Kero One, a Korean-American rapper, producer and DJ from San Francisco, has been gaining more and more praise throughout the years. He has worked with and been endorsed by artists all over the world from Will.I.am. to Epik High. Now, he has made history. After hearing Kero One’s song ”What Am I Suppose To Do?”, the legendary Stevie Wonder asked the rapper to perform at his Benefit Concert on Dec 15th, 2012.
Watch this behind-the scenes video documenting Kero One’s experience:
Also, check out his latest music video (“R.I.P.”) that premiered earlier this week:
Take a good listen to “What Am I Supposed to Do?” – the lead single off of Kero1′s forthcoming album, set for release in Summer 2012. Featuring a whole lot of soul from Suhn (of the Tones), the song sends a strong message of urging everyone to find something to believe in/fight for.
In addition, 50% of all proceeds of the song’s sales in the first month will be donated directly to Free the Slaves, a charity focused on ending slavery for women, children, and men around the world.
While KPOP’s popularity is undeniably making it’s rounds and creating a Beatles-like sort of pandemonium around the world, let us bring your attention to something just a little different: Korean hip hop. While Korean hip hop may not be on the world map like KPOP, it is definitely an under-appreciated genre that is well deserving of more praise.
The Amoeba Culture Concert was a prime example of that.
What’s there to do during the dreaded Carmageddon weekend? I know some people are opting to stay home so they’re not stuck on the roads all day, but this is the worst week to do it! There’s a lot (and I mean A LOT) of food, drinking and live music in this week’s lineup of events. So fight the traffic for a bit this weekend — it’ll be well worth the drive.
Asian Vegetarian Food & Culture Tour™
When: Friday, July 15, 2:45 pm
Where: NYC Chinatown Tourism Kiosk, 220 Canal Street, Manhattan, NY, 10013
How: Purchase tickets online for $49 (plus a $2.21 convenience fee).
Travel through China in just one day and experience what it offers when it comes to delicacies and home cooked meals. Indulge in barbecue (roasted duck and pork), wonton soup, dim sum(roasted pork bun, or fried sesame ball), Cantonese beef jerky, teas, scallion pancakes and dumplings filled with meats, seafood, and veggies. It’s great to go as a group or on a first date!
KoreAm Journal’s Unforgettable Gala has come and gone. All the glitz and glamour can be a little overwhelming to take in so Audrey breaks it down a bit for you with our Ten Things: Highlights (and lowlights) of Unforgettable.
1) A Jinro Bottle dressed up in a tux brings all the girls to the yard.
Forget the pick-up lines, nice cars and sleek haircut. Because seriously, who can compete with this hunka hunka green chunka glass?
2-5.) We love Parks!
2. We love the gorgeous Park Plaza where Unforgettable was held.
3. We love the adorable Randall Park and how he can make the terribly trying task of being master of the ceremony (entertaining and informative and smart and semi-politically correct) look so easy.
4. We love Heather Park and her silky smooth husky tremor of a voice. We weren’t the only ones crushin’; Brian Joo could not stop raving about the R&B singer. (Park is also featured in the winter issue of Audrey Magazine.)
5. We love Grace Park. The Hawaii 5-0 cutie may be the only person in the world who can forget what she was supposed to say, like, 5 times throughout the night and have the audience still sigh at how adorable she is when she’s forgetful.
6. Poreotics can dance
The America’s Best Dance Crew champs showed what they were made of –which, if you just watch the way they dance, you’d think they were made of feathers and rubber– as they grooved their way into everyone’s hearts. Grace Park totally gave them a shout-out when she went on stage too! If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.
7. Juju Chang’s Acceptance Speech
The always eloquent Juju Chang used her effortlessly eloquent storytelling to show her gratitude for winning her achievement award for the evening. Funny, sweet, poignant, America’s lucky to be able to say good morning to her everyday.
8. Ameriie and Kero One Duet??!
Would this not be the flyest collaboration ever?
9. Thank God for open bars.
Asians are naturally awkward, right? Thanks to sponsors Jinro Hite, we got a little juice to loosen them up and enjoyed a totally poppin’ after-party.
10. No thank you to camera hogs
A sore spot of the evening would have to be those individuals–you know who they are–that hogged the cameras as if it was their oxygen tank. Going through the Unforgettable photo gallery, we couldn’t help but see one or two of these individuals that seem to be in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE with every single person they can possibly grab to stand next to them and pose with. I would post a picture to show you exactly what I mean but that would just be giving those fame whores exactly what they want- more attention. No thanks.
What were some of your highlights and lowlights to Unforgettable? Let Audrey know!
Photos thanks to Mas Chae, tada Chae and Eric Sueyoshi
The Asian American Music Festival 2010 (AAMF) is an event not to be missed this fall. You’ll have October 15, 16 and 17 to choose from, so there’s no excuse for missing out on the international music festival featuring concerts, dance and educational programming. The festival will be held at Los Angeles’ Japanese National Museum.
The AAMF is the world’s leading festival celebrating Asian American music, from jazz, pop, world music, hip-hop and electronica. AAMF celebrates the artistic and creative achievements of Asian American, Asian, and Asian Pacific Islander artists in all genres of music. This year, headliners include ukulele legend Jake Shimabukuro, groundbreaking hip-hop artist Shing02 (“Shing-Oh-2″), and international songstress Charmaine Clamor.
These superstars will be joined by an eclectic lineup of Asian American virtuosos including Jon Jang, Dana Leong, Kero One (we featured his amazing video “On Bended Knee”), Gary Fukushima, Abe Lagrimas, Jr., Noel Okimoto, Emi Meyer, Shanghai Restoration Project, and Sachal Vasandani.
“As a promoter, the only thing better than having a sold-out festival is having a sold-out festival filled from start to finish with music I love. And I really love this festival’s lineup!” says festival founder and director Paul Im. “I’m extremely proud of our programming this year. We’re presenting the most current, culturally relevant, and artistically engaging artists of Asian descent in the world today, all together in a cohesive format. ”
This year’s festival will be celebrated in five movements:
Movement 1 (Friday evening, 10/15): Urbanisms features west coast hip-hop star, Kero One, opening for Dana Leong’s Milk & Jade project which fuses electronica and hip-hop. Movement 1′s headliner is Japanese rapping sensation, Shing02.
Movement 2 (Saturday afternoon, 10/16): Generations is a direct tribute to the Asian American jazz legacy and the API consciousness movement with performances by two generations of leading Asian American pianists, Gary Fukushima and Jon Jang. Movement 2 closes with the world premiere of “Concerto for Jazz Orchestra and Taiko” composed by Jon Jang, performed by The New Asian American Jazz Orchestra directed by Gary Fukushima.
Movement 3 (Saturday evening, 10/16): Stars of the Islands is Hawaiian music night with international pop superstar Jake Shimabukuro headlining. Abe Lagrimas, Jr. and Noel Okimoto open with their vibraphone and drums quartet.
Movement 4 (Sunday Afternoon, 10/17): Angles features Japanese American pop-jazz superstar Emi Meyer opening for Undercover Culture recording group, Shanghai Restoration Project, in a multi-media hip-hop and electronic performance.
Movement 5 (Sunday evening, 10/17): Identity closes AAMF with two stars of unique artistic and cultural identities: singers Sachal Vasandani and Charmaine Clamor in two performances of jazz with world influence.
“This year’s Asian American Music Festival, an evolution from the Asian American Jazz Festival, reflects our decision to celebrate all expressions of music by API artists, no matter the genre,” says Im. “Asian American artists have had rich histories in hip-hop, jazz, world and electronic music. The festival celebrates diversity while focusing on Asian American cultural identity and the API artists who share this connection.”
October 15-17, 2010
Japanese National Museum, 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA
Online ticketing is now available through the festival’s website www.AsianAmericanMusicFestival.com
The powers of the universe work in crazy ways sometimes. In the case of Korean American rapper/producer/deejay Kero One, those powers definitely worked in his favor.
With just his homemade studio and a personal credit card, the San Francisco native released his first single “Check the Blueprints” in 2003 on his own imprint, Plug Label. Due to a lack of experience with distributing a record, Kero One enlisted a group of friends to help him out.
That’s when the universe stepped in.
One out of the only 50 copies that were distributed around the world somehow made its way to a tiny record store in Tokyo, Japan. A Japanese deejay found that one copy a few weeks later and played it at a club that night. People began asking the deejay about Kero One’s record, including a Japanese label executive who immediately contacted the rapper and asked for 3,000 copies of the record. The record became an underground hip-hop classic almost overnight in Japan and established Kero One’s status of a “mogul in the jazzy hip-hop genre.”
Kero One began performing in different cities around Japan where he was surprised to see the hundreds of fans who were waiting to get his autograph and take pictures with him. Despite the sudden fame, Kero One didn’t let it get to his head. He eventually finished his first album in 2005, Windmills of the Soul, doing everything from playing instruments, rapping, and sound engineering. And without the support of a label or street team, Kero One took it upon himself to handle all the responsibilities of promotion and marketing, manufacturing, finances, graphic layouts and web design. He personally handed out promo fliers to anyone who’d take them.
All of Kero One’s hard work was not in vain. He was able to quit his job as a web designer in 2006 to pursue music full time. Since then Kero One has been awarded the title of Best HipHop Album of 2006 from Remix magazine, topped the iTunes hip-hop charts, received praise from the likes of Emmy award winning producer Will.i.am, and toured all over Asia, Europe, Australia and the U.S.
But despite all his travels, his heart was clearly at home. In Kero One’s newest music video, “On Bended Knee” featuring Sam Ock from Kinetic World, shot and directed by Johnny Le, Kero One sings of his personal experiences traveling around the world and looking for love “in all the wrong places.” Whether you’re a fan of hip-hop, this is a video you’re all gonna wanna watch. (And in case you’re wondering, the girl he’s rapping about in the song said “yes”! They just got married a couple months ago!) Check it out:
Kero One has also shared the stage with artists like KRS 1, Blu + Exile , DJ Cash Money, Dj Kentaro and Epik High (where he participated in arguably the first successful Asian American hip-hop tour). Additionally, Kero One has kept busy collaborating with the likes of renowned acts such as Talib Kweli, Mark Farina, Epik High, and Dynamic Duo.
In 2007, Kero One opened his first office and recording studio in downtown San Francisco to house his fledging hip-hop/dance/funk imprint, Plug Label, releasing more than a dozen records and CDs.
In 2009, Kero One independently released his official sophomore album Early Believers showcasing the talents of some of his favorite vocalists such as UK singer Ben Westbeech, Finland’s Tuomo, and Portland’s Ohmega Watts. A fantastic blend of “soulful jazz tinged tracks to upbeat synth-driven party bangers,” Early Believers is a reflection of Kero One’s growth and maturity as a writer, composer, vocalist and arranger.
In 2010, Kero One released his third solo album entitled Kinetic World which again features some of his favorite artists, including Fashawn, Tablo of Epik High, Dumbfoundead (check out our interview with him!) and Othello. In addition, Kero One’s interest in the YouTube generation has inspired features from young talents such as Esna and Sam Ock.
Visit www.kero1.com for more information on the rapper and his music.