Jay Park Wants To Be Hip-Hop’s 1st Asian-American Music Mogul (Ep. 2) | Homecoming


(upbeat music) – When I first went to Korea,
I was like the outsider. And now I came back over here and there’s not many people like me, so now I feel like the outsider again. What’s good, this is Jay
Park, AOGM, H1GHR Music, Seattle to Seoul. Let’s get it. (“All I Wanna Do” by Jay Park) – I mean, I’m just in town for MTV. I’m in town for First We Feast. Just doing some, just kind of like, some media and some press, or whatever. Some promo. Even though I don’t really
have anything our right now. But, while I’m out here, you know. I was born in Seattle and I lived there until I was 17. My dad would work in Korea a lot. It was mostly just me and
my brother and my mom. I kind of got good grades
until middle school and then, in high school
is when I started, kind of like, fucking up. I started like skipping class and going breaking dancing
and stuff like that. That’s what I really wanted to do. I wanted to become a
professional dancer, like b-boy. My mom’s like, “Ah shit. “He always likes to dance. “Let’s see where he stands.” She saw this thing in the newspaper where they’re holding auditions. I thought it was a contest
where you win money, first prize, or something like that. I didn’t know it was an
audition for a boy band. I kind of like freestyle danced, I rapped this verse that I wrote, and then I went to go eat Taco Bell. I didn’t really care about the result. Out of all the auditions that they had, I’m the only one that
they casted, or whatever. My family was kind of
struggling at that time. Here’s this opportunity,
here’s this chance to do something with myself, with my life. If I could support my
family by doing that, it’s like, why not? We are in K-Town, LA. About to go to a spot called Toe Bang. I’m assuming that it’s… Toe is like throw-up
and then Bang is room. I’m assuming it like a bar and it’s like the throw-up room because you drank too much. – Ready to eat? We’ve got lots of food. – Take one. – Everything was so unfamiliar. You know, I really couldn’t
speak the language, didn’t really know anybody, couldn’t really adjust to the culture. It was literally kind of like a job. Train from 9AM to 9PM. I wasn’t really used to that. I was used to just dancing for fun, dancing with my homies, rapping, and doing that as a passion. I didn’t know what I
was getting myself into. I was kind of like, all right, I’m gonna go there and
just be in a boy band and make an album, and then what? But then I didn’t know I was going to be in artist development or be a trainee, or whatever, for like four years. – [Cameraman] Do you get
recognized a lot out here in LA? – I mean, if your in K-Town. (laughter) Typical day as a trainee,
you just have a bunch of lessons. You have dance lessons and
you have singing lessons. (singing) After I debuted in a boy band, you go to dry rehearsal, you fucking do your hair and make-up, you do camera rehearsal. I remember days where, it’s kind of like, you do shit all day and then I’d go home and just take a shower and not even sleep and go right back out. And go do my hair and make-up, and go right to filming
shit and doing whatever. So not being able to sleep
for 40 hours at a time, just because it was kind
of like TV, show, house. Company, show, house. I was a savage back then. I can’t even lie. And I would fucking workout like a beast, no sleep, I’d still workout. Fucking had like an eight pack and just be like, good to go. I just kind of got used to it and then some things that
were just, kind of like, didn’t make any sense. They were like, “Yo,
turn in your cellphones.” And I was like, nah, I’m
not going to do that. I’ll just quit, fuck it. I’ll just go home. And they’re like, “Alright, alright. “You don’t have to turn it in.” Everybody else turned it in but me. As a kid, you have this
false sense of entitlement. You haven’t really
experienced the world yet. You haven’t really
developed into an adult. It’s kind of like, yeah, I was
just an ignorant little kid. I’m still more comfortable
speaking English. But now, I just suck at both, it’s kind of like, I’m screwed. I would text with these girls, that was like the driving
force of me trying to like… My Korean getting better. I’d be like, “Yo, she sent
this, what does this mean?” And then, that made my
Korean a lot better. All right, guys. We’re here at All Def Digital, about to take the BAR exam. Let’s see how I do. (gentle music) – So, some of them are
pretty fucking easy. Some of them are a
little more challenging. – I got cut from the group. When you’re young and ignorant, you make mistakes. I just felt sad that I let everybody down. I kind of went back to Seattle and didn’t really have
anything to show for it. I was sort of relieved, also, just because, kind of like,
I’m back with my family. I can see my friends again. I don’t have to worry about
what I wear, what I say. I had no plans, to be honest. I was just working at the tire shop and you know, living a normal life. I was doing like b-boy battles again, I was easing back into life. And then I put up this YouTube cover, “Nothin’ on You” by BoB and it blew up. I guess people were still
very interested in me and seeing what I was going to do. I think it got like 2
million views in a day. After that, the industry
was like, “Oh, shit. “There’s a lot of buzz around this guy. “Like, da-da-da-da.” That’s when people started hitting me up. After, you know, I departed from the group and departed from the company, I just kind of did stuff I wanted to do, worked with people I wanted to work with. That just kind of got
me to where I am today. People are starting to book me for shows and I only have YouTube covers. I’m like, oh shit, I need to make an album if I want to perform. Okay, I’ve made an album. (“FSU” by Jay Park) I felt like I reached a plateau in career and also, I speak better
English thank I do Korean. I’m like, yo, man, I need to
start making music in English. But my manager, at the
time, was like why don’t you just start your own label? Shit, okay, cool. And then I started my own label in 2013. I started supporting my family, started supporting my relatives, and then I started to, kind of, make certain artists’ dreams come true, which is super dope. I feel like this is what I want to do and this is what I’m here for. The call came in from Rock Nation, they wanted to sign me. I was like, “Oh, shit. “Okay, cool.” (singing quietly to self) I listen to the songs
that I am about to release on my mix tape and just
some features that I did. It’s very chaotic, my thought process. Every single project you see progression and as long as you see progression, I can’t ask for anything,
nobody can be perfect. So you can’t asked for anything better than just getting better and progressing. You know, this is who I am, but when I first made the transition, everybody’s like “Oh, who’s
this guy from this boy band, “trying to rap and do hiphop. “Oh, his lyrics suck.” Everybody doubted me, everybody. You don’t see a lot of Asian
people in mainstream media, in general. I mean, now you’re starting to see more. Especially in hiphop,
yeah, it’s very very rare. Especially me being from
the K-Pop background, it’s even more rare. It took three, four years of a lot of work to switch people’s image. But, I enjoyed the challenge. I like making what seems
impossible, possible. People ask if I want to
distance myself from my past, or K-Pop. I don’t need to do that. I am who I am today because of everything I’ve been through thus far. That’ why I embrace it all. Here I am, meeting people
like Jay-Z and Beyonce and Meek Mill, people that I listened to, and that I look up to. I don’t really like to
label myself as anything. That’s not too many
people that are like me, that do what I do. Some people might know me as K-Pop, some people might know me as hiphop. I’m just me at the end of the day. I’m just Jay Park.

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