By the time the South Korean rapper Keith Ape made it to the nightclub S.O.B.’s in April for his first New York show, just three months had passed since the release of “It G Ma,” his breakout single.
In that time, a lot had happened. First, the Internet grabbed hold of the song’s video and spread it wide. Then the controversy started. The clear precursor to “It G Ma” (meaning “never forget me”) was “U Guessed It,” a 2014 song by the young Atlanta rapper OG Maco. The choruses were very similar, and the “It G Ma” video, too, was somewhere between homage and bite, with Keith Ape and his crew running wild through a hotel, much asOG Maco had done in his video.
“I’m aware of the Koreans that mocked me and took my sauce. I’m not impressed. I’m not inspired. I think it’s kinda lame. To each his own,” OG Maco wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t have grills or extra jackets and lean cups,” he added, “so why did they? Black stereotypes. Lame.”
OG Maco would be credited with part of the publishing royalties of “It G Ma.” He declined to be on the song’s remix, though.
A side benefit of the situation was that it opened OG Maco up to the world of Korean music — he recently recorded a song with CL (Doctor Pepper). “When I see her I say, ‘What’s up, Beyoncé?’ ” he said, laughing.
After Keith Ape releases a handful of new songs, there are plans for an “ ‘It G Ma’ opus,” Mr. Miyashiro said, an extended version — possibly as long as 17 minutes — featuring distinct new sections. One will be produced by Southside, the producer responsible for much of Future’s recent output, and who Keith Ape has been logging studio time with, working on an EP for release later this year or the start of 2016. “We’re doing records with Southside, guns everywhere in the studio, and Keith is like, ‘What is going on?’ ” Mr. Miyashiro said. Another section will be produced by Skrillex — the “It G Ma” remix is to be released in America on Skrillex’s label, Owsla — and is to feature rapping by the K-pop star CL.
The frontwoman of the superstar girl group 2NE1, CL is one of the most famous faces and voices in all of K-pop. A rapper and singer, she recently signed to the label and management companies run by Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager.
CL is at K-pop’s vanguard, a stylistic polymath who raps and sings. She and G-Dragon of BigBang are starting to collaborate with notable American artists — Diplo for CL, Missy Elliott for G-Dragon. They are K-pop’s global ambassadors — artists who’ve incorporated the sounds of American pop and hip-hop, synthesized them and are now feeding it back out with signature panache.
But in much of the rest of K-pop, hip-hop is just an accent piece.
Source: New York Times