On February 20, 2012, Swizz Beatz made a surprise announcement at a press conference held in Seoul, Korea. He stated a deal between his production company and South Korea’s O.N. Media—a partnership signed to produce collaborative efforts in bringing popular k-pop (Korean pop) acts into America.
While it’s only celebrated within the realms of niche fans in America, k-pop has grown into a global musical movement, making considerable impacts across Asia and Europe. But bringing this sugary, teenage-bands-driven machine into the U.S. music market sounds tough.
XXL: If k-pop wasn’t such a popular genre, would you still be involved with it?
Swizz Beatz: I accept music globally. My goal is to take down the boundaries of communication. Why don’t people know about 2NE1 and Big Bang in the United States? These groups are legendary already. But when artists over here, go over there, it’s all red carpets and shit. Music is a universal language, but the lack of knowledge and education makes everything segregated. I just wanted to be the tunnel for those k-pop artists or those artists period. You know Kanye, Nicki Minaj, and will.i.am know about it. But I’m really trying to let people understand that it’s okay to embrace the movement.
But even in the States, music industry is racially segregated.
At the end of the day, forget the color you are. A hit is a hit. It just so happens that the African American part of the United States dominates that. But if you go global, and you really see what’s going on, there are hit makers in all those countries. You know the song “Blue” by Big Bang? Two million views on Youtube in damn near one and a half day represents something.
How are you planning to deal with labels and the hierarchy out there?
Much respect to the labels that are supporting the artists, but I’m not basing my moves on any political basis. I have direct contact with the artists. I got to go and step to people like Teddy [major music producer in Korea], who is behind the scenes. We come out with the plan, and everybody else fall in line. To me, it’s all about the art, and all about the artist. If it doesn’t fall in those lines, I can’t be apart of it.
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