One thing I love, love, love about Korean entertainment is that they have all of these contest shows for all of the genres, sometimes mixing newbies with already established artists, and we get to fall in love as they put themselves in these vulnerable situations. The winners are not only legitimately wonderful, they often go on to have pretty solid and laudable careers. I don’t pay much attention to American survival shows like that, but if I’m not mistaken, the winner going on to reach much acclaim is kind of the exception rather than the rule. It’s not a comment on their talent, rather just how things work out on this side of the planet. Chalk it up to cultural or industry differences or a much more fickle audience, but whatever it is, I’m glad that I lean in the direction I do for my viewing and listening pleasure.
I don’t typically watch Show Me the Money, for various reasons, but I ALWAYS listen to the tracks and pay attention to the artists. We’ve gotten some incredible talent from that show who have catapulted to pretty lofty heights following their run – think Bewhy, Woo, Loco, Bobby, and Punchnello. All artists I’ve talked about pretty ad nauseum to anyone who will listen. But I also love that on these shows, it isn’t always about winning for the artists, it’s often about showing their very best for as long as they can and then springboarding that into a fandom that can support their dreams once they leave the show. I frequently fall just as hard for artists that don’t make it to the end and follow their careers just as diligently as I do for those that win. Last year, Khakii participated in Show Me the Money 9, making it about halfway through before getting a fail from the judges and shuffling off the show.
From the moment I heard Khakii for the first time, I knew he had a little something extra that I was going to be paying attention to. His debut single, Bass, a collab with Colde, is a bit of a sexy, hypnotic rap number with a pretty chill backing track that highlights his voice and the flow of his lyrics. They filmed the MV in Hamburg, Germany, which lends this interesting kind of European aesthetic to the visuals regardless of the clearly American-influenced Korean song. It all feels both simple and clean, but with a little bit of dirt under its fingernails. I love it.