[ENTERTAINMENT]These Tipsy Boys Give It to You Straight
Los Angeles in 1992 was a difficult place for Korean-Americans following the Los Angeles riots. The black rapper Ice Cube highlighted the heightened tensions between the African-American and Korean communities when he released the controversial song "Black Korea."
In this tense atmosphere, a Korean American teenage boy, Tiger JK, was a curious addition to the stage at an L.A. hip-hop festival. Nonetheless, his song had the power to appeal to blacks, even grabbing an award at the end of the festival. "Call Me Tiger" urged local people to rethink anti-Korean prejudice.
This teenage rapper who had made such a sudden entrance onto the hip-hop scene later met another Korean-American teenager, DJ shine, and at a glance, they said, they knew they would make a good team. They formed the hip-hop group Drunken Tiger.
From then on, they have rarely left the local hip-hop music scene, frequently making appearances on Los Angeles channels exclusively committed to hip-hop.
Their music has traveled more widely, meeting success not only in the United States, but in their motherland. Drunken Tiger has attained a remarkable, if unlikely, respectability, selling altogether 380,000 copies of its first two albums, "Do You Know Hip-Hop?" and "The Great Rivers," in Korea alone.
Drunken Tiger has found a niche among young Koreans who are curious to hear genuine hip-hop music. Its members' outspoken, direct presentation has won them extra fans. On stage, they don't wear makeup and they don't prepare formulaic dance routines － they simply rap and dance spontaneously. They obviously have a greater interest in hip-hop than simply winning extra street credibility by adopting a tough image, unlike many on the Korean music scene.
The year 2000 saw a brief halt to act when they were charged with drug use. But they have since bounced back, releasing their third album, "The Legend of..." on Friday.
Tiger JK, who is currently a student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and DJ shine, who dropped out of State University of New York, remarked, "We tried our best to give our fans genuine hip-hop in this new release."
They described "Good Life," the main track on their new album, as a story about the pent-up anger as well as hopes of "drunken young men," set to an uplifting hip-hop rhythm.
They are currently expanding their fan base internationally with concerts in Canada and Japan. Particularly successful was their Japanese concert in a hip-hop club in Japan, called Harem. Following up their international success, they are to perform once again in Shibuya, Tokyo on April 25 and in Toronto and Vancouver on May 13.
You can find more about Drunken Tiger on their Web site at www.dt-love.com (in Korean). They are determined to keep going, saying, "We want to be remembered as musicians who make songs that break all the rules but attract the listeners with attitude at the same time."
Let's hope Drunken Tiger doesn't end in a blurry haze.
by Chun Su-jin / Choe Jae-hee