Hip Hop unites cultures like no other genre of music. But it was still a surprise to see Snoop Dogg (스눕독 in Korean) team up with Korean rap star PSY in the “Hangover” video from last year; it’s even more awkward to see Uncle Snoop make a surprise appearance as a judge for the 4th edition of Show Me the Money, a Korean survival rap battle show.
This sparked a few concerns about Snoop’s inability to understand the Korean language, which would seemingly render him ineffective as a judge. We’re shutting those concerns down because music touches the soul, not the tongue.
Snoop Dogg did not have to fully understand the Korean lyrics; it isn’t always a prerequisite for scouting musical star power. How many Americans actually understood every fast, multisyllabic verse to a Bone Thugs -n- Harmony song? Not many. But we certainly took that Harmony part to heart. Those of us who listened to Bone appreciated their distinctive style and delivery from each member of the group (Bizzy Bone being my favorite, and I didn’t understand a damn thing unless I read the lyrics as he went).
When I lived in Korea, I fell in love with Drunken Tiger’s very deep “8:45 Heaven” track. I was this black American guy bobbing his head in a Cafe Bene coffee shop as Korean passerby’s gave me that same concerned look: does this American even know what Tiger JK is saying?
And I guess it’s no different for international fans who enjoy black American music without understanding the lyrics and for those unable to speak the English language. As humans, we vibe with different energies but we have a universal taste for certain styles, rhythms and beat.
The “it” factor in artists/performers is observable without spoken language. I agree with Snoop—they were dope, and so is this massive cross-cultural exchange through an art medium that will never die or be rendered silent.
Looks like the favorites in the show (apparently to both Snoop and fans of the show) are Mino, Basick, and Lil Boi. I like Mino. Your thoughts?
Read this article on OogeeWoogee by Wilkine Brutus, Koreaboo’s newly launched content partner. Koreaboo’s partner platform is where celebrities, content creators and our friends share a unique perspective on Korean content to our readers with original content!
About The Author:
Wilkine Brutus is Haitian-American writer, event host, and YouTuber who spent 4 years in South Korea exploring the intersection between culture, human interaction, and language. He’s the Content Director for OogeeWoogee (website and multimedia studio), and founder/editor-