Walking on streets in the heart of Seoul, where the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus is located, Kingos may have seen protests or rallies with voices against certain social issues. In a democratic country like Korea, all citizens shall enjoy the freedom of assembly and association, which must be guaranteed. These days, other than public demonstrations, raising voices through lyrics and melodies can have a greater ripple effect. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) introduces an artist and a song that raise voices towards societal issues.
Artist of the Month – Logic
|Rapper Logic (baltimoresun.com)|
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, who is known by his stage name Logic, is an American rapper who was born in poverty in Maryland, a state in the United States (US). Born to an African-American father and a Caucasian mother in 1990, he had a quite unhappy childhood. His parents both suffered from drug addiction and alcoholism, Logic was teased for being of mixed heritage in a black neighborhood. He even struggled with homelessness for some time. Under these circumstances, Logic would speculate about his identity while listening to other biracial rappers like J. Cole. In his recent album YSIV, which was released on September 28th, he brought back “boom-bap,” a form of hip-hop production that was dominant throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Some people see him as a “conscious hip-hop” artist who raises his voice on stage or during interviews regarding global issues related to LGBTs, racial discrimination, or immigrant problems.
➊ One Day (feat. Ryan Tedder)
|Logic Performing One Day at the 2018 MTV VMAs (vox.com)|
This song is from Logic’s latest studio album YSIV. At the MTV 2018 Video Music Awards (VMAs), Logic and Ryan Tedder, frontman for the American band OneRepublic, performed with immigrant families wearing T-shirts with “We Are All Human Beings” written on them. The music video for One Day addresses the immigration and family separation crisis in the US as well.
➋ 1-800-273-8255 (feat. Alessia Cara, Khalid)
|The Live Performance of 1-800-273-8255 at the 2017 MTV VMAs (medium.com)|
This is one of the most famous songs from his third studio album Everybody. The title of the song is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). It had a significant impact on the world; after Logic’s touching performance at the 2017 MTV VMAs with suicide attempt survivors wearing T-shirts with the message “You are not alone,” the NSPL said that calls to the lifeline increased 50%. Logic also claimed on the stage that he performed to fight for equal rights for all no matter their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. The lyrics like “You gotta live now / You got everything to give right now” gives strength and motivation to live to the listeners who are in need of help.
Song of the Month: BTS – Baepsae (Crow-Tit/Silver Spoon)
|Korean Boy Group BTS (arabicpost.net)|
BTS is a seven-member Korean boy band and has been gathering more and more attention around the world in the middle of the Korean wave. Even though BTS has become internationally famous with its contemporary songs like Dope or DNA, it has also released songs with sarcastic lyrics raising voices on behalf of young people in Korean society. Baepsae, from BTS’s album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 released in 2015, is one of them. The title of the song, Baepsae, which means a Korean crow-tit (a bird species), is from the Korean saying “If a crow-tit tries to walk like a stork, it will break its legs.” It reflects the phenomenal “spoon class theory,” a newly coined word to symbolize the worsening hierarchy in Korea. According to this theory, each person’s wealth and social status can be ranked into four types of spoons: gold, silver, bronze, and dirt. Therefore, throughout the song, the term Hwangsae (a stork) refers to a privileged few, while Baepsae means the rest. The lyrics like “At a part-time job, it is passion pay / At school, it is the teachers / The superiors’ violence / The number of generations in the media every day” seem to criticize the irrational Korean society that keeps pressuring the young generation to work hard rather than changing its unfair structure. Even though it is not common for
Korean idols to voice their opinions, BTS criticizes through its lyrics some unreasonable aspects of Korean society, which young people in their twenties can easily relate to. In particular, Kingos who are studying as exchange students may have an opportunity to understand Korea from a different perspective by looking into the lyrics of their songs which criticize Korean society.
|The “spoon class theory” in Korea classifies individuals based on their assets they inherited from their parents. (cidermics.com)|