2017 has been an epic year for Korean hip-hop. The community has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to rollover fans from K-pop and hip-hop heads discovering our faves through streaming and playlists. So what better way to end the year’s concert season than with one of the biggest hip-hop labels from South Korea?
Illionaire Records not only showed up in LA, they brought new blood to feed that LA music scene’s thirst. Ambition Records consists of exactly three rappers: Changmo, Hash Swan, and Keem Hyo Eun. Take those three young rappers and mix them with the heads of Korean hip-hop — Dok2 and The Quiett — and you got one of the hottest new sounds coming out of South Korea today.
The Illionaire X Ambition tour stopped at the Belasco Theatre in LA and were greeted by a packed audience. I’ve seen Dok2 and The Quiett before, and they’re always pros, but this seemed like a whole new experience for the veteran rappers.
Hash Swan started us off with a bunch of tracks from ‘Shangri-La‘, his newest album. He’s all sharp angles and beach wavy hair, and he dominated the crowd with a smile as he let his voice take over. Keem Hyo Eun came out next sans cornrows, which was surprising! He went hard, with his deep voice booming in the mic as he went through a collection of his own tracks. He’s so fresh and he was out here performing music we’re actually thirsty for. Changmo then joined Keem Hyo Eun on stage to perform their collab track “LA LA LA“, and then Changmo went at it solo like a beast. He flew threw various tracks, including ones from his album ‘Gettin Money Moment‘, and he had the entire crowd hyped up.
The Quiett then stepped out, but this wasn’t The Quiett I was used to. A man who’s usually visibly reserved on stage, the epitome of his rap name, came out going real hard. The Quiett was rollin’ through the tracks off ‘Millionaire Poetry‘, and he seemed excited and enthusiastic! It was incredible!
Then Dok2 came out, and he cranked the hype up one level higher as he powered through tracks from ‘Reborn‘ and hits like “1ll Recognize 1ll”. The rapper also stood on stage in his signature 808 hat and Hawaii hoodie freestyling!
At the end, the entire crew came out and everyone rolled through collabs. They performed a bunch of classics and ended the night with “YGGR“.
I’ve honestly never seen Dok2 and The Quiett go so hard. I’ve also never seen them smile and laugh and just enjoy being on stage as much as they did that night with new blood surrounding them and allowing them to just have fun. The crowd seemed to recognize this and absolutely ate it up. This was the best Illionaire show I’ve ever been to and I’ve seen them every time they have been to LA. Ambition’s inclusion allowed them to step back, relax, and find the love of hip-hop that they started with years ago. Let’s hope this ushers in a whole new era of exploration for our favorite rappers!
A thank you goes out to Transparent Agency.
This seals the deal for my event coverage for 2017. Thank you so much to Asian Junkie and its readers for allowing me to bring these shows to you. One can only wonder what the next year will bring us!