Newly independent Korean hip-hop band Epik High will kick off a tour spanning Japan, Korea and the United States this Sunday. Promoting their new album, “Map the Soul” (2009), their indie label and their lineup, the intrepid band will start their tour in Kobe and will move through Tokyo and Seoul before heading on to the States.
Though Epik High is slated to hit America in mid-May, tickets for venues are selling fast.
“I think the Seattle show is sold-out, and our Korean show is more than 70 percent sold-out,” said a representative of Epik High’s independent label, Map the Soul, Inc. via e-mail. “The rest of the tickets have been doing well and have at minimum sold over 50 percent of capacity.”
The hip-hop trio, having already established itself on Korean soil, recently won the Best Hip-Hop Award at the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival.
Poised to cast a wider net, their latest album, which is bilingual to boot, features collaborations with Bay Area artist Kero One and one-man band MYK, also a Bay Area native. Both Kero One and MYK will be opening for Epik High on their “Map the Soul” World Tour, along with Beatbox DG.
Asian-American hip-hop crew Far East Movement – whose songs were played on HBO’s “Entourage” and the action flick “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006) – will be joining them on the American leg of their tour, with Battle MC Dumbfoundead set to host the Los Angeles show.
Far East Movement’s electro-infused sound (check out their single “Girls On The Dance Floor”), Kero One’s smooth rap – he garnered accolades from rapper will.i.am – and Epik High’s message-spiked lyrics promise a diverse hip-hop lineup.
When asked why Epik High decided to go global, the representative of Map the Soul, Inc. answered: “Epik High has decided to go global to reach out to all of their fans. Through our YouTube account we were able to gain substantial geographic fan data. … In short, we realized we have a very international and diverse fan base outside of Korea and wanted to allow them the same opportunity as our Korean fans.”
Sponsored by Verizon Wireless, Epik High’s “Map the Soul” World Tour will commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is celebrated in May in the States.
Seoulites can check out Tablo, DJ Tukutz and Mithra of Epik High on May 2, following their performances in Kobe and Tokyo.
Epik High will tour the States from May 15 to May 23. (Korea Herald)