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“Every wolf ‘s and lion’s howl / Raises from Hell a human soul.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Word With TOY

South Korea has easily produced some of the greatest reality shows that are sadly unknown to most English speaking audiences (there are people who sub ya know). From Running Man and Hello Counselor to Hello Baby to Laws of The Jungle, Korea has nailed variety television, which is why its no shock that the Rap competition, Show Me The Money just finished its third season.  Reality singing shows don’t get very far in North American, many dying down after the first season so I was obviously very interested that Korea has managed to pull off a rap competition on top of many successful singing competitions.

The show had many familiar faces to anyone who is a fan of underground Korean hip-hop which was fun to see, however I was a lot more curious about a contestant who didn’t receive as much air-time.

You may have caught a glimpse of her in the first episode but by the third episode you knew she was there. Very much intrigued, I asked Toy a few questions that she generously answered.

So to start, do you mind introducing yourself?
My name is Toy. I am an American rapper based in Seoul, South Korea.

How have things been since the show ended, have things changed much? You’ve dropped some new music!
Since the show ended, I have been working on a lot more music. Im trying to put out a single soon and hopeful a mixtape as well. The only thing that has really changed since the show ended is that I have a lot more fans hahaha.

You’ve said a few times that you and Bobby got closer throughout the show, how do you feel that your teammate ended up winning?
Im happy for Bobby.  I was rooting for both Bobby and Iron . . . so im just glad that one of the two won.

Because you’re a foreigner, did you feel any stigma from the other judges or contestants?
Being the only foreigner on the show was not easy. Also, my Korean was not perfect, so i think most people didn't think I could possibly make it as far as I did. I think a lot of people thought I didn't belong there and although Im no where close to rapping as well in Korean as I can in English, I did have support from some of the judges and a few of the other contestants.
A lot of people came on the show saying they had to prove themselves, did you feel like you had anything to prove?
I only wanted to prove that "anything is possible." I wasn't able to rap in English, so I knew that I would not be able to show them even half of what i was cable of in terms of rap skills . . .. I just wanted to show that a foreigner could do well too.
After living in Korea and getting to know it, as well as participating in a show like SMTM, would you have still come to Korea with the same plan and mindset?
Ive been in Korea for 4 years now and I wouldn't change a thing. Everything happens for a reason and i like to live my life with no regrets. I wish that I was more fluent in Korean, but that comes with time.

Did you receive any advice from other rappers before you came on season 3?
Any advice . . . no hahah . .  just to do my best.

We never got to see you much on the show (and trust me, a lot of international viewers were bummed out about that) do you feel like you kind of got cheated? Was there anything you wanted viewers to know?
Yeah, it is kind of a bummer that they didn't show me much on TV. Even some of the team producers were complaining to the writers of the show that i didn't get much tv time. Most people know that the show is not a "true" rap competition. It is a bit of a popularity contest at times and there was a storyline even before the show began (as is the same with most tv shows). Basically, I wasn't a part of the storyline...hahaha so less tv time.

(I also followed up with these questions - A lot of people had previously complained about the show's editing telling very different stories from what actually took place. Did you feel like that may have happened? And finally, just...what was it like to see yourself on the show?)

As far as editing . . . im not 100% sure because i didn't watch the show . . . but i do know that some of what was said or shown on tv is not exactly how it too place in reality. Tv shows are always edited in a way to make things appear to be more dramatic than they actually are in order to grab the audiences attention.
And as i mentioned above, I did not watch the show . . . so im not sure. Usually, I don't like watching myself on TV because I always tend to think of what i could have done better.

What can we look forward to from you in the next few months, and any parting words you’d like to leave us with?
In the next few months, look forward to single and hopefully a mixtape as well. Im busy working on a lot of new music, so i hope that you will be patient with me as I work hard to make songs where i can show everything I’ve got. To my fans: Thank you so much for all the support. I didn't realized that so many people outside of Korea watched the show. It been awesome learning about how much support I have from around the world. Thank you so much!!

A big thank you to Toy who agreed to this interview, I’m excited to see her development as an artist in South Korea and will definitely be keeping an eye on her, as a fan. It was great to get to know about her experience! If you’d like to keep up with her, here are other platforms that you can use to connect with her.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Snoh Aalegra

The first few moments of Snoh Aalegra's video had me commenting on how undeniably gorgeous this woman is, but just a few seconds later I was so in love with the song, that nothing else even mattered.

"Following it’s the release of the audio last month, Snoh Aalegra returns with the official visual accompaniment to her impressive single “Burning Bridges”.
The beautiful ARTium signed Swedish singer-songwriter who has been steadily perfecting her craft under the wing of Superproducer No I.D. brings the Trakmatik and No I.D produced cut to life with the Matt Barnes-directed official video, which perfectly compliments the tone and mood of the emotive track."   - (X)

I believe in sharing good things, and though Swedish singer/songwriter Snoh Aalegra has only released just a few songs, she is something you gotta know about.

As it says on her website, Snoh had been writing music since a very young age and has been developing her unique sound. "Her music is very dark, theatrical and sometimes poetic. She writes most her music in her bed, which can be a big reason why it is very personal and intimate."

Its not hard to see how talented Snoh is, whether you're watching the beautifully produced video for Burning Bridges or are watching one of her few covers uploaded to Youtube.

The video is fluid, artistic, and beautiful. The perfect companion to such a good song.

- Horea

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

#FF: No excuses, I'm lame

Tell us about a book that you didn’t like and why we shouldn’t read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible)

I'll go with the first book that came to mind: Liar by Justine Larbalestier.

This book just had way too many, you guessed it, Lies for me to get down with it. It might be because I was pretty young when I read it, so maybe I didn't really "get" it. But I remember having very strong negative feelings about this book, so that's what I'll go with.

Props to having a woman of colour as the lead character, however! We don't see enough representation in YA...or..well..in anything, really.

I haven't been much of a book blog lately, or much of a blog in general really. But I'm excited to be finished with my first year of uni and get on with the things I actually like doing, like running this site.

Follow me however you like, bloglovin, GFC, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'll be sure to return the favour :)

I must get back to studying, happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A young teen from Hawaii decides to share his creativity.  Urada is born.

"Its not a lengthy explanation, just a definition. I want you to think outside the shirt. I'm all about sharing an idea, an idea that we can agree on. An idea that will make you look forward to tomorrow. That's what I do. I make an idea for your tomorrow. I make shirts that speak for itself so all you have to do is be you. With clothes come responsibility.  The responsibility to be you. I trust that you do that very well. URADA promotes people to dress to live another day, but wear something better than yesterday" - URADA

Strolling down my dashboard on tumblr I saw a picture of a someone wearing an interesting shirt. Clicking through a few links to find the source of where I could find the shirt, I found Urada.

A rising cult following on tumblr and a steady slew of Instagram followers will propel the Urada brand and its creator, 19 year old Kirk, to the front lines of fashion world dominance.  Appreciated by many, and paired with apparel one would expect to be seen at a Fashion Week catwalk or maybe worn by the likes of Kanye West, with clean but gorgeous photography, Urada is steps away from taking over the Internet.

Much like other pieces available on the Urada site, the recently dropped 3M tee features a reflective 3M print that has caught the attention of the Internet, and surely anyone who sees you walking by wearing it.

I've definitely become a fan of Urada and am looking forward to seeing where it goes, I'm sure in a straight line to the top. You can purchase the newest addition to Urada's web shop, the 3M tee and much more over on the web shop. Watch out for it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Place in Black History (a semi-rant)

"Every month is Black History Month!"
I honestly believe this, especially as someone who has recently become aware of a lot more world history than what was studied in the high school classroom.  For me, every month is black history month...just as every month is white history month for the rest of the world. But when the month of February comes around and the history blurbs start to be posted around, I start to think about stuff...more than usual.

Although my high school was predominantly black, there was a significant lack in black history celebrations. In my last two years, it was myself and other students who had to push the administration to allow us to host events! Ridiculous, I know. It angered us to no end as to how much of an obstacle the administration represented, when it should have been an obvious right for us, as students. We can file that as reason #13929 school admins can be incompetent. Anyways...

Last year, I had a goal of things that I wanted to make sure were shown in the show and the bulk of my efforts were pushed into a video (which was unfortunately deleted the day before the show and had to be reconstructed in just a few hours...whew)

Rewatching this video one year later, Im surprised by how much I've learned and how much I would change from the video...today.

I think its important to avoid sugar coating anything and everything.

For starters, unlike how I demonstrated it in the video, black history did not start with slavery.  Its just something we learn to accept, as if slave drivers invented black people? Why? Because in history class, the only time we talk about black people is at a time when they were in a position of inferiority, and although slavery is a significant part of our history, its not all there is to it. As Malcolm X loved to remind everyone, the history of African Americans did not begin in chains. There were never any classes on Mansa Musa as there was on Abraham Lincoln, no words uttered about where exactly the idea of a calendar was sourced, or where some of the most sophisticated architecture of the world could be found.

When there is talk about racism being systemic, the school system is a perfect example. White supremacy is not only found in the KKK and in "violent outbursts" but its an unquestioned facet of our culture. Today.

Its found in every single part of our lives.

Why is it that when black girls go to drug stores looking for foundation and amidst the array of different shades of beige...there are only two colours that resemble darker skin...if you're lucky.

Why is it that I am expected to straighten my curls anytime I need to look professional?
Why is it that as a child, I was expected to stop myself from getting darker, because darker is somehow less beautiful than lighter skin?
Why is it that Macklemore is getting so much support for CO-WRITING a song about how much it would probably suck to be LGBTQ+ or black, but no one is actually supporting LGBTQ+ or black artists?

There are so many more questions I could ask, but in all honesty, writing this post hurts.

If I were to remake the video I worked on last year, it would be completely different. It would start with all of the black Kings and Queens and continue to show the resilience and accomplishments of African Americans despite it all, but how would it end? Would I have concluded the video as optimistically as I had with all this new knowledge? Where would Trayvon Martin, Marissa Alexander, Jordan Davis, Alfred Wright, and so many others be? Would I have been able to physically bring myself to do so...I'm not sure. But that video would have definitely been a lot longer because there was so much left unsaid.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dead Poets

In my final moments, I hope that I can muster enough wit and humour to leave the world with wisdom or wit, kinda like some of these brilliant dead poets. Not to romanticize them, of course.

Any favourite final words?