Independent Record Label in the Korean Music Industry
An Independent Record Label is a record label that operates without major record label funding. Many artists have started their careers with independent labels. The popularity of Hip-Hop in the Korean music scene is actually not inferior to its pop counterpart. In the 90s, K-Hip-Hop music had contributed to the Korean Wave, which led to many record labels that overshadowed K-Hip-Hop musicians.
Because of the growing popularity of the program Show Me the Money, Hip-Hop was indeed mushrooming. Here are some of the most popular Hip-Hop labels in Korea: Amoeba Culture, Illionaire Records, Brand New Music, Just Music, AOMG, HIGHGRND, The black label.
General Information About Amoeba Culture
Amoeba Culture (아메바 컬쳐) is a South Korean independent record label established by Dynamic Duo and Go Kyung-min on August 18th, 2006. This label held auditions in 2007, then in 2008, composer and producer Primary and hip-hop duo Supreme Team joined the company. In 2011, the label released a series of toy figures and began the ‘AMOEBAHOOD’ project to promote exhibitions and their cultural arts project that also founded the Amoeba Culture recording studio in 2011. In 2012 the first Amoebahood Concert was held at Daegu Exco and KBS Busan Hall in February, as well as House of Blues in LA and Showbox at Market in Seattle, in April with Kero One.
Amoeba Culture is a record label of Korean Hip-Hop and R&B genre. This label’s headquarters is in Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. This music label has various social media accounts so that people can easily find out about the activities and information about the company and their artists, the social media that they have, such as Twitter, Facebook, Website, Instagram, Youtube.
— amoebaculture (@amoebakorea) February 25, 2019
Youtube: Amoeba Culture
Facebook: Amoeba Culture
Amoeba Culture Now
CJ E&M is an acronym for CJ Entertainment & Media, it is a South Korean entertainment and mass media company established by the CJ group in 2011. That year, CJ E&M had seven CJ group companies, such as Media content, Film, Music, Convention, Animation, Media Solution. They operate as artists’ management, record labels, music production etc., one example of a record label is Amoeba Culture. In November 2011, CJ E&M made a global concert titled ‘CJ E&M Global Concert brand M-Live K-Pop Joint Advancement,’ and Ko Kyung-min represented Amoeba Culture at the concert.
Amoeba Culture is filled by various solo artists and music groups, such are Dynamic Duo, Rhythm Power, Planet Shiver, Crush, Ha:tfelt, A.mond, Primary, and Yankie. Let’s take a look at the current activities of the artists of this company!
1. Dynamic Duo
Dynamic Duo is a Korean hip-hop duo that consists of Choiza and Gaeko. They rose to fame when their debut album, Taxi Driver, released in 2004, became the best selling Korean hip-hop album. They were under the label that they created by themselves in 2006, Amoeba Culture. The next year, after they established the hip-hop label, they released their third album titled Enlightened. The same year, they also won an award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards for their song “Attendance Check.” They released two more albums, Last Day in 2008, and in October 2009, Band of Dynamic Brothers, which was released before they had to undergo military service on October 12th, 2009, in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province and come back in 2011. After returning from military duty, Dynamic Duo always releases a new album every year, and the 8th album Grand Carnival was released in 2015.
2. Rhythm Power
Rhythm Power is a South Korean hip-hop band that consists of Hangzoo, Boi B, and Geegooin. These members have been childhood friends and began to appear together as a band in the underground scene using the name Bang Sa Neung (방사능). This group was signed up by Amoeba Culture and was renamed into Rhythm Power. The group gained mainstream popularity through the participation in the South Korean rap competition program Show Me the Money, with member Geegooin getting in the top 10 of Show Me the Money 4 in 2015, Boi B reaching the top 10 in Show Me the Money 5 in 2016, and Hangzoo winning first place in Show Me the Money 6, in 2017. They rarely release albums, only in the form of a single-album that was released in 2013. Even so, they often release their singles and collaboration with other rappers, such as their latest single in 2017, titled “Dongseong-ro” (동성로) with Crush.
3. Planet Shiver
Planet Shiver is a group of male producers from South Korea. In 2008, they debuted with the DJ Remix in the 4th Dynamic Duo episode and Epic High’s 5th album. Planet Shiver consists of DJ Freeze (Dj Friz) and Filter (Philtre). From June 2009, Epik High became acquainted with Maepdeo Soul, but joined the entertainment merger in 2010 and Sound Maepdeo now belongs to Maepdeo Soul. Whereas Dj Friz, who has been the best Scratch DJ’s since 2002, still continues to play electronic dance music, mainly trans or progressive music. The latest work that they released was SIN in 2014.
Crush’s real name is Shin Hyo-seob, who was born on May 2nd, 1992. He is South Korean hip-hop and R&B singer under this agency, Amoeba Culture. He debuted on April 1st, 2014, with the single “Sometimes,” and he released his first album Crush on You on April 5th, 2014. After he debuted, he filled the soundtrack for the first time “잠 못드는 밤 (Sleepless Night)” which is an OST of SBS’ television drama It’s Okay, That’s Love. In 2015, he collaborated with Zion. T for the single “그냥 (Just),” the song was released on January 30th and got the first place on the Gaon Singles Chart. The next year, it was announced that he would be releasing a new single with SNSD’s Taeyon. In July 2018 he released an EP titled Wonderlost.
Actually, there are many artists who are under Amoeba Culture agency, but there are some who have already left. The former artists are very great and famous, they are:
3. Supreme Team
4. Zion. T
Primary and Park Myung-soo were proven guilty on charges of plagiarism in their song “I Got C.” The song is very similar to Caro Emerald’s “Liquid Lunch.” Every artist that is accused of plagiarism is usually required to pay with some money or otherwise recompense for the damage. But this is so unique because the amount of the payment made for the “I Got C” fine was all donated by Emerald to charity.
Emerald’s producer said that he had talked with Primary and Park Myung-soo about this case. Primary copied the song, and Emerald quickly recognized it because the song had its own characteristic. This issue didn’t have legal consequences because they (Primary and his agency, Amoeba Culture) apologized, and so did Park Myung-soo.
– HA:TFELT’s fraud case
Yeeun, a former member of the group Wonder Girls, or now better known as HA:TFELT, was once again dragged into a case of fraud committed by her father. Related to this case, Amoeba Culture as Yeeun’s agency confirmed that she wasn’t involved in the matter. Amoeba Culture confirmed that she did get a claim for being accused of fraud, and they apologized for all the controversy that occurred because of her father. Her father was a pastor and he was sentenced for 6 years in prison in 2017 for embezzling around 20 billion won and deceiving 150 people from his crunch. However, in March 2018, the victims of fraud said Yeeun was also involved in this case. Since then, the investigation is still ongoing.
In January 2017, according to TV Report, the former member of Wonder Girls, Yenny, will join Amoeba Culture after leaving JYP Entertainment. According to an informant, Yenny had decided to join Amoeba Culture as an agency where she would start her new journey in the Korean Entertainment Industry. But a representative from Amoeba Culture stated that they had just heard the news and don’t know anything.
Another recent news is related to an artist from Amoeba Culture, Crush, who has been announced to be collaborating on Epik High’s album on February 28th, 2019. After announcing the first artist, indie singer and songwriter SunwooJungA, then revealed that Crush will be working on the Epik High album titled Sleepless in____________. Not only Crush, SunwoojungA, and Code Kunst, but Yuna and BTS’s Suga are also included in the album production.