Junoflo is an artist that millions of people worldwide will know and love sooner or later. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Junoflo (born Samuel Juno Park) first rose to fame through his appearance as a contestant on Season 5 of popular South Korean hip-hop television show Show Me The Money. Junoflo also appeared as a contestant a second time for Show Me The Money‘s sixth season, in which he advanced all the way to the finals. On top of all of these achievements, Junoflo also became the first Korean artist to perform at an NBA halftime show in January this year.
He first started to write and produce music about nine years ago because of the love that he has for jazz hip-hop and one of his greatest influences, Nujabes, a Japanese record producer who was dubbed the “father of chill-hop.” Chill-hop is essentially the combination of jazz elements and samples with hip-hop beats and electronic music.
There’s something about Junoflo that leaves you wanting more once you listen to him. He’s an exceptional and talented hip-hop artist with an expressive musicality. I had the opportunity to talk with Junoflo and get to know more about himself and his journey as a Hip-Hop artist in the Korean music industry.
For the readers who don’t know who you are, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
What’s good? My name is Junoflo, I’m a Korean-American Hip-hop artist coming from Los Angeles, CA, and currently residing in South Korea.
How did you get into rapping?
I listened to a handful of different genres at an early age and was introduced to Hip-hop then too. I remember the first CD I ever got was Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory. Then from there, 50 Cent, Eminem, Tupac, Biggie, you know – the list of legends goes on. But what really got me to start writing was when I listened to this one Japanese producer named Nujabes. His music spoke to me and helped me see the world a bit differently.
Were you always interested in pursuing Hip-hop/Rap music in the Korean music industry or did it just happened to work that way?
One door closed and another opened. I didn’t plan for this to happen. I think it was a mix of years of preparation and good timing.
Anyone who’s a fan of Korean Hip-Hop/Rap knows that Tiger JK is a legend in that field and he was the guy who reached out to you and flew you out to Korea. How has he inspired you as an artist?
Definitely. The word “legendary” shouldn’t be thrown around so easily but Tiger JK is an artist that I believe fully deserves that title. His music shaped Korean hip hop from the very foundation and I used to bump Drunken Tiger’s music back when I was in high school. Seeing Koreans putting on for the hip hop scene was the dopest thing ever.
The Korean Music Industry is a hard one to grasp if you have no knowledge of how things work or if you’ve never been a part of it. What are some of the challenges you’ve had to go through being part of this industry especially as someone who grew up in the United States of America?
All aspects of the entertainment industry are brutal and you need to have a strong mindset going into it. Firm on what you believe in and where you want to go with your art. Of course, no one fully knows exactly what’ll happen. And I’m still figuring it all out as well. But I do know for sure that I’m not here to just mess around. Not to sound too corny or anything, but this is my life and Hip-Hop saved my life. The hardest part for me would be adapting to the culture and language barriers. The little things in your daily routine become difficult when you can’t fully express yourself sometimes.
I watched your ‘Fun With Dumb’ episode that you did with Los & Dumbfoundead and you go into depth about the meaning behind your first studio album, Statues. Can you tell the readers what the album, STATUES means to you?
Definitely. The idea behind STATUES came from me travelling to new parts of the world and seeing statues of great people who changed and influence society in some way. For mostly the better. When one physical form dies and leaves this earth, another appears to preserve the works and memory of that individual. I want my music to be the statue that’s raised in this world when I leave.
Do you have any upcoming news/plans you’d like to share?
I’m working on a new fully English project. And preparing for a tour. Should be announced soon!
You have a lot of fans all over the world who are inspired by your music and who you are as an individual, what would you like to say to them?
It always amazes me when people message me or come up to me just to say that they connect with my music. Thank you to everybody who’s ever taken time out of their day to vibe with me. It means a lot to me, and I hope it inspires you to carry on and make dope sh*t!
Featured Image courtesy of Junoflo & BeatCraze PR