Q&A with The Koreatown Oddity of New Los Angeles

The Koreatown Oddity has become one of our favorite MC’s this year and signing with the New Los Angeles imprint for the release of his brilliant LP 200 Tree Rings has brought him a level of acclaim that we can see building into something much larger. As a 21st century poet who is detailing his environments, experiences, acquired knowledge and the unexplainable phenomena of perception that occurs in the deep corridors of an advanced mind, his lyrics are some of the most complex of any emerging MC. Putting together the exceptional debut full length cassette release No Health Insurance last year, his talents and vision were laid out in deep value.

Working with Kone in the executive production of his sophomore LP 200 Tree Rings, The Koreatown Oddity gathered a mind blowing cast of features and producers in Aceyalone, Giovanni Marks, House Shoes, Jeremiah Jae, J-Swift, DJ Yugi, Ras G and more. The evolution in production value, overdub fills and overall sound design elements from the first album to the second is astounding and has put him in a path to reach people all over the world. Every line from The Koreatown Oddity is laced with a depth and complexity into the fabric of word play that is unparalleled and it’s been a beautiful experience absorbing the album in different mediums since its release in June. SCV’s Shiro Fujioka was able to connect with Koreatown Oddity this year for an exclusive interview, diving further into the origins and meanings of 200 Tree Rings.  Enjoy the exclusive interview and check out the bass heavy Gypsy Mamba and Koreatown collab piece during the read.

Shiro Fujioka: “Title Sequence” really sets the pace of the albums cinematic feel. You have a really good mix of raw MC skills to hold your own in a cipher with the best of them, yet very intelligent, street smart and spiritual.

Koreatown Oddity: It’s very important to me that every project I do feel like its own complete documentation of time. Even if it’s just instrumental. Film definitely plays a role into how I wish for listeners to recieve the words and sounds. Meaning I’d like for it to be digested as a whole thing like a film or novel. Each song feels like a scene and looks like a color. Being conscious of that helps me put the pieces together. That’s why an instinct made me spit to strings on “Title Sequence”.

Shiro Fujioka: Another stand out song is “Invisible Force”. This is the official motivational song for all the artist of the world. This clearly is a personal story and it’s actually like reading a motivational book for our day and age. What stage in your career were you in when you wrote that song and what does the girl that was tripping think about where you’re at now?

Koreatown Oddity: A connection with the vibe and energy of the melody made the feeling of the “Invisible Force” speak. Each bar was constructed to flow with the arrangement. When you do art you care about you gotta have patience on your path. And if you really staying true to what it is you trying to accomplish, you gone get that shit. So that’s that invisible force inside that makes you continue even when people don’t understand your journey. I’m still being patient in all stages. BabyGirl still ridin’ and know I’m doin my thang. But you know how it go though, props don’t match the paper sometimes.

Shiro Fujioka: The mask and the Conart shirt got my attention, I’m like dude must be a vandal. I hear you shout out Ash Hudson, Mear, Retna etc. seems like you have some deep roots in the L.A. graff scene.

Koreatown Oddity: Graff Art & Culture are apart of my LA. Paying attention to the graff in your surroundings opens your mind to what can be done with space. It keeps me aware and reminds to stay in touch with shit. If you fuck with the culture and you from LA you definitely know those names or somebody will tell you ’bout ’em in the near future. Ash is the homie, and seen me ’round since a teen so I rep Conart so those that aint knowin’ can do the research.

Shiro Fujioka: What’s the story behind the mask?

Koreatown Oddity: I guess the wolf head is similar to graff in the sense that the name is bigger than the face. People, I think, when they see me live, understand it as part of something more than a mask.

Shiro Fujioka: Cannabis, shrooms and other psychedelic themes are explored on this album. Have hallucinogenics played a role in your outlook on the world and the clever way you write?

Koreatown Oddity: I feel as though I have always had an interesting scope on things and how I want to deliver them since I was kid. My pops said I was a deep thinker even then. On shrooms, I don’t even think about things, I just see, watch, and hear them.

Shiro Fujioka: The west coast is having some major creative seismic activity again with people like Schoolboy Q repping the new LA gangster perspective. I see you as the voice of the creative inner city cats that are still street but have an alternative perspective of the very same landscape, similar to what Del is to The Bay, and Kool Keith is to NY. How do you feel about being one of the front runners to walk that out for the west?

Koreatown Oddity: I just wanna add to the culture in a way that affects, influences and benefits people. So I really appreciate you puttin’ me in that realm of unique styles of Del and Keith. I just make sure never to be feelin’ my shit too much and make sure what I spit is real to me.

Shiro Fujioka: I heard you talk about video games “Mozzarella Forever”. What games are you playing these days?

Koreatown Oddity: Oh, on the Mozzarella joint that was Acey who said “video games”. Me personally, I just be playin’ old shit. Super Nes, Playstation 1. Only time I play a new game that’s out is at a homies crib.

Shiro Fujioka: So you end the album with “Conclusion”, where you transition at the age of 200. I would hope your next album will share some of the experiences of a man that has acquired two centuries of knowledge. What should the listener expect from future projects?

Koreatown Oddity: The passing of time is interesting because one minute can seem like 15 minutes and depending on how you view time, life can feel like you’ve had an immense amount of experiences within a short amount of years. This album has a full spectrum of vibes that glide you continuously through zones that you feel like you’ve been listening for longer than you were. Then you’re like damn, I’m 200 already. Time fly’s. I hope the listeners will not expect anything in the future but rather accept things to come in the future.

The Koreatown Oddity “Title Sequence” (New Los Angeles, 2014)

From New Los Angeles: 200 Tree Rings tells the story of The Koreatown Oddity’s journey to enlightenment before his last dying days. Title Sequence introduces us to the world through the eyes of our hero, as he gathers his tools, meditates on the mission that lay before him, and begins his journey to save the western world from wackiness. Photographed by Brandon Klein. Produced by New Los Angeles. Song produced by KONE.