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CNN.com is always a good news site to read about top stories in all categories. They are always up-to-date with journalists on-site and live videos. CNN tries to find stories from across the globe, so it is no surprise that they have a talk show, “Talk Asia” dedicated to all things Asia.
Broadcasted to nearly 280 million people around the world, CNN Talk Asia is a documentary-style interview-based half hour show that has spotlighted numerous large names; including Former President Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga, Jackie Chan, Roger Federer, as well as many Koreans, including Rain, Lee Byung Hyun, and Park Ji Sung. Epik High is the first Korean hip-hop group to be on the show.
On April 21, 2010, Korea’s very own hip-hop trio Epik High appeared on Talk Asia. Regarding this opportunity, member Tablo expressed, “I found it very cool that CNN had a keen interest in the depth and diversity of the Korean music scene—it is an honor for us to represent Korean hip-hop on such a huge worldwide stage.” The group conducted an interview with the show’s anchorwoman Anjali Rao, where they discussed their difficulties, success, and future ambitions. The half hour episode was very informative on the lives of the members of Epik High, as well as the music market, and answered some questions as to why the Korean music critics behave in the method they do. However, it is much easier to watch it yourself to receive the full message of the video.
Epik High, composed of Tablo, Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz, debuted in 2003 with the album Map of the Human Soul, and gained popularity with the success of their consequent albums High Society and Swan Songs. The trio has released eight albums, their recent Epilogue released in March 2010. They are a Korean indie hip-hop group, who are currently on a break while members Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz are serving mandatory military service.
Epik High has been hit from every direction, from controversies to banning of their music, but none of that has stopped this group from creating music that has depth and truth behind it. Sure, most of their songs have been banned from Korean music market, but that just intensifies the urge to hear their music, and that is just what fans around the world have done. When Epilogue was released, it was ranked on the US iTunes Hip-hop Album Chart at #1, beating out performers such as Ludacris, Kayne West, Jay-Z, Beastie Boys, and Black Eyed Peas. Yet, there are many anti-fans who tried their hardest to bring down Epik High, especially member Tablo.
In 2010, anti-fans claimed that Tablo falsified his graduation from Stanford University. Even with the diploma, friends at Stanford, and professors stating that Tablo did indeed go to the university and graduate, the anti-fans still claimed he had lied. After months of accusations and numerous actions, on October 8, 2010, the Korean police justified Tablo’s educational background, which finally shut down the controversy.
However, in the midst of these accusations, Epik High found themselves in another. A community café named “We Require the Truth from Tablo (TaJinYo) claimed that the group had plagiarized almost forty songs, and had even gone to the lengths of making YouTube videos with the Epik High songs alongside the “originals”. After a few months of these accusations, the claim had finally died down and the group was free.
Aside from the accusations that the anti-fans have claimed, Epik High has also had their songs banned from several channels. Some songs from their fourth album were banned due to issues dealing with sexual crimes, war, education, and religion. They have also had music videos banned due to the theme being suicide or containing violent scenes of torture.
Yet, it falls down to the same concept: ban an artist or their songs/music videos and people are that much more3 interested in the artist. So the bans actually increased Epik High’s popularity as one of the few groups to risk their careers and sing about such issues, as well as create such music videos like “Breakdown.”
Image Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/pages/Epik-High/38911104963