Every summer there is one TV show to be the center of attention in South Korea. Your friends at school, at work, and in social media would all talk about it: SHOW ME THE MONEY (SMTM), a rap competition show aired on Mnet. It’s almost become an annual celebration among the youth to watch the hit show in South Korea, and Mnet is renewing it for a 7th season in September this year.
[From left: Dok2, Jay Park, Bizzy, Gaeko and Choiza of Dynamic Duo, Zico and Tiger JK,
the producers of Show Me the Money 6, are posing for a photo, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170630000626&ACE_SEARCH=1]
Hip-hop music was born much earlier than me. And I had been never interested in the genre until I watched SMTM. Korean idol groups, who are amazingly popular worldwide, represent the most trendy youth culture of the time. These days, their songs and performances are greatly inspired by hip-hop culture. The rapper had not been the desired position in a band, but SMTM definitely played a part in this change. I interviewed some of my friends from Chadwick about the show. Leslie(Chadwick, 10th) said that she became a fan of Winner after seeing MINO, the main rapper of the group, performs in SMTM. She and I agreed that we weren’t really familiar with rap music at first, but at the end of the show, we all became hip-hop experts and enthusiasts.
“Do you still find the show entertaining?” I asked. Majority of my friends answered yes. Many added, though, that they are just watching it from the force of habit, not from the great expectation anymore. One major criticism against the show is that SMTM is losing its original intention of discovering and promoting nameless yet talented artists. The show earned much praise for allowing people to learn about the fun and beauty of hip-hop, once regarded as a geek culture to many Korean audiences. Many agreed that one of the best moments of the show came out when they spotted such aspiring rappers as Locco, Mad Clown and Swings. “They’re not doing it anymore,” Irene (Chadwick, 10th) complained. The audiences are getting tired of seeing several recurring participants and celebrated rappers through the seasons.
In defense of the show, it is not that the show producers are not looking for hidden gems but that they just can’t find them as much. After SMTM’s success, many SMTM-like shows have been produced: Unpretty Rapstar, The Nation of Hip-Hop, and Highschool Rappers. This shows that hip-hop sells well in Korea. Given the attention and atmosphere, talented rappers can hardly remain nameless. Even when the show is not airing, many rappers can have their own fans by taking part in gigs or broadcasting themselves on social media. And those discovered gems are to be the ones on the show. Ironically the very factor that made the show successful is now holding its back.
[Kush(left) and Zion.T(right), producers of Show Me the Money5,
If the show has lost its motives or intentions, what is left for it to continue to thrive? My answer is to go global. Last year, one Chinese TV show called The Rap of China was aired a week earlier than SMTM season 6. It was accused of copying SMTM, as the concept and format (and even the logo) of the show astoundingly resembled SMTM. Yet, it is safe to say that there were quite many people who felt proud that the Korean show influenced and attracted other nations. SMTM producers can tap into this phenomenon; they should consider franchising the show and globalizing it. What made the show brilliant was its success to create a new trend, introducing people to a new fun. It’s a time for them to find a new barren field to plant the new fun. SMTM China, SMTM Taiwan, SMTM Japan, SMTM Thailand, or SMTM Indonesia could be the answer.
Chadwick International School
Julia (Eunseo) Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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