As mentioned before, BTS and B Free were part of the attendees for the broadcast of 'Kim Bong Hyun's Hip Hop Invitational 1st Anniversary Broadcast'. Reportedly, since many fans gathered there were fans of BTS snapping away pictures of their idols, some of the underground rappers started to jokingly comment about idols being present. This somehow gradually ended up in a full-fledged conversation about idol rappers vs. rappers.
Most of the exchange was between B Free and the BTS members. Although the atmosphere started off lightheartedly, it soon became a bit tense as B Free took quite a few jabs with difficult questions aimed at the boys.
The clip below starts off with light banter about whether the idol rappers and the other rappers present can be considered as part of the same hip hop scene. After a bit of discussion with the other rappers present, the host, seemingly wanting to engage more discussion from everyone attending, asks the boys what they think when people pose the question about whether idols and hip hop are two things that go well with each other.
Rap Monster starts to answer, "I know when people think idols, they think of the makeup and the clothes. But honestly, if you just listen to our album itself, our album is very hip hop." In response, another rapper comments, "Hip hop is not just the name of a genre, it's bigger than that. So I think it's more of a rap album rather than hip hop." B Free adds on, "It's just an album that has rap." Rap Monster calmly responds that he understands what the rappers are trying to say since he has previous underground experience as well. He expresses that he understands the point of view of both rappers and idols, and is also trying to figure out the balance himself.
Then the conversation shifts to the 'macho-ness' of hip hop and if putting on makeup and dressing up when going on stage goes against this macho nature. When the host comments, "So when you put on 'boonjang' (makeup or disguise for stage)", B Free interrupts to joke, "No that's not 'boonjang', it's 'yeojang' (males disguising themselves as females)".
Rap Monster tries to explain that he himself feels awkward about it and is still trying to get used to the makeup, and understands why they would point out things like that, once again emphasizing he understands both worlds. B Free then interjects, "So what is it that you want to do really? You say you understand both worlds and if you want to do both and say you understand both, then what is it that you really want to do? If you say it's awkward and you don't like it, then what is it that you want to do?"
SUGA, at this point takes the mic to respond, "I just want to be able to reach out to a lot of people with my music, I know he [Rap Monster] wants that too... I think you might take this the wrong way, but personally, I want to be the bridge between underground and major. The reason for this is, I've been in underground before in Daegu and went through a lot of hardships myself. I finally released a track and tried to sell it but couldn't earn a dime off of it. Doing music like that, it was really hard..."
B Free then asks, "So you went up to Seoul b/c you didn't want to experience hardships?" to which SUGA responds, "No, it's not like that. I eventually came up to Seoul because I wanted to continue doing music with my crew hyungs and I thought to myself that it'd be good to first build up more recognition, and that would be a way to continue doing music with the hyungs." B Free once again interjects, "So then being an idol is a temporary thing to make money?" SUGA says that is not the case and that he is happy to be able to reach out a large audience with his music and that he feels grateful about it.
As the atmosphere starts to get a bit heated, the host tries to peacefully wrap up the subject, but B Free wasn't done expressing himself as he commented, "I'm not trying to say that just one way is right. But since I don't know SUGA, or 'sultang-shi' ['sultang' means sugar in Korean] and RapMon, and they don't know me and probably haven't listened to my music and I haven't listened to BTS' music, I just have some questions that I'm curious about."
He then asks about how the members of BTS came together and Rap Monster explains that the group originally started out as a hip hop group with no dancing involved, but eventually, members were changed out and other members with different strengths were added to form the BTS we know today. B Free comments, "You know, like SUGA said before about how he faced hardships and that he couldn't make a dime, well, that was the case for all of us too. It's like that for everyone, but the difference is, are you able to withstand it until the end.... I just feel like you and I are people who could have been walking the same path, but you weren't able to resist the temptation." SUGA responds, "I can't really understand why you'd describe that as temptation."
The host tries to once again cut off the conversation, but B Free interrupts again to ask about BTS' concept trailer for 'O!RUL8,2?'. He states, "Oh there's something I'm curious about. Someone told me that there was a group out there using Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' as their own, so I searched it up and it was you guys. I listened to it and the beat and the rapping style were the same. I want to know why that was the case. I know I was really upset at the time and cussed about it online, so I'm sorry about that. And your fans tried to tell me that the producer for that song had mixed it for you." Rap Monster responds, "I think you might have misunderstood about all that. Yes, it was mixed for us, and that was a concept trailer just trying to showcase our dance. That dance was actually choreographed to Kanye West's song and we really did want to use his original track, but the song has a lot of strong language that wouldn't pass the inspection, so we weren't able to use it. I would have personally liked to have used the original track myself then this would be a lot clearer."
B Free, however, doesn't seem to be very convinced by Rap Monster's response and says that he doesn't understand how someone, who claims to respect Kanye West, could agree to something like that and present something like it's his own by putting his own rap over the MR of the track. He also says, "To me, it feels like disrespect to copy things from an artist that you like and present it as your own." Rap Monster asks him to explain a little more about what he means by copying as they were just dancing. However, as B Free starts to respond, the host, feeling that this is going too far, firmly ends the conversation to the frustration of B Free, who insists that he was simply asking questions and hearing the answers to them.
So after hearing and reading the exchange between the BTS members and B Free, do you think that B Free was pushing things too far or was he right to open up about his curiosities?
You can check out the exchange for yourself through the clip below.
Tip: golmak, Video: Smiling Seoul