“The experienced rap artist James An provides food for thought via his fresh single. Straight words about life facts and society issues, expressed with a loose background of clear sounds. Now is your chance to focus on quality Hip-Hop music.”

“Maybe there are forces in this universe we don't understand. But I still believe we make our own miracles.”

-Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Growing up in Korea, Canada, and the United States, James An is a rapper who writes lyrics in both Korean and English about topics ranging from racism and societal norms to daily life and conversation. James’ introduction to rap started when he received the CDs of rappers like Drunken Tiger and Dynamic Duo, Korean rappers who successfully confronted stereotypes about hip hop in Korea in the early 2000’s. As a teenager, James frequently immersed himself in the work of artists who he could see as role models, people who shared backgrounds, experiences, or point of views that James found relatable. This inspired him to start penning his own songs in college, fostering community through rap with student groups and outreach programs in the communities he lived. After studying for his masters degree in Arts in Education at Harvard, he tightened his focus on telling authentic stories of himself and his peers’ lived experiences through rap, acknowledging aspects of privilege as well as racism, the weight of expectations, and at times turning a critical lens on societal norms. Currently, James continues to write and rap in Korea, and will be releasing an upcoming double single on June 28. He is also preparing to enter another season of the wildly popular Korean rap competition show “Show Me the Money” for its 11th season this fall. With diverse influences, experiences, and identities all represented in James’ music, he is above all a rapper who tells his own stories, never afraid to veer away from any topic as he makes sense of his world through rap.

Reviewed by Nagamag on 
July 5, 2022

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