Music • 30 Sep, 2016
AAMIXTAPE: EMCEE K
Old skool hip hop at its best
If the Saigon rap scene needs a hero, it might be this guy, Emcee K, otherwise known as Nguyen Viet Hung. Since 2012 when he started organising Hip Hop shows around Saigon, notably the Reunion 1 & 2, the young MC and rapper has been putting his no-nonsense style of rap out there, in both Vietnamese and English. Having taken himself and his crew on several tours and produced some stylin' music vids, we thought it was time to catch up, and get him to take charge of this month’s AnyArena MixTape.
Looking at the guys influences, it was no surprise that he went straight up Old Skool on us, heavy on the Dre, Cube and of course the most famous dead rapper to ever live, back when Biggie was a boy; although the Small man is strangely absent from his list. Whaddup playa? You hatin’ on Biggie? Or is this strictly a West Coast vibe?
Anyway Emcee K is releasing his album ‘Love Shit’ this December and you can see the clip for ‘Random Ranting’, one of the album’s tracks on YouTube now.
When we caught up he told us about his early influences, favourite rap albums and a really weird experience he had on stage. Oh yeah, he’s also opened up a hype event space and bar called La Canalla on Pasteur Street with some other young G’s. We love it, so if you’re ever looking for him, you can always find him there.
Whazzup! So what do we call you? Emcee or K or Hung? Is there a story behind the name ‘Emcee K’?
Yo waddup, Emcee K please. And yes, Emcee is another way to write MC; the letter K is the first letter in my popping name; it goes all the way back to when I was still in a dance crew.
What were you listening to as a kid? Was there anyone who influenced your taste in music?
When I was a kid I listened mostly to American boy bands and RnB. I had my first encounter with rap music when I was 12. Growing up my dad also used to play me some classical stuff in the morning.
What are your favorite subjects to rap about?
Lifestyle. The things I see on the street and my point of view on success; enjoying life and self-development. The night life; some romantic shit too.
You’re working on your new album right? How is it going?
The audio is all finished, I already released a music video for the song ‘Random Ranting’ in May. - you can find it on YouTube. The album is called ‘Love Shit’ and will drop in December. I just need to finish the cover art and all that jazz.
Which Hip Hop album is the best of all time?
Enter the Wu-tang (36 chambers) by Wu-tang Clan. Second best is All Eyez On Me by Tupac.
East-coast or West-coast?
West west yooooooo.
Whose music are you currently obsessing over?
Nate Dogg and Warren G.
When did you write your first rap? How did it happen?
I wrote my first rap in 2010. I was going through puberty. It hits hard you know? There were so many things to think ‘bout at that time. My parents weren't down with what I was doing; school sucked; I met some girls… It happened over time, my sense of verbal expression.
I realized that music can reach people’s souls just like it reached mine. I decided I wanted to talk about my generation; about what is happening in Saigon society; rap music made that possible for me.
Who are the top 3 artists on your collab wishlist?
Soobin Hoang Son. ‘Cause his taste in music is great. Pop-RnB with a smooth tone and easy cheesy feel to it. If we can make something together, it would be bomb!
Suboi. Her style in music is different from mine but I can see we share something. She's the pioneer; the first Vietnamese rapper to make the big time internationally. Gotta give the lady some respect. My fave track of her is ‘Lời thỉnh cầu’.
And of course uncle Snoop Doggy Dogg! Enough said.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
‘Yesterday’ - The Beatles.
Weirdest experience on-stage?
Me and my crew went to Da Lat to perform a 1-hour set at a local bar in mid 2015. Before the show we went to the mountain by the river just to chill and drink. I started retching. Needless to say I was feeling like shit. My homies said it had something to do with the weather and because my body isn't familiar to goin’ up and down and all the blood pressure shit. They’re probably right. So I went on stage, dizzy. My homie DJ Leon was spinnin’ some dope trap shit, I'm on the mic reppin Saigon, the Da Lat people were loving us; and then I saw this dude who went so nuts! He drops to the floor, right in front of my eyes, and he does the Worm from the stage all the way to the entrance! I thought I was imagining but it was real. All my homies don't know what happened. After I finished my set, I went outside and met him. He told me he was so hyped up because he’d never seen such fire from the stage! Gotta love the dude, full support yo.
What do you like to wear?
I find myself feeling most confident rocking jeans and a white tee; Converse or Nike Air Force 1 kicks.
Where do you like to hang out?
You’ll probably find me chillin’ at La Canalla bar. It’s the best hip-hop spot in town, Monday to Friday. No, I don't work there, it's just a super chill bar. It’s on the 1st floor at 44 Pasteur.
Pick your poison...
Magaritaaaaaaa! It’s my casual drink. But the Long Island is my party juice.
Finish this sentence: It’s never too late…. to learn.
Words by JA