[Star Encyclopedia 2.0] LeeSsang, the True Entertainers
Gary and Gil, the indie hip-hop duo who still give off that friendly neighborhood hyung, oppa and uncle-like feel.
One of Korea’s most representative hip-hop groups, LeeSsang released its eighth album Unplugged, on May 25, making a much-anticipated return to the music scene.
In addition to the title song Someday, the singles Hard to be Humble, I Learn From You (My Love) and the other songs, with a total of 13 tracks, swept online music charts in the same manner as they did with their previous album.
Who could have thought LeeSsang would have come so far ten years ago? Not just excelling in gayo but in acting and variety and even in business, enews decided to examine the group.
Gary and Gil first met each other in 1998 as members of the group X-Teen. The two then went on to join Honey Family and gathered a dedicated fan base through its activities in 1999 and 2000. Though some of their songs became widely known, less familiar were their faces.
In the 2000 album 2000 Korea, Gil, Gary and Diggy Lee recorded a track together as a trio team called ‘Poon Ryu Ga’ which later became the LeeSsang today.
The Gary-Gil duo LeeSsang released its first album in 2002. It was the song Rush that helped LeeSsang to gain recognition. The song succeeded in its harmony with LeeSsang’s flow and Jung In’s unique and mysterious voice.
LeeSsang and Jung In’s work together is still evident in LeeSsang’s newest album. Of course, in addition to Jung In, LeeSsang now collaborates with a slew of other well-known vocalists including Ali, BMK, Lee Juk, Kim Bum Soo and others.
Each collaboration track seemed to match the song’s vocalist which resulted in showing a diverse range of musical colors from LeeSsang.
Though many had previously said, “Whatever song LeeSsang produces, it resonates,” the statement is fully evident with this latest album.
Synergy with Yoo Jae Suk
Gil first joined MBC’s Infinity Challenge as its eighth member and was followed by Gary joining SBS’ Running Man.
In addition to both being Korea′s top variety programs, both were led by the ‘Nation’s MC’, Yoo Jae Suk. Yoo Jae Suk is widely accredited to helping bring out the LeeSsang member’s individual characters to give them a bigger individual identity.
Though hip-hop artists and artists with a lot of emotional depth in their music, the two were able to still overcome any barriers between them and the public through the variety shows.
In a past interview, the LeeSsang members shared, “Even when we were sitting, no one knew we were LeeSsang. [Now] even if we try and hide or cover up, people recognize us.”
The Same LeeSssang 10 Years From Now? No, Unpredictable LeeSsang
Through television appearances, interviews and their music, Gary and Gil honestly reveal their past and life’s happenings.
Of course, one reason they may be able to express their past so confidently today is due to their established success now. If they continue to maintain this pattern of appearing steadily on television and releasing an album or two along the way, they may be able to maintain their success.
However, the LeeSsang today is showing no fear of changes in the future.
A good example of this is found in LeeSsang’s recently released Unplugged. For this album, LeeSsang traveled the world to find all sorts of instruments and items while collecting some of the bst musicians to create its band.
To really show the public what a ‘cross-over’ is like, this album contains a wide variety of music from punk to bossa nova to retro.
In addition, the two members recently created their performance-oriented company, LeeSsang Company.
“We want to create an entertainment agency focused on creative a diverse range of contents. We also want to create environments where even better stage performances can happen,” they explained. With this new development, the two have added the title of CEO to their names.
Choosing not to be comfortable with the present and not fearing the future and crashing into new barriers, LeeSsang’s mindset of always attempting to cross new frontiers will surely continue to remain.
Because of this, predicting LeeSsang’s appearance ten years from now is difficult to say. But we′ll continue to anticipate LeeSsang’s music and thoughts to be even more deep and true.
Photo credit: Jungle Entertainment
- LeeSsang 20120526 Gil (LeeSsang) 20120526 Gary (LeeSsang) 20120526 Yoo Jae Suk 20120526 Running Man 20120526 Infinity Challenge 20120526