The hip-hop subculture has been a part of the backyard culture or the street culture, as some may call it, for over 40 years now. Initially created in the ghettos of New York as a means of expression mostly for the black communities in the USA, hip-hop caught on and spread like wildfire around the globe. To some, hip-hop is a way of life, while others recognise it as the most politicised of music genres. Hip-hop grew to become the most rebellious musical genre, its growth fuelled by the genre greats – 2Pac, Biggy, LL Cool J, Ice T, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Yelawolf, Eminem, to name just a few. While today, hip-hop might not be seen as original as it was during the time of Kool Herc and Kevin Donovan, it branched out and took on various interpretations and forms. That is why hip-hop is now considered to be not the voice of a single generation, but the voice of several generations. It subdivided to speak to different people of different ages – and different nationalities, including that of South Korea.

A fair number of Korean rappers are so good at what they do that they have been swiping the world off its feet with their powerful sounds and first-class rapping. One of them is Lee Joon-kyung, a.k.a Dok2Gonzo, who recently came to London as a part of his Canadian and European Tour and performed at the legendary SCALA, a music venue that hosted the likes of Coldplay, Deftones, Foo Fighters, Doomtree and The Chemical Brothers.

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Photo © Jinny Park Photography for View of the Arts (All Rights Reserved) 

The clock stroke 8 pm when Dok2 hit London’s Scala stage with a big bang and with the first song of the night, the 2016 Beverly 1lls, the crowd quickly lost itself in the sound of his music. Rain Shower (밖에 비온다 주룩주룩) and 2chains & Rollies followed and it became evident that the South Korean rapper took the performance very much seriously, as a great opportunity to showcase his extraordinary talents and to generate buzz around his music.

Dok2 surely shines with his own style. On the level of the mighty Yelawolf’ and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, the rapper combines fast rap with smooth melodies very well, which was highlighted during his performance in London. He fired verses off like a machine gun at times and was able to consistently rap for a decent period of time – something that brings Tech N9ne’s style into mind. The gathered crowd was clearly thrilled to hear a couple of ‘oldies’, Future Flame and DON, and responded to both songs with deafening screams. If one could grasp Korean language in full, understanding Dok2’s repertoire would have been so much easier, but just one look at the translated lyrics is enough to realise that the young man is a talented lyricist as well.

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Photo © Jinny Park Photography for View of the Arts (All Rights Reserved) 

As a performer, Dok2 is a pro; he didn’t see the need for over-long pep-talks; when he did speak to the audience, he made it short and to the point – his interaction with fans while he rapped made for a refreshing sight. The rapper, like a steam train and with a great pace, performed one song after the other without missing a beat. Spirit of Ecstasy111% and In My Whip cemented him as one of the best South Korean rappers. The artist’s rap flow was superb; his voice fitted the beat rhythmically and it was smooth to the audience’s ears, whether they could or could not understand Korean language. Later, Dok2 also performed hits such as Rockin wit the Best, Multimillionaire, 1llusion, Wattup

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Photo © Jinny Park Photography for View of the Arts (All Rights Reserved) 

The show reached its climax when an unexpected guest appeared on stage: Double K, a rapper who made a name for himself a while back. The bond between the two artists was evident as Dok2 expressed his gratitude to the man for accompanying him on the tour and their 20 years of friendship. The duo performed a few songs together and owned the stage that night; in addition, Double K also showed off his full rapping skills with his OMG song, which literally swept the crowd off their feet.

Dok2 ended the show with the powerful Hip Hop and left the stage as fast as he appeared on it, the entire experience making one thing clear: the rapper not only brought blistering energy to his London stage, but he also proved that South Korean hip-hop artists are a force to be reckoned with.

Rating: 5 stars

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Photos © Jinny Park Photography for View of the Arts (All Rights Reserved) 

Written by Maggie Gogler

Edited by Sanja Struna

 

 

 

 

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About View of the Arts

We are enthusiasts of the arts, passionate about cinema, theatre, and literature. Maggie is a freelance film producer, production manager and she also works with children. Sanja is a freelance translator, occasional writer and a perpetual dreamer. Film is her first and longest-lasting love. Roxy is an Arts Journalist, who writes for several magazines and websites.

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