Myoung-Sun (Kelly) Song

Myoung-Sun (Kelly) Song is a doctoral student at USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, where she studies the visual communication of images in popular culture. She holds a B.A. in English Literature & M.A. in Professional Writing from Ewha Womans University. She has also presented a paper comparing the images of women in American and Korean mainstream rap music videos.



"The S(e)oul of Hip-Hop: Searching for the Meaning of Rap Music in South Korea"

The current generation of 20-something-year-old Koreans is often referred to as the pal-ship-pal-man-won-sae-dae or the 880,000 Korean Won Generation. Coined by economist Suk-Hoon Lee and journalist Il-Kwon Park in 2007, it represents a generation where except for the top 5% will have trouble finding full-time jobs. It is estimated that only the top 5% of the generation will go onto work in large conglomerate companies, serve as government officials, and hold professional jobs. The other 95% will struggle as they work temporary contract jobs, which they can be terminated from at any time and not receive insurance and/or other benefits.

888,000 Korean won roughly translates to $850, which is hardly enough to get by each month. In such socio-economic conditions of the Korean society, how do independent hip-hop artists as Beenzino, Fana, E-Sens, Swings and DOK2 construct and negotiate their own identities as 20-something-year-old men living in Seoul? How do they situate themselves in the world of hip-hop and what meaning or value is created in the dialogues they engage in within their lyrics? Furthermore, what does rap symbolize in a society where the most dominant form of music is represented by K-Pop idol groups, where everything from the sugar-coated lyrics and synchronized choreography to television and media appearances is calculated, organized and produced by large entertainment companies?

My Speakers Sessions

Friday, March 23

9:00am EDT