Friday, January 24, 2014

Yoo Seung-Joon, Pionerring Rap in Korea

Yoo Seung-Joon [유승준]

Years of Activity:  1997-2002 (Active in China from 2002-present)

West Side (1997)
For Sale 1998 V2 (1998)
Now or Never (1999)
Over and Over (1999)
Summit Revival (2000)
Infinity (2001)
Permission: Promise of Jun [승낙 - Promise of Jun] (2006)
Rebirth of YSJ (2007)

Representative Song:  Nanana from For Sale 1998 V2


기억하고 있니 어릴 적 예쁜 꿈들을
Do you remember those pretty dreams when you were young
모두 다 이룰 수 있을 것 같던 시간들
The times when everything seemed possible
소망을 꿈꾸며 주문을 외었지
We dreamed hope and recited a spell

시간이 지나고 세상에 지쳐 갈때쯤
As the time passed and by the time I got tired from the world
꿈은 그저 꿈일 뿐인걸 알게 됐지만
I learned that dream is just a dream
어릴적 주문을 아직 노래 하네
But I still sing the spell from my childhood

언제나 힘들고 지칠 때 날 일으켜 주던 꿈이 가득한 이 노랠 했어
I sang this song full of dreams that picked me up whenever I was in pain and fatigue
나나나나 나나나나 나나나나 나나나나
Nananana nananana nananana nananana
어두워진 가리워진 나의 길을 밝혀주는 이 노래를 함께 해봐
Sing this song with me that illuminates my darkened hidden way

난 그냥 되는 되는데로 살았었지
I just lived as the life took me
간섭받기 싫어 그냥 피했던 거지
Didn't want to be told what to do, just avoided everything
내일의 두려움도 필요없어
Didn't need to fear tomorrow either
그런 막막함이 내 시간만 좀먹었었어
Being at a loss like that ate away my time
그러다 내 어릴적 꿈을 보았었지
Then I saw the dream from my childhood
거친 바람속 내 어릴 적 노랠 들었지
In the roaring wind, heard my childhood song
그래 이건 아니었어 용서할 수 없어
That's right, this isn't it, this is unforgivable
다시 나를 살린 이 노래를 불렀었지
Sang this song that made me live again

어느샌가 내게 찾아온 사랑을 위해
For the love that came to me without even me noticing
그렇게도 나를 애태운 그대를 위해
For you who worried so much for me like that
영원을 꿈꾸며 주문을 외웠지
I recited the spell dreaming of eternity

피해갈 수 없는 현실에 지쳐갈 때쯤
As I got tired from the inevitable reality
무거워져 가는 걸음에 힘겨울 때면
When I feel pain from the steps that become heavier
어릴 적 주문을 노래하곤 했지
I would sing the spell from when I was young

언제나 힘들고 지칠 때 날 일으켜 주던 꿈이 가득한 이 노랠 했어
I sang this song full of dreams that picked me up whenever I was in pain and fatigue
나나나나 나나나나 나나나나 나나나나
Nananana nananana nananana nananana
어두워진 가리워진 나의 길을 밝혀주는 이 노래를 함께 해봐
Sing this song with me that illuminates my darkened hidden way

자꾸만 어긋나 버리고 퇴색해 버리는 내 꿈을 지키고 싶었어 이루고 싶었어
I wanted to protect my dream, achieve my dream that was going the wrong way, fading away
누구도 가식의 가면을 버리지 않으리 끝끝내 발버둥 칠때에 또 감추려 할때에
Nobody will take off their mask of hypocrisy as they struggle and hide to the bitter end
하늘에 새긴 내 어린 꿈들이 내 귓가에 들려준 이 노래 내 순수의 노래
This song that my childhood dreams in the sky sang into my ears, the song of my innocence
키 작은 아이의 함성과 내 사랑이 내게 들려준 이 노래 지켜갈 이 노래
This song that a shout from short kid and my love sang into me, the song that I will protect

언제나 힘들고 지칠 때 날 일으켜 주던 꿈이 가득한 이 노랠 했어
I sang this song full of dreams that picked me up whenever I was in pain and fatigue
나나나나 나나나나 나나나나 나나나나
Nananana nananana nananana nananana
초라하게 변해버린 나의 꿈을 밝혀주는 이 노래를 함께 해봐
Sing this song with me that illuminates my shriveled dream
Why is this artist important?
Yoo Seung-Joon -- conjointly referred to as his Americans name, Steve Yoo -- is in many ways a pioneering figure in Korean popular culture. Like Solid, Yoo was a Korean Americans creator who brought in components of Americans popular culture -- in his case, rap. And not simply any rap; the aggressive, authority-defying, "thug life" reasonably rap rife in Americans rap at the time. His initial hit song was concerning feeling older ladies (horror of horrors!) The music video for Nanana took it a step additional, displaying Yoo altogether doable variations of thug-life vogue squeeze in Korea -- best fighter in school, romantic liaison with a feminine teacher, etc. Of course, by the standards of nowadays (both in the U.S. and in Korea,) Yoo's attempt at defiance of authority is at the best cute, at the worst laughable. But heck, the primary airplane from the Wright Brothers was also pretty laughable in isolation. What matters is that they try happened, paving the method for others.
But those that are well-versed in K-pop history would recognize that his music isn't the issue that Yoo is remembered in Korea. Yoo's high-flying career met a fiery death in 2002 in a very manner he most likely never expected.
Until that time, Yoo was arguably the largest star in K-pop. Yoo's whole of brash rap was as huge successful because it was back in U.S. His beauty and amicable foreignness from being a Korean American acted as a magnet for screaming fan ladies, arguably the engine of K-pop. In a way, Yoo was LeBron James of his day -- his dominance was that sturdy. However Yoo's fall, whose cause was conjointly basically a PR mistake, was so much deeper and irredeemable than James'.
In 2002, as Korean Americans pop artists more and more appeared in a K - pop scene, the question of obligatory draft reared its head. If a Korean American (loosely defined) could be a Korean national with Americans permanent residency, he's eligible for draft if he earns cash from Korea. There have been some cases during which small-fry Korean Americans pop artists did bound things to avoid being written, that raised suspicion on Korean Americans artists usually.
Yoo was already raising suspicion before 2002. Though on stage, he would interact in rigorous choreography, he managed to induce, grade four in his draft physical with an explicit  explanation for herniated disk, which might assign him to body duties for his military service. However a minimum of he was going, individuals thought -- and Yoo publicly explicit  that he would serve his "holy duty of national defense." He was scheduled  to report for duty in April 2002.
Until he did not. In January 2002, the news that Yoo noninheritable  U.S. citizenship and wouldn't serve his military duty as a result stony-broke -- and Korean society roiled into a rage in a very scale that nobody (and on no account Yoo himself) might have anticipated. What Yoo, who grew up in Southern American state since age thirteen, ne'er quite grasped was, however seriously Korean men took their years of service. Truth is, few men in Korea wish to serve the duty for two. 5 years, micturition away their precious youth. Few ever fancy the military, alternately crammed with bullshit and tedium. However, they nevertheless report for duty, as a result of them need to. They grit their teeth and tolerate the bullshit, as a result of them need to. And after they see somebody who isn't actuation his weight? Then all hell breaks loose.
Yoo bore the total forcefulness of that hell. This was a period of high-speed net in Korea, wherever news unfolds quick and reactions were fast. The keyboard warriors visited work, screaming and howling concerning Yoo's betrayal. The powers that were at the time failed to nevertheless have the flexibility to make out what was legitimate belief and what was malicious troll -- which could not have mattered in Yoo's case finally, since they likely would be steamed all an equivalent. Yoo song concerning serving within the military. All different issues were secondary.
Korea's Ministry of Justice thought-about him to be a draft-dodger, a criminal. As a criminal, Ministry of Justice declared, Yoo wouldn't be able to enter Korea ever once more. Yoo tried to clarify somehow, blaming that it had been his management company that created the choice. However, at the tip of the day, there was no thanks to escape the actual fact that he noninheritable  U.S. citizenship to evade his military duty. He was allowed into Korea just one occasion since then -- in 2003, to attend his father-in-law's observance. Since then, Yoo has been active in China.
Yoo's musical contribution to K-pop was important, however the social impact growing out of his fatal mistake complete up overshadowing everything. Attributable to Yoo, the Koreans began to possess a national speech on topics that weren't mentioned before. What was the worth of military service? However, is that the precise relation between Koreans and Korean Americans? Considering that one in every of the foremost themes of the 2002 presidential election of Korea was that the losing candidate's son suspiciously failed to serve his military duty, a case is created that Yoo Seung-Joon's influence might are larger than anyone else on this list -- an empty consolation to a really proficient musician whose life was broken by his own country.

Interesting Trivia:
  Yoo's vogue, just like the sort of Americans rappers that he emulated, induced lots of hostility from different rappers. In 1998, an outstanding rapper Kim Jin-Pyo rapped, clearly aiming at Yoo:
혹시 그거 아냐? 여기는 미국 아냐
You know something? This isn't America.
얼어죽을 East Side, West Side  외치지만 말고
Stop saying freakin' "East Side, West Side"
제대로 좀 해봐 몇 년 후에 깡통 매봐
And do something real. Or wear a can a few years later. [="go bankrupt and become a beggar."]
그럼 두고두고 땅을 치고 후회할 테니 그럴 테니 하하하하
Then you will regret it for the rest of your life, that's right, hahahaha.
These lines may as well be the most prescient lines ever written in K-pop history.

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