David Kim is a 12 year old Korean Boy who lives in Orange County where he and his friends until just a few short months ago would memorize and recite the lyrics of their favorite rap artist, 50 Cent, Young Jeezy, or whoever the flava of the month was. Sadly none of these rappers ever had a last name like Kim or Lee. David is one of a multitude of Korean American kids who have had until recently no representative in American Pop Culture.
Now due to a political anachronism, the first and only such representative music icon may be whisked off into obscurity.
At a time when America is still reeling from news of the Virginia Tech massacre, aggressive rhetoric over nukes in N. Korea continues,and the very public humiliation of Korean Pop star, "Rain" in Los Angeles is still fresh in our minds…one solitary Korean voice is heard above the din.
South Korean Reggae artist Skull, has taken the US market by storm, not by exploiting an Asian American fan base as has been the modus operandi of past failed attempts by Asian artists and record labels looking to impact the US market but rather by courting Urban and Caribbean audiences singing in his own unique interpretation of a Jamaican patois.
Skull who was a Myspace featured artist, has opened for Reggae icon Buju Banton, and was featured in articles in Billboard, Allhiphop.com, Ballerstatus.com, Vibe, TheSource.com and recently had his first single in the US reach #4 on the Billboard Hip Hop / R&B Singles Chart, and currently is the (Greatest Gainer) on The Billboard Singles Sales Chart after rocketing from #54 to #14 on the Top 100 singles Sales Chart, earning him a place in History.
Skull's video for his current single, Boom Di Boom Di is rotation on MTV Tempo, Hype, RETV, and CVM in Jamaica and is gaining momentum here in the US as well.
Mariah Carey, whose brother Morgan, manages and has orchestrated Skull's career outside of Korea has been quoted as saying, "Skull is a great artist, I hope people support him".
Excerpt from a recent article in Allhiphop.com:
Skull: I think some Koreans believe I am not proud to be Korean because I love Rastafarian culture and Reggae music, but that is not true. I love my country very much. Many Koreans write me that it makes them feel good to see a fellow Korean being popular in the States. They don't feel so left out of the American Dream. In the beginning it would be like, "Hey Chink, get off the stage" or "@#$!* where you from?" But after I sing a few bars, they are cool with me, all love. Now more people know about me, but before they would look at me and form an opinion then they would trip like, "is that really his voice?" Music is universal, but sometimes people forget that.
The Korean Military is requiring that Skull serve his obligatory two and 1/2 year term of service, prior to the completion of his US Debut album. Skull who is the first Korean artist to be embraced by Urban audiences and gain a foothold in American Pop Culture may soon disappear off the scene, and with him, the singular opportunity for Korean American youth to look proudly to a prominent star who resembles them, and feel less alienated by an American Pop Culture machine which has thus far managed to entirely exclude them.