guest post by dumbfoundead: respect the OGs

Aloha! I'm on vacation, taking a much-needed break from blogging for a bit. But it's all good, because I've enlisted the help of some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's Los Angeles rapper Dumbfoundead paying tribute to two Asian American pioneers.

What' up guys! I was excited and honored when Phil asked me to be a guest blogger! I have been following this blog since I was an Angry Asian Boy and have sustained my anger into my transition as a man. I haven't written anything in non-rhyme form in a long time so a lot of the grammar and spelling might suck but bare with me.

I am 25 years old and I've been performing since I was 15. Back in the early years Asian-American musicians were obviously not as visible as they are today. We're talking the "pre-YouTube" era, where we were only getting paid gigs by playing for college organizations. Some of the artists I would run into regularly were Beau Sia, Denizen Kane, PK, Jupitersciples, Far-East Movement, Danny Cho, Ken Oak Band, Eddie Kim, Nemo, Burning Tree Project, Snacky Chan, Jin, etc. Since then YouTube has expanded and created huge fan bases for the AA community and has played a great role in the transitioning of AA artists into the mainstream.

Although I was many years younger than a lot of the artists named above, these were my peers at the time and got to experience the rise of a renaissance. Some of the grassroots events/concerts for AA talent were organized by only a hand full of people. I wanted to use this blogging opportunity to give recognition to two grassroots event organizers in particular who I consider to be some of the pioneers of this movement. They played a great role in my career and many of the artists mentioned earlier.

The first person I wanted to bring up is the infamous Kublai Kwon. Almost every AA artist I've met has worked with this man at one point in their career. Whether the experience was good or bad, he has reached out and discovered AA talent all over the United States. Back in 2002 he organized the first Asian Hip-Hop Summit, the show thrown in Koreatown LA showcased AA hip-hop artists. This event was actually the first ever show the Far East Movement performed together as a collective. In the last 10 years almost every AA hip-hop artist has performed at this event which is now a yearly nationwide tour.

In 2001, I was freestyling at a local hip-hop open-mic in MacArthur Park when I was approached by Kublai. He talked to me about an open-mic he wanted to start in Koreatown for AA emcees. In 2003 we created "Jeet Kune Flow" an open-mic for AA youth in the Los Angeles area. We ran our weekly open-mic at the KIWA headquarters (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance).

Kublai was a radical activist that scared many people but you couldn't deny the passion he had for the community. We've had our own differences but I'll always respect him for the work he's done. He now runs a tour booking agency called Cloud Nine.

The next person I wanted to talk about has been a big brother to me since I first started. His name is Paul "PK" Kim. PK is best known for being the founder of Kollaboration, an AA nationwide talent showcase held in 14 different cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Kollaboration started in Los Angeles in 2000 and has been expanding every year since then. He literally is responsible for breaking some of your favorite AA artists in the game right now. Before YouTube, everyone in the AA community knew PK. If the AA artist community was like hip-hop in the South Bronx when it first started, he would be Kool Herc.

PK is definitely an OG and doesn't get as much respect as he deserves. He is now a regular at the Laugh Factory and a host on a show called BPM that airs on MNET. He continues to serve the community while busy with his own projects. His motto is "Dream Big" and in my opinion has turned a dream for many artists into reality. Much respect! You can check out PK at channelpktown.com.

As technology moves at lightning speed and the younger generation absorbs new music, art and entertainment by the minute, we start forgetting about the origins of how we got here. I just wanted to show respect to some of the guys that did it without YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. These guys were handing out flyers, hanging up posters, and using word of mouth, organizing at the most organic level possible. As an artist who got started at a young age, I was lucky enough to experience this and the transition our community was making into youtube and mainstream media. Kublai and PK I salute you!

Dumbfoundead lives in Koreatown, LA and raps about girls, weed, and social justice. Watch his videos here. Follow him on Twitter.

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