Korean-American rapper Flowsik, acclaimed for his confrontational, aggressive musical approach, has helped popularize Korean hip-hop and its vibrant culture in the United States market as the leader of global hip-hop/R&B trio Aziatix.
In 2016, Flowsik released the single "Eung Freestyle" with fellow rappers Sik-K, Punchnello and Own Ovadoz, and the song's music video has surpassed 30 million YouTube views. In the song, he fused rap with elements of traditional Korean music to create a sound Korea had never heard before.
At the end tail of last year, he launched a project to release a single every month or two. His sophomore single "Kari" released in December is even more daring than its predecessor "Bbung," released in October.
Flowsik's lyrics of real-life stories and relationships are what make him one of the most daring figures in Korean hip-hop.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, the 34-year-old rapper is willing to elevate Korean hip-hop and pave the way for a new generation of Korean rappers to cross over to the U.S. market.
Q. Tell us about the latest single "Kari," which was released in December.
"Kari," in Korean, is a slang term, an adjective that describes someone or something as cool or having swag. As a person from New York and being a part of the street culture, I wanted to show the world where hip-hop came from, which is New York. I believe there are a lot of young rappers today that do not know much about the culture, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to show it.
Q. Is there a reason you prefer a Korean title for each song?
Being based in Korea and me representing my roots, I thought it would be pretty cool to have short titles in Korean. Even foreign fans can learn a few Korean slang terms as well!
Q. What is the main message you wanted to deliver in "Kari"?
Hip-hop brings everyone together. One of our video shoots was right in the middle of Harlem, New York, and we had about 100 people come together, all races, all different colors and ethnicities, for the sake of hip-hop. This is by far the most beautiful picture that can be drawn in the hip-hop culture. Hip-hop is supposed to unify everyone, where people can enjoy each other's differences and similarities.
Q. I heard you plan to release a new single every month. How did you come up with the project?
To be honest, the past two years were pretty rough and it sort of affected my timeline of releases. I felt like I haven't really shown enough to my fans, so I've decided to dedicate every single month to new releases for the sake of my fans.
Q. For the last few years, hip-hop has enjoyed mainstream popularity in Korea. I think rap competition series, including "Show Me the Money," played a huge role in that. Why do you think Koreans ― especially young people ― are drawn so much to hip-hop music?
Hip hop is about having fun. Young people want to have fun. Hip-hop is something where you can sort of let loose, be yourself, not care too much about what others think of you, and just be yourself. This is why it's such a good match with young people.
Q. When you go on a tour, can you feel that K-pop and K-hip-hop are being recognized all over the world? Do you think there's more space for K-hip-hop to grow?
Because of global streaming services and the internet, K-pop and K-hip-hop are continuously gaining traction worldwide. There's always space for these genres to grow, I just feel like it can't be done by one or two people. It requires a lot of good artists and good music and content to make that growth absolute.
Q. What's your big dream for 2019?
I'd like to continue to release top notch music, gain more of an international fan base and make my mark in the U.S. I would also like to see my flowies/flotatoes (Flowsik's fan base) all over the world this year so a world tour is ideal.
source: The Korea Daily