MIK Festival brought the best of K-Hip-Hop on February 18 for Day 2 of their weekend takeover at the Accor Arena in Paris. With more and more Korean hip-hop artists coming over to Europe, the genre is gaining traction and a growing, loyal fan base. Boasting a full lineup of K-Hip-Hop veterans and rising artists, the festival’s designated “Hip-Hop Day” promised another day filled with impressive stages for fans to see.
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Although a bit less crowded than the day before, the arena started filling up with concertgoers at around 3 PM with DJ APRO kicking things off with a set of iconic hits that brought everyone to their feet. Fans vibed to a diverse DJ set featuring artists such as DPR Live, Jessi, and pH-1 as well as some tunes from the performing acts like BIG Naughty, Jay Park, and CL.
K-R&B crooner GSoul was the first artist to take the stage and showcase his beautiful vocals that immediately took the audience’s breath away. He casually roamed around and effortlessly hit impressive notes for songs such as “Tequila,” “Selfish,” “Bad Habit,” “Can’t” and “Better.” The vocalist briefly took a seat and shared his impressions of Paris before moving on to a mashup of Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part” and his own song, “You.” His soulful voice soothed listeners as he performed fan favorites “Natural,” “Broken Record,” “Love Me Again,” and “Need You,” before performing the biggest fan-favorite of the night, “Hate Everything.” As he bid goodbye to the audience, GSoul descended from the stage and took photos with fans, accepted gifts, and even signed a few albums for a few adoring supporters of his.
Enormous cheers welcomed BIG Naughty as he took the stage with “Beyond Love.” The 19-year-old rapper and songwriter has caught the attention of fans all over the world with his versatile discography, effortless performances, and his catchy melodies so it was no surprise that he quickly grabbed the audience’s eyes as well. Sporting a varsity jacket, sunglasses, and a cat-eared hat complete with rose gold Airpods Max headphones, the rapper smoothly showcased his musical versatility with songs that ranged from R&B to more upbeat pop. After performing “Joker” and “Romance Symphony,” BIG Naughty took time to talk to fans. He shared that he was filming a music video in Paris for his then-upcoming album, Hopeless Romantic. He dedicated the next song, “Lovey Dovey,” to the couples in the audience (and teasingly called out those who lied to receive his attention). Phone flashlights created the soothing atmosphere for the next couple of songs like “Frank Ocean” and “Vancouver,” before BIG Naughty bounced around staged and doused the crowd in water for the high-energy songs “5 Gawd Remix” and his verses from “The Purge” and “Oscar” from H1GHR MUSIC compilation albums. He closed his set with another fan favorite, “Just 10 centimeters,” and even took the stairs to leave the stage, greeting the standing audience and shaking hands with a lucky few who were in the front row. Before BIG Naughty left the stage he cheekily said that this would not be the last the audience sees of him that day. He hinted that perhaps he would be joining members of a hip-hop collective he is a part of, WYBH.
Fans did not have to wait long to see more from WYBH’s members as JJANGYOU came next, with his explosive energy and vibrant, spike-covered green jacket. The 30-year-old rapper hyped up the audience with his hard-hitting verses and massive onstage presence during “Sea,” “+82” “HT,” and “Kiss My Mouth All Day.” He was completely in his element — immersing himself in his music and encouraging everyone to vibe along with him. As the set progressed with “SOLJI,” “115,” and “Reality,” JJANGYOU stripped down until his tattoo-clad torso was out on display. To finish his set after “DAZE,” JJANGYOU went off stage, sauntered through the general floor, and climbed over the barriers to turn up with the fans up in the stands. He engaged the audience in a way that no one else has before and it was clear that he knew how to turn the festival into his personal stage. Descending back into the pit, he was trailed by fans wherever he went and even created a mosh pit with everyone before climbing back onto the stage and bidding farewell with a bow.
Self-proclaimed rockstar Han Yo Han was another WYBH crewmate who delivered a grand performance. He started off strong with a medley of “Dding,” “All In,” and “All Day,” and quickly connected with the MIK audience. Energetic and exploding with his rockstar aura, he performed the fan favorite “Ctrl C + Ctrl V” followed by “Part Of Her” and “Lamborghini 2018.” After drenching the audience with water, he returned to the main stage and retrieved a bright neon pink electric guitar that sent the arena into a frenzy. “I Don’t Know” blew the roof off with his guitar solo which ended with the rockstar smashing the instrument to pieces, giving the crowd a moment to remember. “Monday to Sunday” and “400 km” ended his set as he collected the remains of his broken guitar and promised to be back onstage soon.
GIRIBOY entered the stage oozing natural confidence in a blue zip-up and white baggy jeans. He moved the show along with the soft flows of “Tiger Den” and “Hogu” before picking up the tempo with “Party Is Over.” The born performer briefly apologized for not speaking English, but still actively engaged with the crowd through the festival translator. Switching between slower, more tranquil songs and then building up the atmosphere with lively tracks, GIRIBOY performed “Traffic Control,” “Divorce Papers,” and “Because You’re Pretty.” BIG Naughty sneakily waited on standby by the stage before joining GIRIBOY for their collaboration, “Tomorrow.” The two fed off each other’s energy and cruised across the stage together during “Let’s Not Love Each Other.” Despite their 12-year age gap, they perfectly complemented each other on stage. As his set came to an end, JJANGYOU and Han Yo Han joined them onstage for the final track, “I’m Sick.” The song, which does not originally include all four artists, made for an impressive closing performance that showed off their close, tight-knit label friendship.
Kid Milli, Indigo Music’s rapper and producer, entered the festival in a ball cap and sunglasses and played hit after hit tracks. The artist roamed the stage followed by five staff members capturing his every move on digital, analog, and 360° cameras. The likes of “Benzo,” “Yooooo,” “SUZURAN,” and “Bittersweet” showed a rundown of his iconic unique seemingly easy but in reality extremely challenging to execute rap style and lyrics while he received cheers left and right. After changing into a Paris Saint Germain football T-shirt, which was met by a very enthusiastic round of “PARIS! PARIS!” chants, the rapper too was joined by fellow artists. First came GIRIBOY to perform their duo version of “flex” and “vv 2,” then Han Yo Han joined them for “IndiGO.” While some weren’t featured on songs like “Good Day” or “WHY DO FUCKBOIS HANG OUT ON THE NET,” that didn’t stop them from surrounding Kid Milli and adding their own ad-libs to his performances while making sure everyone in the arena was moving along to the beats.
Kid Milli took a breather and asked if anyone planned on attending their WYBH crew party in London after the festival. Fans jokingly told him that they had no money and couldn’t afford it. The rapper told them not to feel too bad though. He surprised the MIK audience with the live debut of his two upcoming songs, noting that the performances would be filmed for their respective music videos. His distinctive rap style and aura filled the two songs and his set reached its peak when most of the artists who performed before he poured back out to the stage for his final song. The organized chaos came to an end with a final group huddle and photo to commemorate the event. Bowing and continuously saying thank you, Kid Milli and co. left the stage with many unforgettable moments.
K-Hip-Hop icon Jay Park, who headlined the last MIK Festival’s “Hip-Hop Day” in London, was met with deafening screams as he stepped onstage and kicked things off with “BLUE CHECK.” The rapper-actor-entrepreneur and his backup dancers effortlessly executed their dance routines to a medley of ”DNA,” “On Air,” “All I Wanna Do” and “DRIVE.” Between songs, he promised his French fans he would work on bringing his soju brand, Won Soju, to Europe as soon as possible. He dedicated songs like “SOLO” to all the MIK concertgoers who came by themselves. His undeniable talent and charms that cannot be replicated by others came out during “Me Like Yuh,” “Yacht” and “Iffy.” Fan favorite “GANADARA” gave the female dancers a chance to shine during collaborator IU’s part while Jay Park made sure to hype them up from the back.
Giving MIK attendees an extra special moment, he debuted an acoustic version of his newest single “Yesterday,” which was released just five days prior. Raw vocals were accompanied by eager fans who already knew the lyrics, surprising Jay Park. The singer then cheekily asked whether they preferred either his “MOMMAE” or “Yesterday” version of himself. The arena collapsed the second the first beats of “MOMMAE” started playing and grew even hotter when the rapper took his shirt off to show off his iconic choreography to the max. As Jay Park said, “Twerk for me Paris” everyone understood the assignment and matched the song’s energy as they turned up and moved along to the beat without care. The mood had no time to settle as the crowd exploded with “K-Town.”
Only getting a second to breathe, Jay Park was joined by H1GHR MUSIC artists BIG Naughty and GSoul and wandered around the stage to the much calmer melody of “Oscar.” Jay Park performed the high energy “The Purge” alongside the featured artist BIG Naughtya and finished their mini collaboration stage with “Ain’t No Party Like An AOMG Party.” Between the tremendous cheers, he thanked his audience several times and even pointed out specific fans who caught his eye with their enthusiastic dancing through the set. Reaching the end of his performance, the familiar notes of “Joah” had people in their feels as they pulled out their flashlights one last time to create a sea of star-like lights to accompany the singer’s farewell. “Who You” closed Jay Park’s setlist and it’s safe to say that the charismatic performer left people in awe with his set.
The next artist to take the stage truly does not need any introduction. It would be an understatement to say that the screams welcoming CL were deafening. The arena blew up the second the iconic singer’s intro started playing after a brief DJ set. Previous performers from both days could be spotted scattered around the GA Floor, ready to enjoy the mini CL concert to the fullest. Fans caught acts like B.I dancing and taking videos from the audience and a lucky few even took a photo with the singer.
CL entered the stage in a full cream-colored bodysuit with a matching cape and gloves embodying the lyrics of the opening song “SPICY.” She made the MIK stage her own as her strong presence commanded everyone’s attention. Accompanied by a set of dancers, CL wowed the audience with a mix of songs from her 2021 album ALPHA and some more of her iconic hits like “The Baddest Female” and “Hello Bitches.” An unmatched aura surrounded her everywhere she moved while fans screamed the lyrics to songs such as “HWA,” “5 Star” and “Chuck.” In comparison to her songs with precision-sharp choreographies, “Lover Like Me” allowed the singer to move around freely. She took her time to wave to everyone in the arena while encouraging eager fans to sing along to every word.
Other songs such as “DR Pepper” and “MTBD” had the crowd hyped to the max and CL moved along the stage while radiating power with her every step. To the undeniable sadness of fans in the arena, CL said goodbye with an energetic performance of “Hello Bitches,” inviting everyone to scream even harder than they had before. The singer graciously thanked everyone for coming to see her and the others performers and promised to return as soon as possible.
Due to the rise in interest in events such as MIK Festival, more and more K-music enthusiasts are finding more opportunities to see their favorite artists in Europe. The MIK Festival in Paris was an event to remember with its massive production and diversity in genres and artists that provided a one-of-a-kind experience. Those who missed out should definitely stay tuned for MIK’s next festival to maybe be able to catch their favorite artists in Europe. The KPC team can’t wait to catch you next time!