[August 2016 – Grazia] “Show Me The Money” isn’t a music program – Interview

“Show Me The Money 5″‘s Choi Hyo Jin PD and writer Lee Jung Hee discuss the show back story. And their favorite performances.

I couldn’t imagine that the main PD and writer were both women. Because it’s a program oozing a masculine vibe.

Hyo Jin: we’ve been working together since “Show Me The Money 4”. It’s a hip-hop themed program, so there’s the prejudice that a man should be the PD. It was also a program designed at first to make such prejudice disappear.

It seems that both of you have a deep knowledge about hip-hop.

Hyo Jin: Hip-hop is a music with a strong fanbase locally. I’m not an expert, but it’s a music I’ve liked for a long time.
Jung Hee: We both like it. There are things I naturally learned while working on this program. I can relate to the inherent message hip-hop gives. Working on this program made me care about it.

How long have you been working on this show?

Hyo Jin: The first episode I planned was in December 2015, I think. We pulled all-nighters nearly every day for 10 months to be here today.
Jung Hee: The first audition round was in March. The first broadcast was in May. Before that, we had to release the ads, to find the producers, locations, and schedule performances. And for this season, we had an audition round in the US too. Compared to the many things we had to do simultaneously, the planning phase usually doesn’t take long.

What was the hardest moment while filming “Show Me The Money”?

Hyo Jin: The first round audition. There were about 9,000 contestants. Then, the producers pick them out one by one. Filming took up to 30 hours. I didn’t sit even once until it was over.
Jung Hee: The next day, almost no one in the staff could walk. Some had bruises on their feet or disk symptoms, so they went to the hospital (laughs).

Compared to last season, there was less “evil editing” controversy, less “sensational vibe”. On the contrary, it felt like there was a switch to follow an emotion code?

Hyo Jin: To be honest, there wasn’t much change in the editing. There was a lot of controversies last year, so there was a cringing aspect from the editor point of view. However, I think we couldn’t change scenes to make them witty or dramatic through editing just because we say so.

Lee Jung Hee, what do you think?

Jung Hee: This “evil editing” is very old news. To be honest, “Show Me The Money” is closer to a reality program than to a show because we follow the contestants discussions and the flow of their actions. This is how hip-hop is. It’s about rappers talking about themselves and delivering a message through their lyrics. This aspect is being highlighted, so you can relate to their drama and the emotion goes according to the person.

Do you mean it’s like a documentary in a way?

Hyo Jin: It’s a program people watch. They can find it fun, they can get angry and cuss as they watch it, so it’s because it gives emotions like this. We also talk about it among us. “”Show Me The Money” isn’t a music program?”. If it were a hip-hop music program, it would be enough to shoot a pretty picture. However, we make a program telling people stories. Hip-hop is an element to talk about these things.

Some comments say that it’s more advantageous to rappers who are already active or famous than to rookie rappers.

Hyo Jin: There was a bit of a change in the format this year, but the original goal of the program didn’t change. It’s not a national audition show. It’s closer to a “rappers survival” concept. The key point is “do they have the card to handle it when they suddenly receive a mission and battle”. It’s possible that rappers who are already active get this survival feeling because they learn some stuff as they work on successful songs and perform them.

There was a controversy around the early elimination of Junoflo and Hash Swan who had showed some skills. Do you think luck is also a skill like the producers said back then?

Jung Hee: Of course. When you’re in good condition, there are times when things turn out well and there are times when they don’t. Like our slogan says “Korea’s first rapper survival”, we provide equal conditions and missions. The rest is up to the contestants. Some rappers were eliminated early because luck wasn’t on their side when they were up against someone else. Some rappers like G2 got on stage right after having an appendectomy.

Which moment made you happy while filming “Show Me The Money”?

Jung Hee: When I see contestants whose career turns out well after the show. Hip-hop is mainstream, but so many rappers are still in the shadow. They endure it all and give up many things just for music. Through “Show Me The Money”, the rapper perfomance fees rise and they get more offers to perform too, their name value gets bigger. Seeing this makes me happy as if they were my children.
Hyo Jin: I respect/admire all the contestants. They write their own lyrics, they create their own music. I know more than anyone this sense of urgency.

So on the contrary, which aspect do you think is unfortunate?

Hyo Jin: The L.A qualification round is still on my mind. The planning stage was short and it was the first time we did something like this, so many things were lacking. I wish we’d have been more thorough in our market investigation and introduced more rappers.
Jung Hee: I saw comments saying “why did you go the States? It was a national embarrassment.” It was a nice goal to hear the stories of rappers being active where hip-hop was born. We wanted to show the goals, the joys and sorrow of the ones doing hip-hop close to the original, the Korean rappers who are active in L.A, but our preparation kind of fell short. I wonder if going through this experience won’t makes it better in the next season?

DO NOT TAKE OUT.
DO NOT SCREENCAP.

Grazia

Translation: @thesunnytown

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