2017 so far is a very exciting year for the Korean beatbox community.
Two South Korean beatboxers, Two H and Hiss, brought serious “Korean Power” to this year’s Grand Beatbox Battle and bringing great pride to the Korean beatbox community. However, let’s not overlook the largely successful 2017 Korean Beatbox Championship, which brought huge waves to our beatbox community, thanks to all the beatboxers, hosts, and exceptional camera crew.
Contestants showcased some top-notch skills and presented several remarkable battles. As a result, the event was full of stories to talk about. While the musical champion WinG made no hesitation in making his way up to the title, we had underdogs like Mighty and Rich $waver earn their way to the next round by outperforming formal champions Hiss and HellCat respectively.
Flrhyme, a beatboxer with the controversial formal stage name “Rape9”, brought some old school hip-hop with a style that gave us the chills throughout the event. Overall, the battles were intense and brought exactly what the audience wanted.
There’s one thing for sure - there’s a lot more to come from this vibrant community. I’ve highlighted here four things that will help you understand our Korean beatbox scene a little bit better.
1. The majority of the mainstream Korean beatboxers are now turning into young adults.
The Korean beatbox community was always young. I was 19 when I first participated in a battle in Korea three years ago, and I then looked very old in front of all these teenagers around me.
Their average age was between 14 and 17 yeard old based on my personal observation. Many of these youngsters were very promising for sure; however, there were times when they got criticized for being unoriginal since they have yet developed their own distinctive styles.
But since then, these young beatboxers have thrived and matured both in terms of age and beatbox. Coincidently, many of the active mainstream beatboxers in Korea today – like Mighty, Timid, J.E.U, Hellcat, and Flrhyme – are all turning 19 this year, the legal age of adulthood in Korea. And these young adults are no longer “the future of the Korean beatbox" since they are already on the frontline of the Korean beatbox - leading it to the glory days.
2. Your favorite Korean beatboxer will disappear for at least two years.
Military service is mandatory for South Korean males between the ages of 18 and 35. This is why Two.H in his prime time had to leave the beatbox scene for two years. In fact, many of the beatboxers you’ve seen on the KBC 2017 are 19, meaning that they are now eligible to apply for the army.
3. Your favorite Korean beatboxer will have to disappear for another year or two if he/she is studying for the college entrance exam.
Some of you might be thinking that WinG came out of nowhere and won the KBC 2017. Well, he wasn’t always so quiet. He had already won his first title in 2014.
He left the beatbox scene for a while to study for his college entrance exam and came back like a boss!
The concept of the exam is similar to the SAT in North America, except for the fact that you are only eligible to take it during your senior year and only ONCE. This high-pressure, full-day exam will virtually determine which college you will enter. In such an academically competitive society like Korea, this exam is crucial for your future. Anyways, it’s tough for some of the Korean beatboxers for sure.
4. KRNFX won the Korean Beatbox Battle in 2009.
In an interview prior to the 2009 Beatbox Battle World Championships, KRNFX clarified that he was going to represent Korea, not Canada, for the tournament since that year he earned the title from the former of these two countries.
The footage was hard to find since the Korean community 8 years ago was like what KRNFX revealed in his interview: “very enclosed in its own community, that the rest of the world doesn’t know about.”
Consequently, him representing South Korea at the WBC 2009 was a huge lift for the Korean community and proved to be a breakthrough for earlier Korean beatboxers like Two.H and Big Road to come out to the International stage for a much wider audience. Here’s rare footage of our good old KRNFX battling Two.H in the final round of Hongdae Beatbox Battle 2009 (Korean Beatbox TV has clarified us that this battle is irrelevant to the Korean Beatbox Championships).
Want to keep up with the growing Korean beatbox community?
The Korean beatbox community is experiencing an exciting period of growth and there are tons of videos that are coming out to prove just that. Find out more about the Korean beatbox community through the following links below!
Facebook Group | Facebook Page | YouTube
Thank you for reading and sharing!