On Friday, January 25, the ‘Stage Session Vol. 1’ tour brought Korean hip-hop to the Bay Area at the UC Theatre in Berkeley, California. The headliners were stars from the the popular Korean rap competition show, “Show Me the Money 777 (SMTM777),” including producers and judges Deepflow and Nucksal, winner Nafla, runner-up Loopy and the viral, eliminated-too-soon masked contestant Mommy Son. Although these artists represent different music companies, they all came together under the name of Stage Session to share their music with fans in six different American and Canadian cities.
Mommy Son kicked off the show with “I Wonder,” donning his signature pink mask and head-to-toe UC Berkeley clothing (or “Cal Gear” for short). He then introduced himself. “Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Mommy Son. Me no speak English,” which made the audience laugh. The hilarity continued when he proceeded to put on his glasses on top of his mask, explaining that he could not see the audience very well. After throwing his Cal hat into this audience, he performed “Tap Dance,” the same song he sang when he was eliminated during Round 2 of SMTM777. After each song, Mommy Son shed another piece of clothing and tossed it into the crowd, as the DJ appropriately played “It’s Hot in Here” by Nelly.
After taking off his scarf, hat, gloves and sweater, the crowd shouted for him to also take off his Cal pants, but Mommy Son shyly refused. He even playfully got frustrated when people kept shouting “Mad Clown” and asked “Why are you mentioning Mad Clown in front of me?” He then launched into a Mad Clown impersonation, forgetting some of the lyrics, something Mad Clown is infamous for doing, and wittily remarked “It’s not that hard to copy him, so I just gave it a try.” To conclude his set, Mommy Son performed his viral hit “Shonen Jump,” delighting the audience who climbed to their feet and jumped along.
Next up was Producer and CEO of Vismajor Company, Deepflow, also rocking a CAL crew neck. Deepflow opened his set with “Wanderer” and then cutely introduced himself with “My name is Deepflow. Korean Rapper,” as he pointed to himself. Next, he performed “XXL,” a song he produced and featured on for SMTM777 followed by “Big Brother.”
Then Nucksal, Deeplflow’s co-producer on SMTM777, artist with his company, and the runner up to Season 6 of Show Me the Money, joined him on stage for “PAE” and “Skill Skill Skill” where Nucksal showcased his rapid fire rapping. Throughout all of Nucksal’s parts, Deepflow acted as the on-stage hype-man recording Nucksal with his personal cell phone and leading the crowd into chanting “VMC” and “Nucksal.”
For the Show Me The Money 6 fans, Nucksal performed “Filament” and “1/N,” After the hyped “Rich Black More,” Deepflow and Nucksal completed their set with their most popular track “Jakdu,” leaving the crowd excited as Loopy took the stage.
Loopy began with the song “Save” from SMTM777 done in his signature groovy, mid-tempo style. Because of his roots in California, he remarked how great it was to be back and launched into his trademark track “King Loopy.” He showed off his Gucci backpack before continuing with “Problems” and then “NoNo,” also from SMTM777, and made sure to engage the entire audience. He finished his set with two songs, including “Molla,” before turning the stage over to the last act.
In contrast with Loopy, Nafla burst onto the stage, greeting the audience with a “What the **** is up, SF?!” He performed “Maserati” and encouraged audience interaction for his most popular track, “Wu.” After chatting with the audience he launched into “Kickback.” He showed his playful side by taking a bra that someone threw on stage and putting in on his head. Next up was “Bite,” arguably one of the most memorable stages from SMTM777 because Nafla was the only contestant who performed without special guests or features. He then sang SMTM777’s “Sunbbang,” splashing water everywhere.
Loopy, his labelmate from MKIT RAIN, joined him for “Apple Box.” Loopy and Nafla both sadly told the audience that this was going to be the last song of the night and performed “Mijangwon.” As soon as they left the stage, the crowd began chanting “encore.”
Within a minute, Loopy and Nafla came back on stage, leading the crowd with a “When I say ‘Make It,’ you say ‘Rain.’” Complete with double water sprays, they closed out the night with the energetic song “Weathermen.”
The Stage Session Vol. 1 Tour highlighted the growing popularity of Korean hip-hop in America, and the concert was an incredible experience. Here’s to Vol. 2 of Stage Session!
Written by: Melody W.
Photographed by: Jenny L.