The contestants of Mnet’s hiphop survival programme ‘Show Me The Money’ have been in the spotlight not only for hiphop enthusiasts, but also for the general public. Onesun, a first-generation rapper, was one of such contestants who caught many people’s attention.
Throughout the show, Onesun has been quoted with several remarkable phrases. For example, “Let me do it again…”, the phrase he murmured after his fallout in Season 6, is widely used among the young generation. “Vibe that comes from experience” is also another expression he used on the show which has been one of the trendiest expressions in 2017. As he has been quickly gaining fame after his remarks, many became curious about Onesun as a person.
However, behind all the fame and attention, Onesun is just a passionate person living his life as a delivery van driver and a bartender. This is quite different from the flashy life that most rappers have, and the reason why such side of Onesun should be recognized.
Music for Onesun
Q. What do you think is the difference between rappers during your time and rappers today?
A. The differences mostly come from the environment we grew up in. I grew up in a time when all the worldwide music charts were filled with rock music. It was not until the early 1990s that hiphop started to gain popularity. Back then, it was really hard to gain access to international hiphop songs in Korea because the Internet was not as ubiquitous as it is now. If I had wanted to gain access to American hiphop, I have had to rely on American radios and TVs. Records were also available on the market, but they were too expensive for me to purchase. On top of this, the process of making a song vastly differs. Before, it was very hard to make music as it cost a lot to do so, which was why you needed an investor to invest in your dreams. However, to receive any form of investment, you had to first verify your ability. Now, it is relatively easy to release a record, as you can simply do so with your own money.
Q. Has your life changed, compared to when you started making music?
A. It hasn’t changed much. I have more responsibilities now as I pursue many other jobs, but nothing much has changed. Most first-generation rappers are in the same circumstances as I am. They work hard in order to get what they need and want. And I believe that only through that process, the outcome can reflect who we truly are.
Q. You never gave up music even when you were having a hard time. Have you ever thought about giving up?
A. No, I have never thought about giving up hiphop. Many people say that they respect me because of the things I have been going through. I always tell them that they should not, because nobody has one’s life easy. What makes a tough life tougher is our mindset. People should not focus solely on the result, but should remind themselves that the process is of the utmost importance. If we have hope for what is to come next, everything will be bearable.
Thoughts After ‘Show Me The Money’
Q. Why did you decide to audition for ‘Show Me The Money Season 6’ after failing in Season 5?
A. My fans requested that I retry. I thought it was right for me to listen to them, because I know they are the ones who truly care about me.
Q. Your words “Vibe that comes from experience” became a trendy phrase. How do you feel about it being a trend and what did you mean when you said it?
A. I don’t consider myself a talented artist. ‘Experience’ is the only thing that people like me have. The phrase came from the bottom of my heart because hard work and experience are all that I have. To be honest, I never meant it to be funny. It was edited that way. Still, I do not feel sulky or anything because I did say that.
Q. After the show, you have been receiving great attention and even shot a commercial for ‘ARITAUM’; a Korean cosmetic store. Why do you think they chose you in particular?
A. I think that’s because the public finally recognized my past. Many people started to like the fact that I am a hard worker who never gives up on my dream. Even after I got disqualified from the show, many people encouraged me to keep trying. I guess ARITAUM caught that really well and wanted to use me as their model.
Q. You are not exposed to the media as much as other musicians or celebrities. Despite the fact, why do you think people give you so much attention?
A. In this day and age where people are always busy working, they might have admired my determination to pursue hiphop. On the other hand, some people could have found it funny that I keep failing in the survival, even when I have been in this field for a long time. Whichever the reason is, I am grateful for my fans.
Personal Life and Future Goals
Q. I heard that you opened a bar in order to help musicians who have nowhere to perform. Why did you decide to do that? And even if that bar does not make much money, are you still going to run the bar?
A. A long time ago, I had a chance to learn about anthropology. Since then, I felt that I should use my talent to help others. I have never stopped writing songs since then. Actually, one musician who I wrote songs for reached the semi-final stage in ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. I composed countless songs after that and Korean rappers started to ask for my songs, too. That’s when I thought I should make a stage for underground rappers. I have been doing this for five years now, and will continue to do so until the situation allows.
Q. Isn’t it hard for you to pursue other jobs while running a bar?
A. It’s not that hard. Sometimes when I feel exhausted, I just skip work that day. I guess I don’t feel much stress because I enjoy doing my job.
Q. If you have any future plans, what could it be?
A. My short-term plan is to do my best in everything I do. For example, if I were to write a song, pouring my heart into it would be my short-term plan. My ultimate dream would be to do nothing and enjoy life. It is very unlikely that I will achieve that dream. But really, all I wish for is to continue doing music until the last minute of my life.
Q. Do you have any advice for people who are afraid of failure?
A. You guys think too much! You should try first! You are afraid because you have never tried before. When you try, whether you fail or succeed, you have the comfort of knowing that you have at least tried.