Artist of the week – Dynamic Duo
Real name: Choi Jae-ho
Date of birth: March 17, 1980
Height: 180 cm
Blood type: O
Hobbies: Reviewing movies, building computers
Education: Sejong University, Hotel Management
Real name: Kim Yoon-sung
Date of birth: January 14, 1981
Height: 173 cm
Blood type: B
Hobby: Drawing, building models
Education: Hongik University
Our featured artist this week is Dynamic Duo, one of the biggest names in Korean hip-hop, The duo is made up of members Gecko and Choi-ja, former members of the group CB Mass. The duo gained massive popularity with their first album and are known for their powerful lyrics and rapping, as well as for the diverse musical styles they incorporate into their music. Compared to Lee Ssang which we featured last week, Dynamic Duo is a lot more hardcore in their rappings.
Rappers Choiza and Gaeko are so similar they seem like mirror images of each other. Having grown up on the same block, the two have shared almost everything in their lives, memories, experiences and, most importantly, a love of music.
However, when CB Mass, the popular hip-hop group they founded with rapper and producer Curbin, disbanded after an ugly dispute, their future seemed uncertain. Still, the two lifetime buddies knew that whatever happened, they could always rely on each other. Choiza and Gaeko returned to the musical scene as a new group, the Dynamic Duo. Their debut album, “Taxi Driver,” was released on May 17th, 2004 and dispelled people’s doubts about the rappers. According to Hanteo Information System, which keeps track of local music sales records, “Taxi Driver” has sold over 50,000 copies between the release date and June 16th, 2004.
Choiza and Gaeko started out their musical careers as members of the underground hip-hop group K.O.D. Working their way up to the mainstream music industry, they were joined by Curbin to form CB Mass in 2000. According to Hanteo Information System’s estimate, their best-selling second album “Matics” has sold more than 120,000 copies in Korea.
However, at the height of their success, rumors had it that they would break up over personal issues between members, and their last album added weight to the speculation with only the two appearing on a majority of the songs.
“Resume,” the intro to “Taxi Driver,” acts as a testimony to all the rumors. On it, when Gaeko raps, “He liked standing in front of mirrors than music/ He worshipped cash more than friendship/ What he left with us is only betrayal,” it’s pretty clear who he is talking about.
Gaeko said that it’s not that they wanted to blame Curbin, but without talking about him, they can’t talk about themselves. Gaeko added that Curbin is a part of the reason why he and Choiza are here as the Dynamic Duo. However, Choiza added they would like to build their own music career free from the past name recognition earned during the CB Mass era.
On their debut album, the Dynamic Duo takes the genre of rap to the next level by incorporating storytelling elements, which they said is their boldest change from the past. On “Two Men,” among other tracks, the duo rap about a father who is about to be laid off from his job and a boy who ran away from home after having been beaten by his father. “Tragedy Pt. 1” is a fictional touch about a young girl who seeks revenge on men after becoming infected with AIDS from her first sexual relationship.
Another big change, is that they tried to put together an expanded range of music, such as rock and house, rather than solely depending on samples from old soul music. But they said old-timers like Al Green, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye are still their favorites, which is well reflected throughout the album.
The hip-hop artists added they are not so happy about the recent surge in popularity of rap music in Korea thanks to some radio-friendly rap musicians like Cho PD and MC Mong. The two promoted their debut album mainly by performing at clubs and concerts as well as by playing their music video on cable TV, but they drew the line at going on television, especially entertainment shows.
Having said that, Dynamic Duo remained original to their hip-hop roots but was still able to crossover to mainstream on their 2nd album "Double Dynamite", released in late 2005. Title song "Confession" reached the top 10. Album sales were strong as usual.
In 2007, Dynamic Duo returned with their 3rd album. Having successfully crossovered to mainstream now and gaining fans, Dynamic Duo now performs regularly on gayo shows, which we don't see often in their 1st and 2nd albums. There are high expectations on this album, and Dynamic Duo does not disappoint. The album was a top seller for more than 2 weeks. The title song "Attendance Checkup" features Ex-Brown Eyes and Brown Eyed Soul member Naul, reaches top 5 and is still climbing up the chart. With improvements on song and album popularity each time they have a new release, Dynamic Duo is a name to be reckon with in Korean hip-hop.
Taxi Driver (1st album, 2004): Leeruksuh, Skit 1, 2 Men, Excuse Me, Pride, Skit 2, I’m Excited, Skit 3, Superstar, Ring My Bell, Desert Island, My World, We’re Foolish, Insomnia, Tragedy Part 1
Double Dynamite (2nd album, 2005): Confession, Retire (feat. Massive Tone, DJ Friz), What’s Going On, It’s Alright, Funk The World, Skit, Circus (feat. Axe from All-black, Noh Hong-chul), Love Is, Picture (feat. Eun-joo Choi), I Know, Bad News Is Coming, Bonus Track, Let’s Go (feat. Sixpoint from KOD)
Enlightened (3rd album, 2007): Attendance Checkup
credits: KBS World, edward1849