Inside Korean Hip Hop: Interview with Dynasty Muzik founder and artists

We all feel we know more than others when it comes to subject matters we are passionate about. I myself hold my hands up and admit that I feel that I could easily identify more Korean Underground Rappers than the average person (I would even happily take it as my specialist subject on any daytime TV game show). However I am able to acknowledge that I do not know everything. But why would I? I am simply a fan of the music, I am not someone living and breathing it and working hard to be acknowledged in a system which ultimately runs internationally on idols and ‘innocent’ pop.

Yes, you do hear about underground artists now but very rarely do we get to see behind the artists and get the opportunity to take a closer look at their companies. One such company who is very rarely publicised by Korean hip-hop fans is Dynasty Muzik. We were lucky enough to interview Founder and Chief Operator of Dynasty Muzik Snacky Chan and ask how he ensures his artists stand out amongst the crowd.

Snacky Chan

Can you tell our readers a little about Dynasty Muzik and the artists under management with you?

I started Dynasty Muzik back in 2003 while I was still in the United States.  I was an unsigned artist for most of my career and just to make my CDs look more official we would put the Dynasty Muzik logo on the back of them.  We did everything on our own; recording, marketing, promotion, you name it.  After a while, other artists saw what I was doing and asked for my help and that’s when my label started to take off.

I moved to Korea about 5 years ago and re-established Dynasty when I signed the Money Maker$ in 2011.  It’s still pretty much a family affair with a small staff and limited resources but we do the very best with what we have.

As of now we have three acts; myself, the Money Maker$ (Bron and J-Flow), and another solo act by the name of MSG.  We do eventually want to add more artists to the roster, but would prefer it to be an organic process, with people we admire and have a close relationship with.

Unlike bigger companies you rely on the use of social networking sites such as YouTube, Soundcloud and your company site (which doubles as a blog) to promote the artists you represent to the public. Do you feel this more ‘intimate’ form of connecting with the fans is better in the long run for positive public response?

Besides live shows, it’s pretty much the only avenue we have to promote our music at the moment.  Getting any kind of placement on a publicly broadcasted program is very complicated and extremely expensive.  Also, the country is really strict with what material can be seen or heard by the public.  That’s why most of the K-Pop you hear is super-clean and innocent.  Hip hop is traditionally at its best when it’s raw and truthful.  So we are just trying to highlight the positives we have and do the things that K-Pop can’t.  In the end, we won’t be able to beat the system, but hopefully our fans will help us survive.

As a company how do you ensure that the artists you work with stick out?

The most important thing to have is a good eye for talent.  No matter how much you teach someone how to dance, sing, rap, if they are not naturally gifted with it, it will show.  The public really doesn’t know it yet, but my artists are stars.  It’s just a matter of making them notice, and we do that by getting big-name features, shooting music videos, and performing live.  It takes time, but slowly they begin to see it and that’s when the wheels start turning.

With government support more aimed towards selling k-pop to an international fan base how does your company appeal to international fans?

Well unlike most of the underground labels out here, we focus on YouTube.  With YouTube we can reach a worldwide audience and we feel that in the end, that’s what will pay off.  We also translate lyrics, updates, and other information into English so that people outside of Korea can understand what we’re trying to do.  Translating is very tedious, but our international fans are precious to us and we’d rather do the work for you.

We asked each of the artists a couple of questions to get their perspectives on how hip-hop is present in their lives:

MSG

Firstly can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello everyone I’m MSG!

Which artists (Korean & International) influence you?

Among Korean artists I would say Verbal Jint and P-Type.  I’m also a fan of Paloalto.  I also enjoy listening to new artists in the scene.  Anything hip hop is good in my book.

Which musicians would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Verbal Jint recently did a track with Jo Young Pil who is considered a legend.  I’m very envious because I would love to work with him too.  It would really be a tremendous honour.  Also, later on, if possible, I would love to work with some artists from Japan like Ego Wrappin’, AKLO, Zeebra, and Daishi Dance.

Who are you currently listening to?

Currently I’m listening to Omarion, Tank, The Dream… a lot of R & B.  I also fell in love with Nas’s most recent album ‘Life is Good’.

How would you describe the Korean underground hip-hop culture to an outsider?

The age of the internet has really influenced us much more-so than Korean artists in the past.  Just like there are many different styles of hip hop in the US, Korea now has artists with various styles which makes our underground culture more interesting.

What does hip-hop mean to you?

Hip hop is a way to prove that I exist.

J-FLOW

Firstly can you introduce yourself to our readers?

What’s up everyone, this is J-Flow of hip hop duo Money Maker$!

Which artists (Korean & International) influence you?

I don’t really discriminate when it comes to hip hop related music.  I listen to it all just to see what everyone is doing.  When I first started getting into hip hop my main influence was from American hip hop music.  American artists have a lot of charisma and that’s what made me get into it at first.  Recently, the music I get influenced by has no rap in it.  I’m listening to more instrumental albums like Flying Lotus and Shlohmo, etc.

Which musicians would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Hmm, there are too many to name but if I had to choose one, it would be Kanye West.

Who are you currently listening to?

Lately, like I said before, I’m listening to a lot of Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, Odd Future, and xxyyxx.

How would you describe the Korean underground hip-hop culture to an outsider?

The Korean underground hip hop scene has its own culture.  I think it has its own appeal, even to the listeners from overseas.  We have certain melodies and musical arrangements that are specific to our country.  We have a unique way of rhyming, since our language is Korean.  Our culture is very unique so people can get inspired by new things when they listen to Korean music.  You can just think of it as hip hop from another world; just like Japan has their own style and interpretation of hip hop.

What does hip-hop mean to you?

Hip hop is the most important thing in my life.  It taught me about life when I was young and naive.  It helped me realize many things I never knew before.  This realization is helping me to mature as a person and musically.  It’s a part of me and I don’t think anyone can take it away.

BRON

Firstly can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Umm…I go by the name of Bron, I like music and I want to be a man transformed into music.

Which artists (Korean & International) influence you?

I was more influenced by foreign artists than Korean.  For example, Tyga, Drake, Lil Wayne, Odd Future, Pharrell, etc. the best.

Which musicians would you like to collaborate with in the future?

I would like to collab with G-Dragon, and the guys I mentioned above!

Who are you currently listening to?

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Japanese music like Minmi, Nujabes, Free Tempo, etc.

How would you describe the Korean underground hip-hop culture to an outsider?

We still have a lot to improve, however, there are very talented people hidden beneath the surface.

What does hip-hop mean to you?

Hip hop to me is like a girl with a nice ass in the club haha!

Thank you to Dynasty Muzik (Snacky Chan, MSG and Money Maker$) for sparing us some time to answer a few questions.

Follow and Support:

Dynasty Muzik on Facebook & Twitter

Snacky Chan on Facebook & Twitter

Money Maker$ on Facebook & Twitter

MSG on Twitter

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Sasha

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

    nice article

  • Jacqueline

    Korean Hip Hop is truly unique and coming into it’s own in a seriously for real musically genius way. The artist has taken what they have learned from American artist and elevated Korean Hip Hop to an art form all its own. Kpop wish it could be as dynamic as Underground Korean Hip Hop. One Love.