Hip-hop is enjoying its highest glory days in the current music world. On broadcast days of shows like “Show Me The Money”, “Unpretty Rapstar”, hip-hop singers sweep off the portal sites keyword rankings and their names stay high on the music charts. As the number of artists turning naturally to hip-hop is growing, a fast reversal in quality that is growing bigger is happening. As we can talk about a “Korean hip-hop renaissance”, the “Meeting Hip-hop” corner will present you various musicians that lead the over and underground scene.
t/n: this is an on-going series.
○ For what I want to do, for the music I want to do
○ The place where I stand is my stage
○ My nickname “Gun Rapper”, I don’t want to be limited to this
“I’m very happy that there are more and more opportunities for hip-hop singers. They gain strength as the numbers of places where rappers can perform and battle freely increase. Of course, it can also encourage in a positive way those who are dreaming to be rappers and who are preparing for it. It can give them the dream that it will come true if they don’t give up and take on this challenge.”
In 2008, Pento released his first album “Pentoxic” and entered the music world. He met fans with hip-hop songs such as “Microsuit”, “You Never Know” with fresh lyrics and creative rhythms. His third album “ADAM” was composed with songs filled of his music roots among the songs he had been working on since 2012. His title track “MMM (Money. My Motivator)” is a song that conveys Pento’s message to the public about getting things done.
◆ For what he wants to do, for the music he wants to do
“I put the things I wanted to say the most into my title track. Music was my goal and money was a mean, but I think money became a goal at some point. I worried within ideals and reality, but money was also necessary to do the music that I wanted. I couldn’t not take into consideration the realistic aspect, but I wanted to show that you shouldn’t lose hope and you must go all in for what you want to do.”
The thing to pay attention to in Pento’s 3rd album isn’t just his straightforward lyrics that reflect reality. The first track of this album starts from number 25 like any other.
“It’s sad to finish things with just one album. That’s why I began adding numbers. I released my first album and my second album, and I made each of them as a block. I was determined to make some kind of omnibus project that would keep going. Each one is different, but I wanted to make music without this sense of difference despite the fact I was mixing them into one. I want to make albums like a series similar to the “Begins” concept in cinema.”
◆ The place where I stand is my stage
With the beginning of this ambitious dream to make music, doing activities on the underground scene was a big help. Pento left his hometown Pohang and started doing activities with 45RPM in Daejeon. Once he moved to Seoul, he mostly met the audiences in clubs in places like Gangnam or Hongdae.
“There was no organized stage separately. The place where I stand becomes my stage. Of course I performed in the street and places like the U.S Army. I was very stubborn, but when I think about it now, it’s a memory that makes me smile. I think being on any stage turns it into my own space when I stand in front of an audience. Thanks to this experience, I’m able to stand confidently on any stage.”
The cruel reality is that no matter how much you want to stand in front of an audience, everything is meaningless if there’s no audience to listen to you. Pento also has some concerns about that.
“I think fine arts must be seen to be valuable. Music must be heard to have effective value. Some of my songs exist because the audience can like them. There are fans who like my songs now, but I want to create songs that can be loved by much more people. If the number of people who listen to my music increase little by litte, it gives me even more strength as an artist.”
◆ My nickname “Gun Rapper”, I don’t want to be limited to this
Pento is living in his own lane in order to do the music he wants to. He aims to live without going in just one direction or being confined into a mold.
“My nickname is “Gun Rapper” because my rap is offbeat. I like having this nickname, but I think I shouldn’t show only one thing because I’d be confined to this name. I don’t want to be confined in categories like if you rap, it’s hip-hop, if you’re a singer, it’s a ballad. You eat three times a day, but your meal is different every day. I want to show to the audience a music that is unusual like this.”
As a conclusion, Pento revealed his pride. It was a time naturally filled with his passion for the music he chose.
“You usually get three lifetime opportunities. Maybe I’ve missed all of them or maybe they haven’t come yet, but this is the only thing I can be confident about. The fact that I chose music. That’s why I think making music right now is the biggest opportunity and gift life gave me. I will greet you with diverse music.”
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress