color” rather than “Break” and “We Are Going To.”

— Alexis

“so-so” by Baek A Yeon (Released May 23)

I accidentally came across this song while scrolling through Youtube. Baek A Yeon’s soothing vocals blended with the soft melody is easy on ears. This ballad track has R&B and soul effect to it which portrays the feelings of being single and lovesick. The lyrics are quite relatable and hold some bitter reality to them. The subdued effect of the song is neutralized by using pastel shades for the video. The music video has a cute concept and is pleasing to eyes. Baek A Yeon’s “So So” is skyrocketing the music charts, like her previous hits.

— Sana

”Monodrama” by Lay (EXO) (Released May 26)

I really missed hearing R&B from EXO, and even though he only makes up a ninth of the group, Lay’s “Monodrama” was enough to satiate that musical craving. Performed in his native tongue, this song is exactly what I imagine when I think of Chinese R&B. And like all quintessential R&B slow jams, this too makes generous use of layered claps and sensual guitars, giving it a very classic, old school sound. I don’t have to read into the lyrics (I mean, I did) to understand that this isn’t exactly a celebratory song because the instrumentals more than expressed the heartache that “Monodrama” is all about. Lay may not be the strongest vocally in his group, but with this comeback he definitely was able to brandish more than he did when he had to share lines with eight other members. Those several laudatory high notes alone probably made this one of SM Station’s best releases yet.

— Shelley

I was thoroughly absorbed in the music video for “All In” when I heard it the first time, to the degree that I honestly missed much of the song and had to go back to listen again. This music video, which appears to set up a dystopian trilogy featuring some of the members of Monsta X committing suicide, had me thinking of Nazi Germany, The Lord of the Flies, Japanese-occupied Korea, The Walking Dead, yaoi manga, and at least ten other K-pop music videos from the past decade. All at the same time. That said, because of the convoluted plot I feel like the music video honestly didn’t suit the song. As with all Monsta X singles, “All In” has an aggressive sound. Despite the pounding chorus and horn-heavy raps, the song isn’t actually about war or anger, so I feel like it should be accompanied by a music video about sports or some other difficult to achieve goal rather than a fight-for-life plot. The lyrics reflect being all in a relationship; translating this to being all in on a team or a competition makes sense while depicting it through revolution seems off the mark. But, back to the song, within two listens this pounding beat got stuck in my head and I really enjoyed the raps; It’s their most diverse single to date, while still retaining their specific style.


—Tamar

What song was your favorite of the week? Share your thoughts 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.

Beenzino Made Boston ‘Boogie On & On’

Beenzino, Beenzino North American Tour, Beenzino In Boston

by Tam Huynh

Boston was the fourth and also the second to last stop on Beenzino’s five city North American Tour sponsored by CHL Entertainment and PlatinumKShows. December 11 marked the first time that a non-American Korean hip hop artist was performing not only at Royale but Boston in general and, boy oh boy, were the expectations high! As a fellow Bostonian, I can’t begin to tell you how long this crowd has waited for a show like this to hit town, and to have Beenzino be the first was an absolute honor.

Not that I ever doubted Beenzino’s ability to work the crowd, but damn does this guy know how to get his audience hyped. He has this artistic aroma that naturally fills the air, on and off the stage, which the crowd feeds off of. There was nothing that could’ve prepared us for what was to come; starting from the few seconds before he hit the stage whilst teasing the audience with his deep voice peeping through the dark shadows from the side of the stage, to that very second that the beat dropped as he came out leaping and started with “Jackson Pollock D*Ck“ as his opening number. It didn’t take much before the crowd lost their minds; it honestly really only took a simple subtle “hey Boston” before the room ruptured into a frenzy. That’s how you know it’s going to be one hell of a show if all the artist has to do is crack a “hey” into the microphone which then causes automatic madness.

He went hard the instant he stepped foot on that stage, with a drink in his hand, already gleaming with that “Asian glow.” I thought Beenzino was going to start off slow and ease the crowd in with his set but nope, Zino meant business and absolutely wanted to waste no time whatsoever. With ShimmyTwice as the DJ, the Jazzyfact duo were pulling out all the stops and took us back in time with oldies like their very own “A Tribe Called Jazzyfact,” “각자의 새벽(Each One’s Dawn),” “Slow Down,” “Summer Madness,” “Boogie On & On,” “Mitch As F*Ck,” including his featuring tracks “Nike Shoes,” “I Get Lifted,” “Welcome To The Show,” and “The Color.” Among the crowd favorites were “How Do I Look?,” “Up All Night,” “Break,” and his latest single “We Are Going To.”


Also on KultScene: ‘Hello Bitches:’ Choreographer Parris Goebel Talks CL & Women Empowerment Through Dance [INTERVIEW]

The energy was nonstop and was always at an all time high. Beenzino fed off of the crowd, which was clearly well received considering he put in 200 percent throughout the two-hour and some extra minutes show. Zino was way more interactive (in both Korean and English) with the crowd than I had expected; he told us about all the good food he had eaten since being in town and the sheer look of excitement that was on his face as he talked about his first trip to Dave & Buster’s was incredibly cute for this 28-year-old. He also made a quick shout out to his friends that came along for support while being on tour and to his girlfriend, Stephanie, who was watching the show from the second floor. As he was saying that the crowd all looked to the right, zoomed in and focused on her, to which Beenzino exclaimed “No, don’t do that… It’s kinda weird. Focus on me okay, focus on me, focus on me. It’s my night.” At that moment he looked like a sad puppy that just had his chew toy taken away from him. Ah, what a cutie. A majority of the crowd were rowdy fan boys, to which he responded along to quite playfully with, at one point even telling one of the guys that kept screaming things at Zino every time he started to talk, that “he needs help.”

Although about 80 percent of the audience was Korean, Beenzino made sure to make that extra effort to crank out all the English that he knows, even in moments where he struggled to translate transitional words from Korean to English, as he chuckled in semi embarrassment. But the fan interactions didn’t stop there, as he continued to smile and respond to those who shouted random and funny things at him. The utter shock on Beenzino’s face when a male fan told him to take off his shirt could leave one gasping for air from laughter due to the response that he gave “No man, I’m not taking off my shirt! Why would you say that? You’re not a girl!” But then he pulled his printed Givenchy hoody, quickly exposing his belly button; pure hilarity that Zino. While in transition for his next stage, he asked some fans in the front row what their favorite song of his was and a few people responded with “Break” and with a mischievous smile he said he hates that song and continued asking for songs until someone said “Aquaman,” which then ended up being the song he was waiting to play. Read more

How Beenzino Differs To Other Korean Hip Hop Artists

Beenzino, Beenzino North American TourThere are two prominent types of Korean hip hop artists; the one group of artists who are lyrically deep and poetic in their rhymes and the group that’ll immensely try to mimic and imitate American hip hop. Korean hip hop artists are either swagged out from head to toe — rocking snapbacks, sporting various designer brand name clothing, an array of tattoos running down their arms and across their bodies and with the occasional ones that wear their custom made gold grill sets — or chill and solely focusing on producing impactful pieces with meaningful lyrics caring less about the new Air Jordans or whether they’re seen around town driving in an adorned Maybach.

So let’s make this more specific. What are your immediate thoughts when you take a first glance at Beenzino? Is he some hard ass wannabe American rapper? Does he prance around showing off his notoriety? Does he keep his sunglasses on at all times, whether indoors or outdoors? Or is he a delicate flower? Does he shyly look away when he’s being made direct eye contact with? Read more

5 Songs to Get You Ready For Beenzino’s North American Tour + TICKET GIVEAWAY

Beenzino, Beenzino North American Tour Read more

Gaeko & Yankie ‘Cheers’ Song Review

Gaeko and Yankie have collaborated with Beenzino and Babylon on the new track Cheers for Amoeba Culture’s NEWorkend project. The four artists worked together to give us life during theses cold winter months. Cheers will take you away to a tropical location to forget about the Winter blues.

Music:

The music that makes up Cheers automatically gives off a summer, laid back vibe. You can instantly feel the warmth of the sun and the air of summer nights. The instrumentals are all basic, but the way they are being played adds to the summertime feel. The electric guitar is used in a more subdued manor than in rock and punk songs. It sounds so subdued and calm with the amp turned up. The percussion, again, is pretty simple and basic. It keeps the beat going while adding in some wooden blocks that adds the beach vibe to the song. The exhaling (ahhh) throughout the song is not creepy nor distracting, instead it reminds listeners of the almost automatic reflex of exhaling with joy after quenching one’s thirst. There are trumpets that come in throughout the song, and clapping and a piano toward the end. They all continue to keep the summer feel and only add a little more instrumental thickness to the song.

Also on KultScene: Flash K-Pop Music Video Reviews: Jonghyun, Jung Yonghwa, Mad Clown, From The Airport, Eddy Kim, GFriend

Rapping:

Yankie starts the song off with a smooth flow that adds to the laid back vibe of the music. His verse sets the mood of the song perfectly, which is on the weekend everyone is ready to let loose and enjoy themselves. People are quite different from their work selves and their party selves. Yankie starts out the night, which includes meeting up with your friends at the club.

Beenzino then raps about what happens next in the second verse. In the club drinks are ordered and free flowing, and the lust that comes with the weekend party scene is at an all time high. Beenzino’s rap flow has a bit of punchiness to it, but nothing too extreme or intense to throw off the groove of the song. The tone of his voice gives off the feeling of having a good time and not caring if he breaks the law or not.

Gaeko’s rap is at a slower pace than Yankie and Beezino’s. He crisply articulates each English word with a little more punch than the Korean words. During Gaeko’s verse some of the instrumentals are cut out creating a shift in the song that breaks up the monotony of the music. The change is a cue that tells the listener that there is a slight interruption in the flow of the song, which then encourages the listener to pay more attention.

Also on KultScene: 4 Amazing Talents To Watch For From ‘K-Pop Star 4’

Singing:

Babylon sings the chorus throughout the song and his vocals have a higher pitch and vocal tone. Although his tone is higher, his vocals are full and easy on the ears. Babylon’s vocal quality matches the overall vibe of summertime and having a good time. His falsetto oohs at the end of the song briefly show off his vocals abilities. The chorus clearly shows that he is capable of singing and singing well, but his oohs at the end tease listeners into wanting more music from Babylon.

Conclusions:

Cheers not only displays the multiple talents of all of those involved with the song, but it gives listeners happiness and the feeling of being carefree and enjoying one’s self. Whether you listen to Cheers in the summer, the winter, or throughout the entire year, it will always make you feel great and let you escape to a warmer place with friends, fun, and drinks.

Do you like Cheers, do you feel like you’re taken away to a warm Summer’s night partying with your friends? Share your thoughts 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.

Beenzino’s ‘Up All Night’ Party in Los Angeles

Korean rapper Beenzino brought the house down with his Up All Night party in Los Angeles on December 6th at 333 Live. The crowd fully embraced Zino, as everyone sang and rapped as loud as his mic to all 14 of the songs performed throughout the night.

After making his rounds in Korea and New York with his Up All Night parties, the rapper brought his show to the city of Angels. This marked his second performance of the year in the city, the previous being the Asian Music Festival back in May. But rather than coming as part of a roster of rappers, Beenzino was the headliner and only artist at the full-house event.

The venue, being large and club-like, gave off a House of Blues concert vibe, as the dance floor was spacious and allowed for over a thousand people to stand, being the perfect setting for the Up All Night party. And even though doors opened at 10:30 p.m. and the DJ played a variety of hip hop and EDM music, the crowd did not turn up until around midnight when Zino finally came out.

beenzino up all night los angeles

 

Also on KultScene: Best K-Pop Music Video Fashion: November Releases

As soon as the lights went out and the DJ played the beat of I Don’t Have to Work, the crowd ignited. Beenzino, behind the scenes, teased the audience to make some noise. But with a quick, “What’s up L.A,” he jumped into Jackson Pollock D*ck decked out in a blue Adidas track jacket, tight, skinny black jeans, and black wayfarers, which he threw out to the audience.

As mentioned before, the crowd was crazy receptive of the rapper. Since the audience was mostly comprised of Korean speakers who rapped every word, Zino only addressed them in Korean and used no English. Some of the tracks that pumped up the crowd the most included How Do I Look?, I’m Ill, and YGGR. But the one that got everyone turnt up the most was definitely Boogie On and On, with a fan even throwing her bra on stage, which he laughed off and gave to a roadie.

Beenzino performed with such high energy and boss attitude that you wouldn’t have imagined he held the same show in NYC a day prior. He jumped and danced all over the stage, jamming to Profile, Mitch As F*ck, and Nike Shoes, swooning all the female attendees. The men in the audience (which was sizeable compared to a K-Pop show) for their part bobbed their heads and sang along to the punchlines.

beenzino up all night los angeles

But not everything was all play and no emotion. Zino slowed it down with Dali, Van, Picasso, Up All Night, and Aqua Man, which the fans sang in unison waving their hands side to side. The set, however short, didn’t disappoint attendees one bit. And even though he killed track after track, he took some breaks to talk to the audience and thanked them for coming out.

At around 1 a.m, the rapper sang his last song for the night Always Awake. Having taken off his jacket and pullover before to perform in a white T-shirt, Zino took off his black beanie as he finished, thanked everyone, threw it out to the crowd, and disappeared to the back stage.

beenzino up all night los angeles

Having now properly been pumped up by Beenzino, some of the attendees stuck around to continue drinking and dancing to the hip hop mix the DJ played. However, Zino hung out for a bit in the smokers’ lounge before meeting a mob of fans wanting to take pictures with him and was then moved to a VIP area where he chilled with a few people.

Beenzino surpassed expectations and then some. It was amazing how he made the crowd go from zero to one hundred (queue Drake) with a beat and a “what’s up.” Everyone was lit the whole time he was onstage and definitely went home with the adrenaline still pumping.

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: Yoon Mirae

Check out more pictures from the Up All Night party:

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KultScene recorded great footage from the show, take a look below!

What’s your favorite Beenzino song? Share your picks 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 Reasons to Attend Beenzino’s “Up All Night” Party in LA

After tearing it up at the Asian Music Festival in May, Beenzino is back in LA for his Up All Night album release party. The rapper has been making his rounds in Korean clubs promoting his latest record by the same name and now he’ll bring the party to U.S. soil.

Beenzino is one of the hottest rappers in the game right now, even collaborating with big names in K-Pop like Epik High and HA:TFELT. And since Korean rap is on the rise and might be the next big thing from Korea, it’s understandable that he’s performing in major U.S. cities like NYC and LA.

But if you’re not so well acquainted with Beenzino or are not really sure if you should attend the show, here’s a quick persuading list that might sway you into going. Truth is, there are many more reasons why the Up All Night party will be dope, but these are the highlights.

1. Music

Beenzino has made his mark in the Korean hip hop scene by professing his love for art and fashion through his lyrics. He raps about his art influences, fashion preferences, and, of course, girls and relationships. Because of this, his music has been well-received and seen as relatable by fans. All of this is embodied on his track Dali, Van, Picasso, his manifesto as an artist.

2. He Puts On a Hell of a Party

K-Pop shows are fun. You dance around, you wave your lightstick, you somewhat sing, but it’s still a concert. The Up All Night Release Party is, well, a party. The venue is a club where Beenzino will perform some of his songs from his latest album Up All Night. This will be a night to party, and dance, and sing, and grind, and drink, and have some adult fun. Here’s a video from the same party held in Busan on October so you can see what you’re in for.

beenzino los angeles gif

via jazzyfact @ Tumblr

Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: Beenzino

3. No Kids

Speaking of adult fun, the event is 18+ to party, 21+ to drink. Sorry kiddos, this is not the place for you. If you’ve ever been to a K-Pop show being over 18 yourself, you will have noticed the herds of teenagers, thus making you feel a little odd being there. This show however will have none of that. You’ll be able to turn up without someone complaining they can’t see their oppa. Or at least we hope so…

beenzino in la up all night gif

via drunkenanimal @ Tumblr

4. Small Venue

The fact that the event will be held at a club means that you’ll get the chance to see Beenzino in a small, more intimate and dynamic setting. It will feel as if you’re seeing an emerging artist or a regular hip hop show rather than an established artist who’s already famous. Furthermore, because of the size of the event and venue, hopeful attendees who purchase the different VIP tickets will get a chance to meet and greet Beenzino and even attend the sound check prior to the show.

beenzino la up all night

via xlinahx @ Tumblr

5. He’s Hot

Not to objectify him and say that him being crazy attractive is the reason to go watch his show, but it’s definitely a contributing factor. The way he carries himself onstage with full confidence and that little smug smirk give him a strong stage presence which make his performances great. Moreover, there’s just something very hot about a guy being fashion conscious and dressing stylish, which Beenzino has down, obviously. Check out the promo video for his LA and NYC shows looking hot and fly as hell:

Also on KultScene: Playlist Sunday: Korean Rap Edition

Beenzino’s Up All Night party presented by KTOWN Night Market in L.A. will be held at 333 Live on December 6th. Tickets start at $40 for general admission. The New York City show will he held a day prior at Stage48 (this event is 21+). For more info, go here.

beenzino la up all night gif

via thetakeone @ Tumblr

Are you going to Beenzino’s show? Because we’re going! Let us know 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.

[Picture by Cheonbong Ko for Freshness]

Artist Spotlight: Beenzino

K-Hip hop artist Beenzino creates a world with his music where fashion, art, and music blend. His lyrics contain various sexual innuendos that are tastefully depicted, the love for surrealist artists like Salvador Dali, high fashion, and his love for women. Beenzino rose from the underground hip-hop scene, and is a free spirit that never compromises his artistic identity.

Growing up in New Zealand, Lim Sung Bin developed a love and admiration for hip-hop music. At first, he couldn’t understand the foreign lyrics, but that helped him develop his flow. After this, he began writing lyrics that would be relatable to people, thus creating a bigger connection with his audience. His stage name persona, Beenzino, is a tribute and parody to American rapper Benzino and a play on his name Sung Bin.

Fast forward to today, Beenzino is pursued by many artists to be featured in their songs. He is one of the best rappers in Korea, with his very unique flow and artistic sensibility. He  incorporates a lot of singing onto his tracks (unlike other rappers that only rap) that create a very cool and melodic experience in his tracks.

Beenzino

The 27-year-old rapper is currently signed with The Quiett and Dok2’s independent record label Illionaire Records, and has two albums in his roster. His first mini album 24:26 was released in 2012, and has collaborations with Dynamic Duo and labelmates The Quiett and also Dok2. The music takes you back to the ‘90s, when hip-hop was a its peak. Some songs, especially Boogie On & On, really make you want to stand up and dance. This song really highlights his singing voice, which is very smooth and has a very unique color.

Dali, Van, Picasso was only released as a single, but is a very powerful track. Beenzino really dug deep within himself while writing the lyrics of this song. He lets us know how much he loves these three artists and how they shaped his life and artistic sensibility. He makes powerful statements of who he is as an artist, what he wants to become, and where he wants to take his music in the future. This track is Beenzino’s self-portrait.

With his second album Up All Night, released July 2014, he continued with his signature funky, hip-hop vibe. He still shows his love for fashion and art throughout the album. His first single How Do I Look? talks about how he loves to look fashionable and chic and definitely loves a woman who appreciates fashion as much as he does.

Beenzino How Do I Look

The highlight track of the album is without a doubt the title track Up All Night featuring Mayson The Soul. Beenzino lets go of all his emotions, and this is what really makes the track so memorable. You can feel his suffering from the way he raps and sings in the song. Not only that, but the lyrics are intense and portray a feeling of sadness, regret, and hate.

When it comes to Beenzino’s music, there is no comparison to any other artists out there. He is very unique and his music really takes you places. Not only are his lyrics are relatable, but they also make you feel like you are digging into his life. Even if Beenzino is collaborating with K-Pop artists like HAT:FELT and Lee Hyori, hip-hop camarades like Dok2, or K-indie artist Zion T, he always injects his special touch to every collaboration.

Do you like Beenzino as much as we do? What do you think about his work? We’d love to hear you thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,