INTERVIEW: SUPERBEE (수퍼비) talks K-Hip Hop, Sydney and Unique Styles in his first Australian performance

It was his first performance in Australia, but on Friday night, SUPERBEE captivated the entire audience as if he was familiar to them and managed to showcase his best in just one night.

As the crowd eagerly waited, the night opened up with two fresh rappers from New Zealand, BG M8ller and Jinsoo, both who also happened to be friends of SUPERBEE, taking to the stage and presenting their self-composed raps. Everything from their style of rapping to their style of clothing presented an interesting conglomerate of uniqueness yet refinery. Both the rappers had styles that were rarely seen on mainstream artists, yet it was quite clear that these were the styles that worked for them the most, and this resonated with the audience as well. Their ability to rap smoothly felt more like a dance than a song, as they interweaved their voice with the music and lyrics. But what stood out the most to me watching was that they were able to not take themselves seriously, and to just have fun on stage. This became infectious in the audience, and pretty soon you could see everything smiling and dancing along as they moved around the stage engaging with the audience.

When it was finally time for SUPERBEE to come out, the crowd was pumped and ready, and it quickly became clear just how eager they were for his performance. Almost everyone in the crowd knew the words to every song he sung, and often at times before he would even announce the song he was about the perform, the audience would cheer in anticipation. For an hour SUPERBEE was sure to grab the attention of every single person in the room, whether they were a fan, staff or just someone who happened to be in the club at the right time. It seems that SUPERBEE had enjoyed his time in Sydney as well, and during the night he announced that he had extended his stay in Sydney by two days, to the excited cheering of the audience, Time passed quickly that night, and before long it was time for SUPERBEE to bid farewell for his end of the performance, and for the concert stage to be turned back into a regular club.

SUPERBEE showed an unmistakably SUPERBEE-esque charisma. But while SUPERBEE may be known for his diss battles and punchy lines, off-stage the rapper was quite soft-spoken and thoughtful, as Hello Asia found out during an exclusive interview backstage before the show, taking his time to give his own opinions on each question. It was clear that each decision he had made after he shot to fame was careful and meticulously thought out, from starting his own label, to picking his own fashion, to guest performances he had taken part in. Interestingly, SUPERBEE had commented on the concept of Korean rap culture in Sydney as something that was on the responsibility of the artist, rather than the audience, to spread, which was clearly seen in his performance, a show that would have anyone realise that SUPERBEE was no other artist than SUPERBEE.

While the crowd at SUPERBEE’s performance was relatively smaller than that of a K-Pop group, something to be expected, the level of engagement each person had that night was beyond anything I had seen. It was no longer just interacting with the artist, but also interacting with people around them, and SUPERBEE himself was not afraid to get down, close and personal with fans, at times taking their phones to record himself. If this energy is able to continue on to the next artist, then it is clear from SUPERBEE’s performance that Korean rap will soon be making its mark in Australia, with artists like SUPERBEE paving the way for future artists to come.

Translator: William Byunkuk Choi

Full transcript below: 

How are you finding Sydney? Is there anything you would like to do before you leave?

The air and weather in Sydney are amazing. People seem to be very friendly, confident and non-judgemental here, making me feel comfortable. I am leaving Sydney after tonight’s show, but I am thinking of extending my stay because I would like to stay longer.

Who are you currently listening to? Is there any personal recommendations?

I listen to many trending artists including Post Malone, ZillaKami, and Lil Nas X. Personally, I recommend ZaeHD and CEO (Duo rappers).You guys should definitely check them out!

What was the first album you ever owned?

It was a Korean hip-hop album, but I can’t remember.

What makes SUPERBEE, uniquely Superbee?

It is hard to describe but ‘being myself’ makes SUPERBEE uniquely SUPERBEE.

You are one of the first Korean rappers to come over and perform in Sydney, as we have only had a few Korean rappers come in the past. Since Korean rap isn’t mainstream in Sydney yet, is there anything about Korean rap or Korean culture that you hope to bring to the city of Sydney?

I personally believe that rap culture in Korea should change. Although Korean rappers are doing great at the moment, we should do better including myself to spread our culture to Sydney.

Many people have noted your unique and tasteful style of fashion, where you wear a lot of luxury brands but mix it up. How do you choose what to wear each day? Do you take inspiration from anyone?

Recently, I had a stylist who recommended me with some items. I usually wear what I feel like wearing depending on the day, but I might change before tonight’s show.

Many of your fans know that you are a regular on Show Me the Money (SMTM) and because of this they look forward to you each season. What draws you back to the show each year?

Although I released multiple albums after SMTM5, many people only remembered my hit song “Shark in a Pool (냉탕에 상어)”. I felt the need to create more content, so I decided to return to SMTM 777. It was a hard decision to make, but it was one of the best choices I made in my life.

Recently in Korea you opened alongside SMTM5 winner BeWhy for A$AP Rocky’s concert. How did this come about, and how was it performing for one of the most recognisable rappers?

My performance with BeWhy for ASAP Rocky’s show was a last-minute decision made before the opening, and started when I received a ticket for ASAP Rocky’s show from BeWhy, since he was opening for the show. An hour before the opening, BeWhy asked me if I can join his stage for “SUPERBEEwhy (수퍼비와)”. It was a great honour for me to perform at his show. Since ASAP Rocky’s music style changed after his album “Testing”, I was not listening to his songs for a while. However, I became his fan again after the show. His performance was on another level from other famous rappers who came to Korea, such as Lil Yachty and Smokepurpp.

Are you planning to bring anyone else into your Yng & Rich Records Studio?

If there are talented artists, I would love to bring them to Yng & Rich Records. Although there are no specifically set criteria, our standard is very high and picky. We have 3 artists currently including myself, UNEDUCATED KID and TWLV. There are artists that we are considering at the moment, but they have to do really well to get in.

Are there any pieces of clothing that you are planning to get next?

I went to Gucci store recently while in Sydney and spent a lot of money, so I am not really planning to purchase any clothes for a while.

What are you hoping to show at tonight’s performance?

I am planning to show my best tonight. 

Special thanks to plus82culture for allowing us time with SUPERBEE, as well as for the night’s performances. To keep up-to-date with the latest plus82culture events, you can like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.