[April 2015 – Vogue] Cheetah – Interview

Vogue - Cheetah

When Cheetah appeared on the stage of “Unpretty Rapstar”, I had the premonition that the throne’s shift of generation was happening. Like the cheetah which is the fastest running mammal, her rap is fast and sharp. She moves freely on stage where her innate swag can be seen. However, she even expresses indifference to any uproar. It only seemed that a new species called Cheetah who belonged to the mankind had appeared. As she began ranking number 1 starting from the first mission, Cheetah’s existence wasn’t something that would volatilize fast. With her “kki” rhyme in “My type is someone with more sex appeal than me, even if I don’t say it, a bastard who shows me through actions”, she seized “My Type”, the song produced by Verbal Jint and she sang with Kangnam and Jessi. She created a sea of tears during her “Coma ’07” performance that told her own real life experience and she did an all-kill on the charts the next day. All through the broadcast period, she never left the center of the attention and she ended up winning this 2-month journey as she was the main name of the final track. And right now, though the heavens fall on the music charts, Cheetah’s songs can be heard in any place where many people gather. Some said female rappers belonged to a “low-level job for a minority” [?], but the time for the female rappers to shine is finally here.

“It was like the Dark ages. I’ve been preparing myself, but I had so many concerns because the realistic conditions didn’t help me. Like for my age. I’m 25 now and I’ve been on the scene for nearly 10 years, but my name wasn’t known and I didn’t earn money. I received the offer to do this filming at a time when I was seriously wondering to myself if I should keep doing music.” She debuted in the group Blacklist in 2010. Two years later, she released an album under the group Masterpiece with Crush, but she didn’t receive much attention.

For the past ten years, it seemed that there was no female rapper to follow after Yoon Mirae and the genre was unpopular. To be honest, she’s been loving dancing and singing ever since she was a kid, so she even dropped out of high school. As it was revealed, the fact that she became a rapper was because of a traffic accident and she was even put into an articial coma. “Because of the accident, it became harder for me to actually sing. However, I had to keep making music, but I didn’t know how at first and I just threw myself blindly into anything. Then I started falling for hip-hop little by little. Being able to reveal emotion through art gave me exaltation. There were almost no song that could do it with a rap only done by a woman. I thought it was a niche market. (laugh) I had this vague belief that if I was the one to do well, it would put it into the light one day.” It seems to be a mix between unwavering tenacity and sharp insight. Among the other 9 female rappers in the show, there was no controversy about her unique talent and personality. And what speficially stands out is her rap that hits straight without losing its flavor. Through her lyrics, she unfolds her unique stories as she waited for the day of her breakthrough. This is the result of her expressing herlsef completely thanks to these moments she spent focusing on this. It was a time when she went to acting school just for her pronounciation, she read books out loud to monitor herself. “My hardware is a bit unrivaled. It’s nice to have my own engine, so it’s a bit hard for others to imitate me, right? (laugh)”.

Her lyrics like “it’s a jungle where no flower bloom, I reject becoming a flower, so I’ll become a wild animal, a bush” were also surprising, but the song that made Cheetah recorded her peak was “Coma 07′”. What made her overcome the resurrection experience that brain death is is nothing but her strong will power. Cheetah says that she hoped people would find comfort through this song. “I wrote the lyrics while hoping that people would think “this girl is rapping on stage now, although she experienced such hard times. I won’t give up either and I will live hard”.” However, she doesn’t think about things like her childhood or today or her music direction. There’s also no theme she wants to definitely use for her lyrics. She thinks that doing music while planning up something is a poison and a mistake. It’s only about the emotions she feels here and there in the moment. Each mission, she did everything herself. And it extended to her hair, makeup and styling. “Hair, makeup, fashion, they’re all an aspect of music. To me, every one of these things come together, like I think it’s just one genre. Styling is only a way to communicate the lyrics I wrote.” Between her very short hairstyle and eye-line that no calligrapher can imitate, this became Cheetah’s trademark, but it can change anytime.

“I’m the type to try many things when it comes to clothes. Sometimes, I wear slippers and training suits and I go out. Sometimes, I get all dressed-up with high fashion and I go to a pojangmacha to have a glass of soju. Sometimes, it can be interesting to mistmatch your outfit and the situation. I call it “situation collab” and I have fun.”

There are many things she likes like cooking, jet-skiing, hiking, shopping, pets and she writes her lyrics with such interests and it makes you want to call her “old wise man”. Cheetah is a rapper with the engine always turned on so that she might even share untold stories about fishing one day. “If you look at my life as a movie, right now is the trailer. I hope I will be able to make a full movie that is even more interesting than the trailer. What happens from now on is more important, right?”. It is planned that Cheetah will stand on stage again by the end of May with an album that she thinks of as “good music no matter what”. By making us listen to the stories that no one but her can tell, by completing stories. Cheetah who spits and swallows her rap a thousand times has now started racing on a sparkling shining beat.

Vogue
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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