Let’s preempt this with the little mantra I’ve been telling myself since attending the show: She’s only 20. She’s only 20. She’s only 20.
Yuk Ji Dam has had a really interesting little vacation to California. From botching up the LA show pretty badly, to running around the streets of LA in a freakin robe, to getting robbed, to homeless men saving her from losing everything, to generally not having any damned protection or guidance in one of the most ruthless cities in the world.
But today, let’s just touch on the first part … this damned show.
I was so excited when I found out our first event covered here at Asian Junkie would be a female Korean hip-hop artist. I’m a huge supporter of women in hip-hop and have my own opinions on the subject. When I found out it was Yuk Ji Dam, I held out hope for new music or at least a solid performance live.
What I got was #StruggleFest2K18.
I hesitated in writing this, but luckily Asian Junkie is open with allowing me to be really honest with these reviews, so yeah. Here we go.
We showed up at the club and it was pretty packed! Empanada has a new lens and I was excited to try her out! We were told she would be going on at midnight, but she didn’t step on stage until 1 AM. The crowd was frothing at the mouth, a mix of ‘Unpretty Rapstar‘ fans and fanboys desperate to see Yuk Ji Dam live.
She stepped on stage and everyone’s jaw hit the ground. You see, it’s been what? Three years since her first appearance on ‘Show Me The Money‘ and subsequently ‘UPR’? The young woman who stood on stage was a far cry from the girl who stood in that lineup on ‘SMTM’ in her school uniform and hoodie, quietly waiting her turn to blow the judges minds with her freestyle.
Yuk Ji Dam stood in a thick beige robe style coat. It billowed open to show a spaghetti-strap black tank-top, black corset belt, black booty shorts, black fishnet stockings, and, finally, thigh-high black patent leather boots. With her short-cropped bob hair cut and bright red lips, she looked like Cheetah’s stunt double straight out of the “Stagger” video.
The music started, only to immediately stop at her request. I have no idea if there was an error with the set list or if she’d just decided she didn’t want to follow it, but the entire show was her stopping in between songs, killing the momentum completely while she perused the DJ’s set list and picked which songs she wanted to perform next. It started this way and I was already tired. The crowd took it with patience though, well … for most of the show, anyway.
YJD then proceeded to absolutely rock the stage with cover after cover of other artists’ music. I’m not kidding. It was like watching stage karaoke. She taught the audience how to scream the word “bastard” in Korean, ripped through an Olltii track, HyunA’s “Lip & Hip” and “Babe“, Sunmi’s “Heroine” and “Gashina“, and Mino’s “Body“.
Thing is, she’s not a singer. So she resorted to aiming the mic at the audience, who sang along as she performed the sexy signature dance moves in bits and pieces to each song. At least it looked like she was having fun with it all, though.
Then she couldn’t find her next song on the DJ’s song list, so she took extra long searching for it, back turned from the audience as she scrolled through his laptop. This was it for me. I was done. I stepped from the front of the stage, through the crowd and headed out. I looked back and found the crowd had thinned out to half its size. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one bailing on the situation. I stepped out to find my friends had already left and were waiting for me. Everyone was excited to go home. As we stood outside saying our goodbyes, I heard Zico’s “Yes Or No” start. She’d finally found her next song. I packed up Empanada, said my goodbyes and went home.
I sincerely hope this was just a one-off situation for her. Yuk Ji Dam’s stated before that she’s not giving up on hip-hop, but this makes me question what she’s even doing. She didn’t perform a single one of her own tracks that I saw. There is a need for women in Korean hip-hop to hold their own, to not fall into nonsense that entities like ‘UPR’ created. What I saw was someone who just didn’t care. It was disappointing, but if she really wants to continue with hip-hop, I hope she finds herself soon.
I don’t even know what to say that wouldn’t be severely insulting at this point. So please enjoy these deceptive photos. Incidentally, my new camera lens performed better than Yuk Ji Dam did.
Let’s hope the next show will kick as much as this one didn’t.