The legendary MFBTY talk their first full-length ‘WondaLand’ and music chart pressures
We were hella excited about this interview cause, you know, it’s mother f*cking Bizzy, Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae! In the interview we discuss their latest album WondaLand and how their prodigy of a son wrote one of the tracks (he’s only 7!)! Also cultural diversity and the current state of Hip Hop in Korea is discussed- hearing the opinions of some of the most highly respected Korean emcees in the game is definitely a treat!
For the very few who don’t know, who is MFBTY and how did you guys all come together? All three of you have known each other for a long time, right?
Tiger JK: MFBTY aka My Fans Better Than Yours aka Motherf*cking Bizzy Tiger Yoon Mirae are a hip-pop trio. Yoon Mirae is the leader and she sings and raps. Me and Bizzy are from a hip-hop duo named Drunken Tiger. The three of us decided to get together to do something different from what we’ve been accustomed to. MFBTY was made by our fans and made for our fans in Wondaland.
Yoon Mirae: And yes, we go way back. We’ve been performing together forever now so the decision to make an album was a very easy one. How could we not do it?
Bizzy: We’ve known each other for decades and we’re all family under Feel Ghood Music.
All proceeds from your latest album Wondaland are going to charity which is dope! What was the thought process behind the album, and what made you guys decide to donate the earnings?
Tiger JK: We just thought with our first full-length album as a group, it would be kind of symbolic to do something meaningful.
Those braids Tasha had in the Bang Diggy Bang Bang video and seeing Tiger JK chilling on the stoop really hit me with nostalgia. How have incorporating these real life urban elements into Korea’s hip hop scene been received?
Tiger JK: It wasn’t really something we consciously planned out. Tasha gets braids often. A lady that braids Tasha’s hair suggested that I get locks. I’ve been letting my hair grow for a while. It’s remnants of my father who passed away a year ago. Anyway, me and Tasha were both not patient enough to get our hair done up for the video shoot. So we just got them braided at the spot we always go to. The stoop scene just happened when I was sitting around with the b-girls during a break. I started messing with one of the girl’s hair just trying to make everyone laugh and the director filmed it. Not a lot of people in Korea have seen the video yet.
Yoon Mirae: Honestly I was just tired of having to do my hair all the time. I mean I love playing with different styles, but it can be very damaging. My hair is naturally curly and I decided to transition back and stop perming it so I use braids as a protective style, and the fact that it saves a lot of time getting ready is a huge plus too! From the reaction videos I’ve seen, people seem to like them.
There’s no doubt about the amount of passion for music you guys have not just as MFBTY but also within your solo careers, but music is also a job. With idol groups representing mainstream Korean music and becoming increasingly popular internationally, does MFBTY feel pressured to alter their music in order to chart well?
Tiger JK: Sometimes, but when we get in the studio we all get lost in our music. Since we do basically everything – produce, write, mix, and all that – we don’t have time to feel pressure. It’s a very, very arduous process, but recording is the most fun part. And bumping our songs as loud as we can and just going through our own playlists to decide what makes the cut on the album is exciting. We’re thinking about getting a producer where we could be led for once and just do our own parts to see what comes out.
Yoon Mirae: Not at all. I know people probably won’t believe me when I say this, but it’s true. I really really don’t pay attention to charts. I just want to make music that I can be proud of and that makes me happy. Of course I would like the album to do well, but I don’t believe that I – or we – should make songs for that reason. Hopefully if we put out good music, the rest will fall into place.
Honestly, Hip Hop in mainstream Korea nowadays seems to be more about Trap beats and being trendy then true Hip Hop culture, imitating the dramatic shift American Rap has undergone. Are you satisfied with the current state of Korean Hip Hop?
Tiger JK: I’ve been out of loop for a while dealing with personal issues so I’m just starting to get my feet wet again. I’m not against it. I enjoy all types of music, but when it comes to us the type of music that’s popping right now didn’t fit. We just do what we do and hopefully we’ll find people that are fond of our music.
Yoon Mirae: Sometimes I’m so off it and crave the hip-hop I grew up listening to and some days I’ll be like, “I got to get into the studio because I just a heard a song and I’m mad hyped.” History repeats itself and I’m sure 10 years from now we’ll look back and wish for the songs and sounds of now. It’s a funny thing, time.
Yoon Mirae and Tiger JK, your 7 year old son has already expressed an interest in music with him actually contributing to WondaLand! How did that go down?
Tiger JK: My son’s into Dubstep. When I see him react and respond to certain sounds, it definitely affects me. I want to make a record that gets his attention!
In a perfect world, what would be the ideal environment for creating music?
Tiger JK: Anticipation from fans and pressure is always good for me.
Yoon Mirae: Whenever we’re in a room with people that love music as much as we do, it’s like a playground for grown folks and we just feed off each other’s energy.
Bizzy: Somewhere where I’m inspired and have a nice view!
Any plans for solo projects coming up?
Tiger JK: We’ve all finished our solo projects. I’m thinking Bizzy is going to drop his first. Be on the lookout for my man Bizzy!
Thanks for your time! FarEastVibes will always support the MFBTY movement! Any last words for your fans?
Tiger JK: Thanks for reading about us! Please listen to our album and feel free to drop us some comments and let us know what y’all think. Best wishes to all the Ghood people out there.
Yoon Mirae: Thank You! We truly appreciate the love and support. Hopefully we’ll be in your area soon.
Bizzy: Thanks and let’s have fun with this Wondaland project. This journey has just begun. See you in Wondaland!
WondaLand is available on iTunes now! Support good music, especially when it comes from the pros!