An Interview with Korean Underground Rapper Vasco

If I were to mention the name Vasco in a conversation with friends most would look at me in wonder, while a select few would nod their heads and jump into a long conversation with me. A skilled underground rapper who has worked with the likes of Huckleberry P, Swings and Zico (Block B), Vasco is known for being a key player in the underground hip-hop scene and a huge talent.

Whilst he had a hit song in 2007 with 덤벼라 세상아 (Attack the World) from his 2nd album of the same name he has instead decided to stick with his roots and remain underground continuing to make high quality music. He remains a highly sought after artist for fellow artists to collaborate with and has recently been featured on girl group D-Unit’s latest song ‘Stay Alive’ from their upcoming album. Still he continues to work on solo projects and tracks with other artists.

With so much work to do (he is also a family man) we were lucky to be able to do an interview with one of Korean underground hip-hop’s leading rappers.

Firstly what is the hip-hop culture like in Korea? (From your point of view)

Hip-hop culture in Korea represents freedom and ‘swag’. That is all that can be said.

There is a rise of interest in Korean music outside of K-pop in counties outside of Korea now. Do you think it’s a good point for artists to aim their music at this wider audience?

It’s all good but k-pop idol stars are focused on the visual side way too much. They need to improve their skills. Not just their outlook. If they can’t then this whole k-pop hallyu thing is going to stop I believe.

Currently hip-hop is being used as a concept by idols in Korea a lot more than in the past few years, what are your thoughts on this change?

I think that’s the biggest problem. They don’t know how to rap. They just want to rap because it represents ‘swag’ and is ‘cool’. But they know nothing about rhymes and they don’t know how to spit. They just act like the rappers here, they’re not living it… our lives. That’s why this won’t last long.

You are known as a ‘veteran’ in the Korean underground hip-hop scene, do you have much recognition from international fans?

Some but not many, mainly fans from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Russia know of me.

A lot of the work you have done has been with other artists, who would you say are some of the most interesting people you have had the opportunity of working with?

Swings, his got a sick flow when he raps, sick rhymes but mostly he has punch lines!

Do you feel that more could be done to highlight Korean rappers within the media?
I don’t know. Maybe… ?

You come across as someone that is able to apply yourself to both the mainstream and the underground scene but which outlet are you more comfortable with when producing your music? 

The underground is like my home. I was born here, raised here and I think I will live here forever. I love my home ground. Plus I never really did mainstream thing, I had about 1 or 2 shows then stopped.

Do you have any plans for the next year musically?

For 2013 I’m planning on dropping about 3 albums, a fourth EP and a mix tape.


We would like to thank Vasco for taking the time to do a interview with us. You can follow him on twitter and please look out for his future work.

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Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.
  • momo

    terrible representative for the korean hiphop community to interview.
    vasco has skills, but he isn’t the best in reciprocating a good image for the depth that the underground khiphop community actually have. his answers are lacking.

  • InspiritRed

    This interview would be better if Dok2 or The Quiett is interviewed here. 😐 Vasco’s main problem is his personality. Even a veteran should not behave like he knows everything in his world.